Thursday, April 1, 2010

Breastfeeding news

If you haven't yet read the blog post


by a mama named April who blogs at Eclectic Effervescence, you really should (and not just because her babies "spend half their life looking like baby hobos," according to this other excellent post about "Cinnamon and Angel Farts").

"Offense." is about how Facebook allows photos and groups of questionable or outright poor taste to flourish but then shuts down and deletes beautiful breastfeeding photos — like that of April tandem nursing her preemie twins for the first time.

I'm glad I subscribed to the comments, even though there are approximately a gazillion of them so far, because I keep learning of new breastfeeding tidbits.

For instance, an anonymous commenter on the article linked to a breastfeeding campaign in Portland, Maine, that I thought was snifty (yes, that's a word — spell check doesn't know what it's talking about):

breastfeeding cutout campaign in Portland ME
Only one of these women is real.
Photo by Gordon Chibroski for the Portland Press Herald.

"Cardboard cutouts will bring breastfeeding campaign to life"

Six life-size cutouts of breastfeeding moms will be placed around the city beginning Monday by the Public Health Division to launch an awareness campaign that is tied to a new state law requiring employers to provide paid or unpaid break time each day for nursing mothers to pump breast milk.


The breastfeeding campaign will remind Portlanders that breastfeeding in public is protected under the Maine Human Rights Act, [Kristen Dow, a community health promotions specialist in the city's Public Health Division,] said, and that women "shouldn't be ashamed to do so."

And it will help get breast pumping out of the bathroom.

"It's not a sanitary place," Dow said. "Nobody wants to eat a meal that was prepared in a public bathroom stall."

Wondering what the signs say that they're each holding in one hand?

"When breastfeeding is accepted it won't be noticed."

Very cool.

Also love that the nurslings are different sizes and ages and — not that this is at all required, but it's a helpful touch, I think, given our culture's sloooow acceptance of public breastfeeding — that all the women are nursing discreetly but without any special coverings. You can't see anything (boob! nipple! oh, noes!), but it all looks totally comfortable and natural.

Roselle Park NJ councilwoman working while breastfeeding and babywearing
Councilwoman Larissa Chen-Hoerning, with her newborn son, Enzo, discusses an ordinance.
Notice anything adorable in this picture?
Photo by Eliot Caroom
for the New Jersey Local News Service.
I also quite liked this breastfeeding-while-babywearing news story, from New Jersey, via Sage Femme Mama:

"Roselle Park councilwoman nurses baby at meetings so other mothers can too"

Near the end of the meeting, 3rd Ward Councilwoman Larissa Chen-Hoerning brought her 6-week-old son, Enzo, onto the dais with her and began to breastfeed him while the council debated an ordinance regulating overnight truck parking on borough streets.

Chen-Hoerning said that she doesn’t think the act of nursing her baby, discreetly shielded from view by the desk in front of her, should be stigmatized as dirty or shameful.

"I want to help women say 'Someone else is out there breastfeeding, and maybe it’s OK to do,'" Chen-Hoerning said last week.

Don't read the comments on the original article unless you want to get mad. But do enjoy this link someone there mentioned to Babies at Work, which advocates for more employers and workplaces to institute structured programs that enable parents to bring new babies to their job and care for them there for the first six months or so.

If you're not suffering under the dismal U.S. (non) maternity leave policies that are (not) offered to mothers (not fathers) here, then don't bother drooling over this idea. But if you are, check out the beautiful picture that's painted:

In well-structured programs, parents are highly responsive to their babies's needs, which results in the babies being very content. These happy babies transform the work environment and coworkers frequently bond with the babies as individuals and become invested in helping to nurture them. A community parenting dynamic invariably occurs in which coworkers and executives frequently (voluntarily) "pitch in" to help with the babies' care by holding or playing with the babies for a few minutes at a time or by taking them for short walks. In essence, structured workplace programs replicate a "village" model of working and caring for children, and even many coworkers and executives who were highly resistant to these programs prior to implementation find themselves enthusiastically supporting the programs once they see how well they work in practice.

Is that continuum parenting or what? Love. Sam and I work from home, which has afforded us some freedom and some restrictions, since we're the only ones both running the business and caring for the child. Wouldn't it be nice to have support and a paycheck?

Also from a commenter on the "Offense." post is a very interesting documentary photographic series and a story about Facebook's involvement therewith.

I don't know how to say this strongly enough, but this next link is NOT safe for work and also not for some sensibilities. If you don't like seeing showgirl silicone and/or reading vernacular terms for breasts, don't click over. But, otherwise, here you go (did I mention not to click if you don't want to see naked boobs and/or don't want someone else to see you seeing naked boobs? OK, then): (NSFW — see warning above!)

Gemma-Rose Turnbull is an Australian photographer composing an ongoing documentary series that examines the way women see the role and function of their breasts — "how breasts are perceived within popular culture and how women respond to this."

All well and good, until she made a Facebook page. Gemma-Rose figured some of the photos she posted would get pulled by Facebook — but was taken aback by which ones.

They only removed the image of me at the recent opening of my exhibition in Fremantle with my 84-year-old Grandmother’s saggy naked bosom in the background, and the image of my nephew breastfeeding (that in an ironic twist I had only uploaded to support a Facebook petition aimed at rectifying the censorship of breastfeeding images). They left the images of the lovely Sexpo Showgirls and their enhanced breasts, the image of the wet t-shirt competition (girls just wanna have fun right?!) and the image of a recently augmented breast, floating in the light of the operating theatre.

If you click on the link (I did mention it was NSFW, did I not?), you can see at the top the image Facebook left standing (for much longer — it has since been removed) and at the bottom the one they deleted immediately as "offensive." Hmm.

Here's the ABC News story about the Facebook controversy, and here is the "offending" picture added to the wall of shame at's gallery of breastfeeding photos banned by Facebook.

Favorite recent hobo quote I heard?

From the show Psych:

"I'd rather French kiss a hobo..."

Wouldn't we all.


Megan@SortaCrunchy said...

I'm not in the mood to get fired up by reading comments this morning, so thank you for pulling out the good stuff, mama!

Dionna @Code Name: Mama said...

I've seen that cardboard cutout campaign, I love it!!

The whole FB discrimination thing makes me mad, I wish there was more we could do to show them that we won't stand for their actions.

TopHat said...

Oi. The Facebook thing. Yet again. It's like the problem that never ends. It's probably time for another nurse-in. And this time I'll be living there, so I'll be able to get more support (I hope!).

Anonymous said...

Good post, mama! I resisted joining FB for so long but I gave in last year shortly after my son was born. One of my mama acquaintances got one of her BF pics pulled too from the "If breastfeeding offends you" FB page, no less.

Bibliomama said...

I couldn't help it -- I read the comments attached to the article. I should have just banged my head against a brick wall for a while instead, although at least the ignorant a-holes weren't the majority. Wow. Facebook is run by asshats, huh? Do they not realize how stupid this makes them look, or do they just not care?

Anonymous said...

Facebook makes my angry. But, unfortunately, not angry enough to leave. Or fortunately, because I have breastfeeding photos on there so maybe I'm fighting the system?

This ambivalence leaves me at a loss.

April said...

What an amazingly well done blog you have - I'm immediately a fan! Thanks so much for the mention...I look forward to coming back and reading more!

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