So...we were pleasantly enchanted with Ponyo. It's a story loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid that follows a goldfish (Ponyo) who becomes human after befriending a boy on land.
One thing we were surprised by was that Mikko was just as transfixed as we were, when usually he can't watch a movie through. In fact, he wanted to watch nothing but Ponyo for the next few days! He just made us fast forward through any scenes with Ponyo's ocean-dwelling father, particularly the one where he tries to prevent her from growing and leaving by squishing her down into a bubble. No matter how many times we tried to convince Mikko that Ponyo wasn't being hurt, he would get very upset by that interaction. (Remind me not to try to stop Mikko from growing...)
Anyway, there was one interaction in the movie that seriously made me gasp. I had to rewind it and try to write it down to share with you, because it was too wonderful. I might not have transcribed it verbatim, but here's the gist as far as my shorthand would allow.
Ponyo and the boy, Sōsuke, are out on a boat to look for Sōsuke's mother, who went to help out at the senior home during a big storm and flooding the night before. They come across another boat with a young family — a mother, father, and infant baby.
Ponyo is taken with the baby and offers some soup in a cup.
"Oh is that for us?" says the mother. "... Well, thank you. It smells good." She tastes it. "Wow, that's good soup. Thanks!"
Sōsuke cuts in to say, "My mom made it from scratch."
But Ponyo's annoyed. She points to the baby. "The soup's for him," she says.
The baby's mother says, "Oh, I'm sorry. He's a little too young. He can only eat milk at this age." She smiles reassuringly at Ponyo. "But I can eat the soup, and it will help me make milk for him."
Sōsuke chimes in cheerfully, "Yeah, my mom made me milk, too."
Ponyo considers this as they begin to boat away. She gets a pile of sandwiches out of their supplies.
"Here, have some milk," she says, shoving them into the mother's face. "It's for milk!" she calls.
Seriously, how adorable is that? I love that it's positive and matter of fact, and that kids watching will hear a factual and affirming message about breastfeeding. Notice that the only character in the conversation who is befuddled by breastfeeding is a goldfish-turned-human, who can be forgiven for being confused by our mammalian ways!
Incidentally, according to the IMDB message boards, the original Japanese term translated with "making milk" in the English version was more like "giving him boobies." I wish I knew how the whole conversation went in a literal translation! I think the way they ended up translating it for English audiences, though, was perfect. Just completely normal and natural.
If you know of any other instances of breastfeeding in children's films or books, please share so I can increase my library!