In another step towards killing the taboo surrounding the totally normal act that is breastfeeding, Gwen Stefani shared this sweet photo of herself nursing her baby son Apollo. Casually hanging out next to a Swiss mountain makes motherhood a bit more picturesque for her than the average parent, but I’m still loving that she posted this picture. On top of the adorable factor, the blanket Apollo is swaddled in is contributing to AIDS research. The company that sells it, aden + anais, donates portions of proceeds to the charity (RED). Gwen is the coolest, no? [Huffington Post]
In 2011, actress and filmmaker Lina Esco went with a handful of friends to Occupy Wall Street, curious to see the response to a group of topless women.
“Within minutes there were hundreds of people taking pictures, and they didn’t know what to do with these boobs,” Esco told The Frisky. “After 10 minutes, I said to them, ‘[Our nipples are] not going anywhere, so let’s have a conversation.’ And we did. And I realized that the conversation was only getting bigger, and the nipple was this Trojan Horse that was going to reveal so many things. And I knew I had to do this film.”
The film she is referring to is called “Free The Nipple,” which addresses the societal aversion to women’s nipples. After her Occupy Wall Street experience, Esco immediately came home and started working on a script; she found herself eager to explore why women’s bodies were subject to a whole different set of rules and norms than the bodies of men. By mid-2012, she had raised enough money and started filming in New York City with Zach Grenier from “Law & Order” and “The Good Wife” and Lola Kirke, sister of “Girls” star Jemima. Despite the fact that going topless in New York is legal (as opposed to the 35 states where it is illegal for women to be topless) filming shut down by police. Keep reading »
Sigh. Here we go again.
People are currently in an uproar over a photo of a mother breastfeeding her daughter taken while at her college graduation. 25-year-old Karlesha Thurman posted the photo to the Black Women Do Breastfeed Facebook page, which reposted it for her, and it quickly went viral. Many people were shocked and appalled at what they saw.
Here’s what I saw. I saw a woman who managed to make it through an undergrad program with a young baby and still managed to figure out a way to breastfeed. I saw a woman who is also a mom and a student doing her thing and being proud of it. I saw someone normalizing something that should already be seen as “normal” in our society, but sadly isn’t. Keep reading »
Breastfeeding: it’s one of those heated topics of motherhood where everyone has an opinion and they’re not afraid to share it. For me, nursing was just something that was a part of having a baby. I was breastfed, I grew up among women who breastfed, and it was assumed that I would as well when the time came. After a bit of a rocky start, I got the hang of it and had a successful three-year run nursing my son.
Personally, I’m a proponent of breastfeeding, as there are numerous benefits to it for both baby and mother. But I’m also fully aware that we live in a society that is not set up to help support women who want to breastfeed. When debates surrounding breast milk versus formula arise, I’d rather attack the system rather than individuals. That’s why I appreciate the new documentary “Breastmilk” by filmmaker Dana Ben-Ari, which follows a handful of new mothers to learn more about their breastfeeding journey and the challenges they face. There’s no stigma or judgment about choices here. Instead, it’s a refreshing look at breastfeeding in today’s society and the challenges and joys that come along with it.
I had the pleasure of talking to Ben-Ari about the film to learn more. Our conversation, after the jump: Keep reading »
Wioletta Komar, a 25-year-old mom of two, is demanding an apology from the retailer Sports Direct after she was forced from of their stores for breastfeeding her son. Komar was waiting for her father, who was to trying on a t-shirt, when she began to nurse her baby son, Daniel. “My son started crying, so I wanted to feed him. I sat on the bench near the shoe rack,” she told UK’s Daily Mail.
Then, an employee of the Nottingham, England shop approached Komar and told her that she could not nurse in the store due to “company policy.” The employee suggested she head to McDonald’s, which had a “baby and mother” room. Other customers were disturbed by the situation and helped Komar push her stroller outside. “It made me feel very upset. I was shaking and I didn’t know what to do. I knew that I was allowed to be there, but what could I do?” Komar said. I can’t help but think that any woman would react the same way to such a stressful situation! Komar made her way outside and into the rain to finish feeding Daniel, where she couldn’t help but cry. “I can’t understand why a baby has to be punished for being hungry and why I need to feel like a criminal when I just want to feed my baby son,” she said. Keep reading »
New mothers in the United Arab Emirates are now required by law to breastfeed their babies for two years, according to a clause in the country’s Child Rights law. Mothers who cannot nurse would be provided with a wet nurse by the government. One viewpoint held by the council is that children have the right to be breastfed, according to Islamic teaching; another compared not breastfeeding — just giving your baby formula — to child neglect. Keep reading »
“Today, the choir will sing, but the most beautiful choir of all is the choir of the infants who will make a noise. Some will cry because they are not comfortable or because they are hungry. If they are hungry, mothers, feed them, without thinking twice. Because they are the most important people here.”
It’s not often the Catholic Church does something that I actually like. So I am very pleased to read that when Pope Francis baptized 32 babies yesterday, he first told all the mothers sitting in the pews of the Sistine Chapel not to feel shy about breastfeeding. How awesome is that? Last month, the Pope also told an Italian newspaper that he encouraged a mother to nurse her hungry child in the church, even though she seemed hesitant to do so — perhaps out of fear that it would be frowned upon by fellow churchgoers. Hey, it happens practically everywhere else. By encouraging nursing moms to breastfeed when they — and their babies! — see fit, the Pope is making a strong statement that breastfeeding should not be looked at as risqué or sinful. That’s a message moms everywhere need to hear. [Independent UK] [Image of breastfeeding mother via Shutterstock; image of Pope Francis via Getty]
As 2013 draws to a close, let’s take a look at the Good, the Meh, and the Ugly in the world of motherhood this past year. Keep reading »
Leading the way in creating Mommy Issues For 20-somethings of the future, Maha Al Musa, a 51-year-old mom who told the UK tabloid New! that she plans to breastfeed her daughter Aminah until she is 10 years old. Yes, you read that correctly. She’ll be breastfeeding her child until the 5th grade.
Aminah, who is five right now, has been nursing since birth. Al Musa believes it helps Aminah’s immune system and insists that she’s healthier and calmer than most other kids. She also feels a special bond with her daughter: “The moment I felt that bond, I was instantly hooked,” Al Musa told The New York Post. Um. I get that breastfeeding is supposed to be a bonding experience and all, but isn’t this kind of taking the “helicopter parent” thing too far? Keep reading »
When it comes to mothering and the so-called “Mommy Wars,” the one debate that will seemingly never die is the one centered around breastfeeding. I’ve written extensively about breastfeeding in the past, and in my day job I work on finding accessible ways to educate pregnant women about breastfeeding, in the hopes that they’ll at least be open to trying it out once their baby is born. I’m of the mind that “breast is best,” but I’m also painfully aware that we as a country and society do not make it easy in the slightest for women —particularly working women or those from lower socio-economic backgrounds— to breastfeed. I was a big fan of this year’s World Breastfeeding Week and I try and support women who want to breastfeeding but lack resources/information/help. I also try to support and provide information for pregnant women who aren’t sure about whether they will nurse or not. And, when possible, I help connect parents who want their babies to have breast milk with mothers who have an excess supply. I also will not shame, harass, or harangue a woman who chooses to or needs to formula feed their baby for whatever reason.
I will, however, call out someone who uses faulty logic as reasoning for not nursing her hypothetical future child. Karla A. Erickson’s “Explaining Why, Next Time, I Won’t Breastfeed” was a recent op/ed in the Iowa Press-Citizen that purports to use breastfeeding as the cause of uneven and unequal division of labor when it comes to parenting. Keep reading »