Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I have two. Surprise.

They work really good. At feeding babies and other things, like making my shirts not fit.

Recently there has been somewhat of a controversy brewing over on facebook regarding photos depicting babies/children breastfeeding. Several women who have profile and/or album pictures of themselves nursing their children have had their photos and/or entire accounts deleted because of "objectionable content". This has led to a kind of online protest. Apparently "objectionable content" includes a half exposed breast being used for the purposes of feeding.

For example this:
Would be deleted.

And this:
Would also be deleted.

That is my baby. And yes, those are my breasts. (Well one of my breasts. The one on the other side looks just about identical.) Those photos of my infant child enjoying her booby time are considered objectionable by facebook standards.

This one though, is just fine.

By the way this is Heidi Montag (in case you live in a cave). I did not actually get this picture from facebook but I have a good fb friend who has a photo of herself far more scantily clad than this so Heidi pales in comparison. I didn't ask my friend if I could use her photo otherwise I would have just to make a point. Anyway. There you go. Appropriate. By facebook standards.

(Those aren't real. Just in case you were confused and thought we had evolved into milking cows.)

Here's the law: Cal. Civil Code § 43.3 (1997) allows a mother to breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, EXCEPT the private home or residence of another, where the mother and the child are otherwise authorized to be present. (AB 157) (emphasis mine). Ok so facebook is a private site and therefore can apparently self govern so I guess laws about breastfeeding don't specifically apply to them because technically facebook is considered a "home". Go ahead read that again, see if it makes sense. It doesn't.

Now, I'm not one to get my panties in a bunch over much but there are a few things at the top of my list and guess what, breastfeeding is one of them.

There are a few reasons for this:

a. Because of my education and health care background I happen to know scientifically (not that that means much) of the health benefits of breastfeeding. In case you didn't know they include things like improved health of mother and baby, reduced cancer risks and protection against asthma, diabetes, leukemia and a host of other things. If you need more than that, read the link above. I'd hope not.

b. Because I've seen firsthand (four times now) what breastfeeding (and especially exclusive and prolonged breastfeeding) can do for a mother and her baby.

c. Because we are one of the most educated and advanced countries in the world (or so I'm told) and yet we still breastfeed our babies less and for a shorter duration than many other countries (see here for data).

d. Because I think (this is just me thinking btw) that a whole load of the problems in our country are directly related to a few things. One of those things is parent-child bonding and attachment. If you aren't attached to your breastfeeding baby you're a monster, or you have a detachable breast, which last I checked isn't possible.

There you go. Reasons a through d. (Also on the list of "thing to get your panties in a bunch about": racism, sexism, homophobia and fear mongering. Just so you're aware of my hot points.)

So like I said this one chaps my hide just a little bit. Besides being utterly ridiculous it only further perpetuates the image of breastfeeding being somehow sexual in nature (right, because milk is so sexy) when we need to be normalizing it as part of our culture.

I nurse in public. Yep. I'm one of those women. I just take my breast right out at the dinner table of a restaurant or in a store or at the mall or wherever I happen to be when Ella is hungry. You know, cause she's HUNGRY. I'm certainly not going to make her wait to eat while I go find some filthy empty bathroom stall. No. Thank. You. Also, I don't generally cover her head because, well, that's silly. I'm not hanging my nipple out for goodness sake. I realize I'm not saying anything that hasn't been said a hundred million times by breastfeeding advocates all over the world, I'm just saying it again. Because *some* people appear to not be getting the picture.

Like this one:

The picture of a happy, healthy, exclusively breastfed baby.


Emily @ Joyful Abode said...

I love the way you write, Joni! :) Love the sweet nursing pictures too.

Susan said...

Hurray!!! Bravo!!!! Well said......

groups said...

I will post myself breastfeeding Lila as my profile picture!

Anonymous said...

First of all, I love those pics...they are adorable. She is the sweetest! And second, you should just write a book, cuz even though I talk to you often and see you weekly and know all of the benefits that go along with breastfeeding, home-birthing and baby wearing, (thanks in large part to my awesome friend Joni who so kindly educated me)...I would still buy the book...because you are funny and smart and you just make sense! That's all I'm sayin. BTW, You have boobs? :)

Anonymous said...

WAY TO GO!!!!!! I couldn't have said it better myself. I too breastfed both my children, and in public (walmart especially) would get looks like I was walking around nude. I don't understand how other women can look at our choice as a perverted matter. Thank you for so bluntly laying it out for all to read and see. BTW Ella is gorgeous.

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