How does one change the world? Or at least the parts of the world that need fixing?
Society has continued, generation after generation, because women breastfed their babies. Maybe not every woman. Maybe not every generation. But if you take the formula and bottles out of the equation, society would still exist. Take the breasts and breast milk out of the equation, and we would have never arrived at a point where we decided to see if science could out-do the human body.
And here we are. It's 2010. Breastfeeding is still met with controversy. Stigma. Enough is enough. Enough. Let's fix this. Throughout history, women have overcome amazing obstacles - bigger obstacles than this. We can overcome this obstacle. Once and for all, let's work together and put this issue to rest. Let's create a world where women feed their babies in peace, and where the act of breastfeeding is viewed as the loving, natural, necessary, and important act that it is.
Change doesn't happen overnight. It happens when a group of people refuse to give up. Dedicate themselves to taking the small and large steps necessary to make things right as many times as it takes. Organize themselves. Persist.
Here are some of my ideas. I want to hear yours. If you send them to me as comments or email, I will continue to post on this topic and include them. If you've already sent me one that I haven't included here, I apologize. I'm going to comb back through comments and pick up any I've missed.
1. Next time you see a woman breastfeeding in public, say thank you. Say good job.
2. Visit http://squishybummum.blogspot.com/2010/03/bugger-having-dreami-have-plan.html. She offers a good plan for helping to "normalize" breastfeeding - she needs our support, our participation, and our help.
3. If you're a breastfeeding mother, get out there and do it in public. Our society needs to see that breastfeeding is normal and healthy.
4. Learn about the breastfeeding legislation in your state. http://www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?tabid=14389. If your state protects your right to breastfeed in public, print out the legislation and carry it in your diaper bag. Show it to anyone who questions you or asks you to go somewhere more private. If your state doesn't protect your right to feed your baby in public, contact your elected officials and ask them to help.
5. Write a letter to the editor in support of breastfeeding.
6. If you're a blogger, blog about the importance of breastfeeding, or your experiences with it.
7. Post pictures of breastfeeding on Facebook. Make it your profile picture. Emma from Montreal offers support and a challenge to all of us at http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=2517126532&topic=18640.
8. Join pro-breastfeeding groups on Facebook, including Hey Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene! and If breastfeeding offends you, put a blanket over YOUR head!
9. Talk to your children about breastfeeding. What it is and why it is important.
10. If you're a business owner, make sure that your business is breastfeeding friendly. Display the international breastfeeding symbol. http://www.breastfeedingsymbol.org/
11. Visit http://thenursingcircle.com/ and share your breastfeeding story.
12. Push for media attention. Write to the media you feel are influential and important. Ask them to help in these efforts.
13. Wear pro-breastfeeding clothing. Have your baby wear it. Get a bumper sticker. Visit http://www.breastfeedingsymbol.org/ or make your own.
14. Become familiar with the World Health Organization's recommendations on breastfeeding. http://www.who.int/topics/breastfeeding/en/. Share these recommendations with friends and family.
15. Learn about the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative. If you are pregnant, try to find a Baby Friendly hospital in your area. Let local hospitals know that you want them to adopt the BFHI standards. http://www.babyfriendlyusa.org/eng/01.html
16. Let hospital staff know that you don't want your newborn to be given a bottle, and explain why. Visit http://web.me.com/jodieisner/Site/Hat.html for hats that remind hospital staff that bottles are not welcome for your baby.
17. If you have a surplus in your milk supply, donate it to a baby in need. http://www.breastmilkproject.org/ http://www.hmbana.org/.
18. Learn about the benefits of breast milk. Tell your friends. Tell your family.
19. Ask new moms if they have support with breastfeeding. If they don't, offer to be that support.
20. Speak up when you hear or see breastfeeding mothers being treated with disrespect.
What are your ideas? How are you going to make a difference?