Standing up and demanding that breastfeeding be normalized in our society goes far beyond the issue of whether some people are uncomfortable with the sight of a mother nourishing her child in the best way possible. If this video doesn't give you chills, doesn't outrage you, and doesn't make you question the corporate corruption that too often drives our society, I'm not sure what will.
We need to demand change.
And as a breastfeeding mother who fiercely and adamantly believes that breast is best - I think it is incredibly important, essential even, to point out that this is NOT an attack on mothers who choose not to breastfeed or are not able to. This is an attack on the societal pressures that contribute to an environment where the benefits of breastfeeding are incredibly marginalized and where mothers who choose to breastfeed are often stigmatized, judged, and harassed. Despite the fact that the WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, 2003 CDC data shows that in the US, only 14.2% of mothers were following that recommendation. And did you know that in 2006, the United States had the second worst infant mortality rate in the entire developed world?
Where are our priorities?
A society that surrounds young girls with Barbie and her ridiculous body measurements, where approximately one in four females experiences sexual violence, where breastfeeding mothers are asked to leave public places , and where a major formula company can net profits of over 9 billion dollars a year, I really wonder HOW we expect mothers to choose breastfeeding and stick to it. US hospitals are notorious for giving babies bottles even when asked not to by mothers attempting to establish breastfeeding. I've posted about my own experiences struggling to teach my preemies to breastfeed and the hurdles I ran into with lack of hospital support, and I assure you that I am not alone - not by a long shot - in that experience.
Facebook, I'm afraid, is only the tip of the iceberg. It is simply symbolic of the environment we sit in.
We have to start somewhere. We have to start everywhere.
I don't know about you, but I don't want to be defined by the society I described above. To the core of my being, I believe that we are better than this.
You can learn more. You can help.
- This earlier post lists things we can all do to help...here are some additions to that list, many of them courtesy of your comments...thank you!
- Baby Milk Action - helping to protect babies from unsafe breast milk substitutes and protecting breastfeeding
- Help get Ellen on board - it may sound silly, but we NEED mainstream media support and exposure
- Offer to become a Roots of Empathy family, or become an instructor. Roots of Empathy brings attachment parenting, including breastfeeding, into the classroom.
- Offer to visit your a local classroom or daycare as a pregnant woman, and then do follow up visits with the baby.
- Support the Nursing is Normal initiative: http://www.kathyobrien.org/NINgallery.htm and on Facebook.
This list is a small sampling of how you can help - if you have an idea or know of a resource, please share and I will post.