Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Breasts: For Adults Only

Published on June 18, 2013 by   ·   7 Comments Pin It
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I was at a 3 year old birthday party a few weeks ago nursing my 8 month old when a fellow Mom shielded her 5 year old daughter’s eyes (with two hands) to cover her face from the shocking site of a wee bit of the top of my breast (nipple covered by baby, bottom covered by dress.)  As I walked out, I saw her feeding her own young infant a bottle of powdered formula.  How did we fall so off course? Facebook comments ranged from “Does she do that when they walk by Victoria’s Secret?” to compassion for her since she clearly has issues.  But does she have issues, or does society have issues? We’ve been so busy sexualizing big fake tatas then when a natural pair is used to do what they are actually meant for, it seems odd/ disconnected/ unusual.  Time to change this tune.  The shock most women have when I walk down the street nursing in my carrier is scary, why is it so shocking? It’s shocking because it’s not something they see enough.  And thereby lies the problem.  This a serious problem, way more serious than we may think.  This is a society of women afraid to be too close to their children who then become depressed anxious adults desperate for physical human connection.  A society of prozacians may just mean we are doing something wrong and perhaps, just maybe we need to get back to the garden.  The stone age Mamas slept with their babies, fed them right from their own bodies, and never put them down until they could walk.  Could we learn something from our ancestors?  Or maybe 90 percent of the world who still parent this way.

The brilliant women behind “The Milky Way Movie” – an upcoming documentary on breastfeeding shared this bit of genius;

Social Influences and Nursing: Breasts have become “For adults only.” NOT for babies.

Women with big breast implants are allowed to show them in public. But when a mother nurses in public she may very well hear from a manager or employee:

“A customer just complained, so I need to ask you to leave.” or “Can you please do that in the bathroom?”

Mothers often receive mixed messages from loved ones: Well-meaning friends and family, who say they support breastfeeding, may say things that reflect the greater cultural beliefs about feeding babies.

When someone says: 

  • “You’re going to breastfeed? Won’t that hurt?” 
  • “Why don’t you give him some formula so you can sleep at night?
  • “Don’t be selfish. Let me give a bottle sometimes, so I can bond too!” 
  •  “Wow! Your baby eats all the time! Are you sure she’s getting enough?” 
  •  “Just one bottle of formula won’t hurt.”

Moms may hear:

  • “You’re not good enough!”

Marketing Influences and Nursing

The infant formula industry is an $8 BILLION per year business. 

Across the globe, huge advertising budgets are spent to convince women that their breasts are not good enough, that nursing is hard, and that it is better and more convenient to bottle-feed their babies.

According to surveys, over 70% of large U.S. hospitals still hand out infant formula to all infants, a practice opposed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and in violation of the WHO Code.

When hospitals give a formula goodie bag to a new nursing mama it is like giving divorce papers to a bride on her wedding day! On the surface it looks like support, but the intention is to sell formula, not to ensure breastfeeding success.

Free formula. - So that you have it on hand for those most vulnerable moments of doubt in the middle of the night.
Free formula. – So that you have it on hand for those most vulnerable moments of doubt in the middle of the night.

In a genius ad campaign that spanned the last century, formula companies convinced mothers to trade in their breasts for bottles, and the baby bottle swiftly became the most recognizable symbol of infancy. The phenomenon of the nursing mother has all but disappeared from our culture and the sexual breast has replaced the mothering breast.

There was much controversy in August when a Wyeth/SMA advertisement appeared in OK! magazine on the page following a picture of model Jordan/Katie Price feeding her new-born child with an SMA ready-to-feed bottle
There was much controversy in August when a Wyeth/SMA advertisement appeared in OK! magazine on the page following a picture of model Jordan/Katie Price feeding her new-born child with an SMA ready-to-feed bottle

About The Milky Way

In defiance of nearly a hundred years of medical procedures that routinely separated babies from their mothers, and medical advice that informed women that their milk was not good enough, The Milky Way captures how mothers can access their inner knowledge and trust their own body’s wisdom. Women’s stories, leading lactation professionals, archival footage, religious iconography, and formula advertisements, show how mothers’ authority was co-opted by medical professionals, and how they have been pressured to forfeit their nourishing breasts in favor of highly sexualized breasts.

This film shows how women can reclaim their birthright and restore the nursing mother archetype. The Milky Way is about the knowledge that inherently resides in every woman, how to access that knowledge and how to trust what we already know. It is a film that will inspire women to say, “I can do that!” “I want to do that!

The Milky Way is about the knowledge that inherently resides in every woman, how to access that knowledge and how to trust what we already know. It is a film that will inspire women to say, “I can do that!” “I want to do that!

Mary Cassatt "Louise nursing her child"
Mary Cassatt “Louise nursing her child”

The Mythic Origins Of The Milky Way

The Origin of the Milky Way is a painting by the Italian late Renaissance master Jacopo Tintoretto (1575-1580)
The Origin of the Milky Way is a painting by the Italian late Renaissance master Jacopo Tintoretto (1575-1580)

Our own Milky Way Galaxy was named after mother’s milk! The word galaxy derives from the Greek term galaxias, “milky one”, or kyklos and galaktikos, “milky circle,” because it looks a milky spiral in the night sky. In Greek mythology, Zeus places his son, Heracles, born by a mortal woman, on Hera’s breast while she is asleep. Zeus wanted the baby to drink her milk so he could become divine. Hera wakes up to an unknown baby nursing at her breast. She unlatches him in surprise, and the milk having let down, sprays across the night sky, creating the Milky Way.

The Filmmakers

Producer Jennifer Davidson RN BSN IBCLC is a pediatric nurse and lactation consultant at the progressive pediatric practice of Dr. Jay Gordon MD in Santa Monica, CA. After years of working with mothers and babies Jennifer recognized a consistent need to provide her clients with essential tools to enable them to trust their bodies, trust their babies, and trust themselves, especially during the early days of new motherhood.

Producer Chantal Molnar RN MA IBCLC worked at University of California, Irvine Medical Center for over 20 years. During those years she saw how damaging medical practices are to breastfeeding, and realized how drastically the culture must change in order for more moms to succeed. She holds a master’s degree in human development.

Director/Producer Jon Fitzgerald has over 20 years of experience in the motion picture business.He co-founded the Slamdance Film Festival in 1995 and went on to direct the AFI Los Angeles Film Festival, Santa Barbara and Abu Dhabi International Film Festivals. After consulting to film festivals and indie filmmakers for many years, he transitioned back into producing, with socially relevant projects, such as THE BACK NINE, THE HIGHEST PASS and DANCE OF LIBERATION and now THE MILKY WAY. In 2011, he launched CineCause, an online portal connecting socially relevant films to related causes.In 2012, he authored Filmmaking For Change: Make Films That Transform the World.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE support this film however you can. A paradigm shift is so necessary.  Even if your support is simply via sharing this blog.  Here’s the kickstarter link.

What People Are Saying…

Alanis Morsette: Muscian and Breastfeeding Advocate
Alanis Morsette: Muscian and Breastfeeding Advocate
Nancy Williams, MA, MFT, IBCLC, CCE - Professional Lactation Consultant - Nancy has been providing breastfeeding help and support for 30 years and has been a national speaker for 20. She has been a perinatal educator and consultant since the late 1970's
Nancy Williams, MA, MFT, IBCLC, CCE – Professional Lactation Consultant – Nancy has been providing breastfeeding help and support for 30 years and has been a national speaker for 20. She has been a perinatal educator and consultant since the late 1970′s
Professor James J. McKenna is recognized as the world’s leading authority on mother-infant co-sleeping, in relationship to breastfeeding and SIDS.
Professor James J. McKenna is recognized as the world’s leading authority on mother-infant co-sleeping, in relationship to breastfeeding and SIDS.
Minnie Driver: Actress and Breastfeeding Advocate
Minnie Driver: Actress and Breastfeeding Advocate
Carrie-Anne Moss: Actress and Breastfeeding Advocate
Carrie-Anne Moss: Actress and Breastfeeding Advocate
And a TEASER for the film;

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Readers Comments (7)

  1. Jessie says:

    Nice article. I would add the act of putting the baby to sleep in a crib or bassinet is also a real problem. A rule they scare you with at the hospital. I actually had a pediatrician admit to me that the only problems with co-sleeping result from adults under the influence. Every parent to be could benefit from the truth. Instead these painfully sleep deprived people are still trying to tip toe their newborns back into a separate bed, or feeling guilty and terrified that they’ll kill their own babies when they give in and keep them with them anyway. Co-sleeping and breast feeding are as natural a transition from the womb as you can get, and in my opinion the best for everyone.

  2. Chloé Jo says:

    AGREED JESSIE!! Cosleeping is part of breastfeeding in my opinion…

  3. Leinana says:

    Watching this trailer brought tears to my eyes, I can’t wait to see this film. I had MAJOR issues breastfeeding in the beginning, as I really, truly wasn’t making enough milk. I went through so much round-the-clock pumping, every natural galactagogue you can imagine, even at one point taking a prescription medication to increase lactation. I was devastated at the thought that I wouldn’t be able to successfully breastfeed my son. But I kept at it (and yes, there were times we did have to supplement with the dreaded soy formula) and 19 months later, we are still happily nursing. As I’m now expecting our second baby, I wouldn’t be opposed to my son naturally weaning himself, but I’m not going to force him on it, despite the relentless pressure I’m getting from all directions to do so. I feel confident with this 2nd baby that my body will be able to do what it is made to do. All I know is that my son is so happy, secure, and healthy and I think that breastfeeding plays a huge role in that. It has been the most tender and rewarding experience of my life, and I can’t wait to share this experience again with our new baby.

  4. Danielle says:

    I support mothers who choose to breastfeed. After weeks of desperately trying to get a latch, pumping milk round the clock, and bleeding blistered nipples, multiple visits from lactation consultants and support groups, I fed my son formula. I tried breastfeeding, and found that it was a miserable experience that lasted 3 weeks, and then I tapered off. My son and I finally bonded when I switched to formula. He had enough to eat and he had a mother was no longer in pain, and able to provide more comfort and nurturing cuddles in the Moby wrap and snuggling all day. There were countless women that made me feel like I was giving into the “temptation” of feeding formula, as if it was a sin. Again, I support breast feeding if it works for you, but it did not work for me. So, please, if it’s your request to get respect for breastfeeding, it’s also important not to demonize formula feeding. It was the best choice for my family.

    • Jessie says:

      As truly sad as your experience was, it’s still a sadder reality that thousands of women have given up on breast feeding because of the misleading tactics of the formula companies. You have to know they’re not in business for maybe 5% of babies that really need it as an alternative food source. It’s just a business to them. They’re not in it to do what’s best for anyone but their bottom line. In efforts to increase profits, they market their formulas in other countries. Sometimes offering free samples that last long enough for the mothers milk to dry up, and when the mother can’t afford the product, what do you think the baby’s going to be fed? Not what was already provided by nature and superior to any other nutrition for child.

    • Chloé Jo says:

      Danielle
      I had your EXACT experience – to a TEE… AGONY and mine was MONTHS – not weeks. But I wouldn’t let up, and guess what.. my first son nursed 2 years, and this one is still currently nursing (he’s 8 months old) – if you have another baby – try again.. I bet if you pushed through the fire (the first 2 months) you would have experienced the bliss. Nobody tells you that. Nobody tells you that you may be in agony for months, but the payoff is worth it. Here’s more on my story: http://girliegirlarmy.com/mamazon/20111105/bloody-breastfeeding-how-nursing-discrimination-made-me-believe-in-goddesses/

  5. Rebecca says:

    It is strange and hideous that society discourages consumption of a human baby’s natural food, but sees nothing wrong with people of all ages sucking down billions of gallons of mother’s milk made by another species for HER babies (who never get to taste it).




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