Yes, yes, yes! More mamas breastfeeding! Especially more mamas of color!
I would really like to credit these to the cultures they are from, so I did some digging. This is what I found.
- Mother from the Akha hilltribe of Northern Thailand [Note: I could not find an original source, but this page has a picture of a postcard featuring this woman and her child that was bought in Thailand and the caption on the postcard identifies her as a member of the Akha hilltribe. I did some more digging, and the style of dress certainly matches other images of people from he Akha hilltribe. If anyone has any more info on this picture, please let me know!]
- Flagrant, a member of the Xavante people of Brazil (Source) [Note: This is the only source I could find, and, for some reason, it seems…off. Can’t put my finger on why. If anyone has any more info on this picture, let me know!]
- Togo (Source: photographed by Luca Gargano)
- Mentawai woman breastfeeding her baby. Photographed on Siberut Island, Mentawai Archipelago, Sumatra, Indonesia. (Source)
- Hamer mother and child, Ethiopia (Source: photographed by Izla Kaya Bardavid)
- Monika Bedi of Assam, India (Source: photographed by Pranav Purshotam for UNICEF India [Photo #4 in slideshow])
- Aboriginal woman holding her infant, Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia (Source: photographed by Howell Walker)
- Young woman nursing baby, Yuanyang, China (Photographed by Yann Layma)
- Warao mother breastfeeding her baby, Venezuela, delta of Orinoco River, Manamo River [Note: Credited to Hemis.fr, but the site is in French and I am having trouble navigating it. Anyone?]
If I have used any words, terms or names that are offensive, I am deeply, deeply sorry. I tried wherever possible to use the words of the photographer or source, but I know that many times, the names that are commonly used for indigenous peoples are the names given to them by colonizers, and not the names they use for themselves. Please tell me if this is the case with any of the labels I have used and I will correct it as soon as possible.
You really did not think this was going to happen, partly because you spent nine months being practically Gisele about EVERYONE SHOULD DO IT and WOMEN WHO SAY THEY CAN’T ARE LIARS BECAUSE EVOLUTION (not out loud, or anything, because you’re likable), but quietly and fatuously in your head. And you read The Politics of Breastfeeding and attended the LLL meetings and waltzed around feeling completely confident that you would produce such an excess of precious perfect nutrition from your body that you could probably add it to kale smoothies and donate it to nice gay male adoptive parents.
Lizzie and I have joined up and created a new Tumblr “to support the ones who struggled or are struggling to breastfeed and are facing the guilt that often comes along with deciding to stop breastfeeding.” Now, we do not promote one specific method of feeding your child; instead, we support however you, as a parent, are able to feed your child to the best of your ability.
Both Lizzie and I have our own stories when it comes to struggling with breastfeeding and the emotional pain that comes with the inability to continue. Feel free to follow us, send encouragement, and tell other folks about our new blog. “No judgement, no hate- just encouragement and support, plain and simple.”
Here’s a “Roller Derby girl breastfeeding” pic, and it’s an amazing picture. I know I’m a straight white guy and thus, by default, haven’t a clue, but the author of the blog post I found it on (click here if ya want to read more) says it way better than I ever could:
The feminist campaign to allow women the full freedom to breastfeed is about all of us. It is not really about the choices of individual mothers and their babies. It is about women being considered as important.. as fucking normal as men. We are all made stronger when a woman can breastfeed, in public, as a member of her community, while getting shit done. Because when that happens it says that women belong, it says that women’s bodies belong, it says that women are here.
[reformatted to be less vertical]
um consider me old school but i wouldnt be flipping my titty out in the middle of class either. very (dare i say) ghetto i mean REALLY????? i mean if the girl had any class about herself (or even effing privacy about her own body parts) she would have pumped like three bottles while doing homework last night, heated them up on the stove while getting ready for school that morning, and then either put them in a heat conserving bag or a gallon sized ziplock with a hot and cold pack in it. i mean there is a way to take care of your child and juggle priorities without being so unrefined (but i forgot along with chivalry i guess being polished, modest, and attempting the slightest of public etiquette died too huh?)
1) Most women can’t pump 3 full bottles in a night.
2) You shouldn’t heat up milk in the morning if you’re not planning to use it for several hours. Keeping it at room temperature isn’t recommended past 6 hours.
3) You shouldn’t store breastmilk in a ziplock.
4) In order for her to bring bottles of breastmilk with her for a full day, she’d have to have an extra insulated storage bag with cold packs, and then she’d have to be able to have access to hot water (either a sink that has very hot water, which most public restrooms don’t, or access to a kitchen where she could boil water) and stand there for several minutes letting it heat up before she feeds her baby. I don’t know about you, but when I was in college, I didn’t have the time or the resources to do any of this stuff in the course of a normal day.
This woman is doing exactly what she should: feeding her baby in a way that is safe and healthy—far safer and healthier than what you recommend. Not to mention how incredibly inconvenient it would be if she followed your instructions. This woman is obviously a student and a mother and who knows what other responsibilities she has.She is busy. Too busy to have to spend hours trying to pump enough to feed her child while she is at school all day, too busy to try to locate someplace where she can heat up her milk so her baby can eat, too busy to wait on the milk to heat up so her baby can get fed, too busy to sit around worrying about whether the safest, healthiest way for her to feed her baby is going to offend some immature grown-ass person who can’t handle the sight of a breast doing exactly what a breast was meant to do: feed a child.
Believe it or not, she is not doing this just to wave her boobs around and attract attention. She’s doing this to feed her child. If you think it’s more important that she keep her breasts hidden at all time so that you—an adult—can live in the comfort of knowing you will never be exposed to a breast against your will again (even though you could just turn your head if you don’t want to look), than it is that her babyis fed, healthy and happy, you have some seriously screwed up priorities.
Chivalry my fucking ass. This is just a grown adult who doesn’t have the maturity to deal with human biology throwing a temper tantrum over the fact that this woman isn’t placing their adult “needs” over the real needs of her infant.
No she is not doing this for attention but she should do this somewhere more private, in my opinion. She could simply step out for a moment instead of breastfeeding her child in the middle of a classroom or in public in general. It’s about having respect for your body and having privacy in what should be a bonding moment for both the mother and child.
She is somewhere private. It appears to be an empty classroom & in general public buildings like colleges don’t have a lot of private space. Feeding a baby isn’t a bonding moment. It’s feeding a baby. No one expects people who are not breastfeeding to hide while they eat or serve their kids milk in a bottle. Breast feeding isn’t shameful or anything to hide. Less focus on false notions of modesty & more on the rights of women and children to go about their lives in the way that best suits them would go a long way.
I just reblogged a list on someone’s personal pro-choice philosophy, which has already garnered a number of positive responses.
Nessfraserloves correctly pointed out that not all of the items on the list were choices - I assume the points addressing sexuality and gender identity. However, there are some things to consider about the other choices on the list.
We know choice doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Socioeconomic status, relationship status, religion, race, gender identity, sexuality, ability and past experiences all play a part in our reproductive futures, and to say that, for example, a home birth with a full birthing team is just as viable a choice for one person as it is another would be to ignore these factors.
Being pro-choice means supporting and fighting for access to affordable reproductive care for everybody. Too often the pro-choice movement has left behind those who are not white, well-off, able-bodied, and straight. We let injustices occur under our noses - the sterilization of people of color, the refusal to treat people who do not fit neatly into the gender binary, and those who are virtually forced to give up their babies for adoption because they cannot afford to care for them, much as they may want to.
Being pro-choice also means working to improve the conditions that play a role in our reproductive futures - affordable education, support for parents and children of all incomes, sexualities, gender identities, and abilities, safe places for abuse survivors, education on sex, sexuality and birth control, affordable housing, affordable health care, a better foster care system, and the destigmatization of reproductive experiences like abortion, adoption, infertility, surrogacy, and voluntary sterilization.
How do you support choice?
This whole post - which is about a hospital deciding to stop providing free formula to the women who give birth there in an effort to be “baby friendly” - is a great, important read. I just want to add one thing, though. Hearts writes that she’s never seen anyone claim that formula is better or the same as breastmilk. Well, for me, formula feeding was absolutely, 100% better than breastfeeding. Like, life changing better. I wrote a column earlier this year about it, so I won’t rehash the whole thing here. But truly, refusing to give mothers access to formula is not “baby friendly” or helpful - it’s shaming and in some cases could be very dangerous. Enough already.