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Is Nursing in a Beautiful Field at Sunset a Natural, Realistic Depiction of Breastfeeding?

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I’ll cut to the chase right now: the answer is both yes and (sometimes) no.

It’s been said that breastfeeding is an art. The art of photography highlights the importance of this honest statement about breastfeeding.

Here we begin to view it as the beautiful, innocent, inherently harmonious and peace-giving activity it is (if we don’t do so already). And we notice it’s more than an activity, really. It’s a relationship.

In this way breastfeeding photos (and other art forms) reflect the many nuances involved in the relationship between a mother and her nursling. One that can’t be negated even when a mermaid costume, computer-generated rainbow, endless fields of lavender, or fog machines help set a more surrealistic scene (I know you’re curious, so just go ahead and Google those already!).

The subject matter is the same regardless of the brand of camera that captured it, or whether natural or artificial lighting was used. What we’re looking at is simply breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding photos are always candid and improvised even if attempts are made to pose. If you watch a breastfeeding photo shoot happen firsthand, you’ll understand the only one directing the scene is the nursling! Continue reading

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How Adam Tries To Ruin Breastfeeding

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In Adam’s supposed attempt to ruin mom shaming, he was in truth aimed at ruining breastfeeding.

Why not Adam Ruins Everything: Formula Marketing, or Adam Ruins Everything: Mommy Wars?

The episode Adam Ruins Everything: Why Formula Isn’t Poison (which originally aired on July 9th but you can watch it here) plays much like a formula advertisement. It reminded me of the infamous Similac one that aimed to dupe us into receiving it as some cute public service announcement when really, illusions dissolved, it was just a smartly manipulative attempt to sell formula.

A few questions raised by this episode: is it really necessary to degrade breastfeeding in order to prove formula isn’t poison? It’s true that formula isn’t poison, but can’t this fact stand on its own merit without comparing against breast milk?

Overall, Adam’s episode focuses less about how formula isn’t poison and more about how breastfeeding really isn’t all that great, apparently. The information here is incomplete at best, biased and inaccurate at worst.
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Break The Ice About Circumcision: For Birth/Medical Workers & Their Clients

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Gather Your Bravery

Whether you’re a midwife, OB/Gyn, doula, childbirth educator, nurse, or pediatrician, you need to have this talk. You need to bring up circumcision and facilitate an honest, complete, educational discussion about it, just as you would any other birth or newborn procedure.

You routinely provide updated information about, say, epidurals and exclusive breastfeeding, right? Then you must give as much attention to this other elective birth ‘option’ of neonatal genital cutting.

I’m sure it can be difficult to balance the various aspects of your job description: unconditional support of a mother’s choices, preserving her and her baby’s well-being, matter-of-factly offering guidance with minimal personal bias.

Though it may seem that a neutral stance of ‘pro-parent’s choice’ (PPC) is the path of least resistance here, it is certainly not ‘pro-baby.’ As a birth worker, your responsibility of care covers a client’s child as well.

Think about this: Would you discourage a parent from circumcising a daughter if they expressed interest to do so? Or would you refer a pro- female circumcision parent to someone who’s willing to perform the procedure, locally or overseas?

Many PPC birth workers refer pro-male circumcision clients who are expecting sons to what they nickname ‘holistic circumcisers’ (though the very definition of circumcision absolutely defies the concept of holism), which deprives these parents the support and encouragement they need to make a better choice — that is, the choice to give their son HIS own choice.

Remember you might be the only person to ever bring this up with your client during her pregnancy. If she cannot count on her care provider to open up this relevant discussion, who can she count on?

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What to Consider Before Sharing Your Birth Photos

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Thinking about sharing your birth photographs with friends, family, on social media, hanging them up in your foyer, perhaps printing them in a coffee table book for home visitors to peruse?

Here are a few worthwhile things to consider first.

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For the Breastfeeding ‘Butters’

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If you’ve ever said “I support breastfeeding, but [insert almost any phrase],” I must break it to you:

You don’t truly support breastfeeding if you need to put a condition upon it. (This goes for the reluctant “supporters” and passionate advocates alike).

Examples: Continue reading

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Don’t Wait To Take a Stand For Genital Autonomy

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A white truck slowed as it rolled by. The same driver swung back around three more times, honking with each pass. This was no coincidence or deja vu.

One of us carried an oversized white posterboard with the words “Honk if you ❤ foreskin” drawn across both sides.

The other eight of us fulfilled some task related to our cause — hoisting other signs, hauling info cards and materials to distribute, capturing the proceedings on camera, or merely accompanying for purpose of solidarity or, in the case of one individual, by chance meeting. Continue reading

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22 Tips For Breastfeeding In Public With Confidence

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Self-conscious much?

A recent Centers for Disease Control public opinion study found “only 43 percent of U.S. adults believed that women should have the right to breastfeed in public places.” Theoretically, every time I go out with my baby, I can count every two people we pass and justifiably assume the next three people do not approve of my child breastfeeding there.

With this in mind, in my early public nursing days I felt too embarrassed to be seen struggling to breastfeed my little baby, especially with postpartum depression at a high, an anxiety disorder, and being the first among all my friends to become a mother.

I wanted so badly to live in a part of the world that was acclimated to the sight of normal infant feeding.

The sprawling, diverse metropolitan area where I live isn’t even a major hotspot for public breastfeeding oppression. That’s the frightening part. A quick Google search will guide you through countless stories of mothers across the nation being harassed, shamed, bullied, and discriminated against by strangers, coworkers, relatives, acquaintances, anyone with an opinion… because they breastfed their children in public.

With my first baby I started out nursing in my car. At the time, to me it felt pretty ‘public.’ I quickly realized this could only be a temporary solution to calm my nerves. Not only was it terribly inconvenient to retreat to my car for privacy multiple times per excursion, but it was also completely unnecessary. (And far from foolproof! Do you know where we were the first time I was harassed for nursing? Sitting in the front seat of my parked car minding our own business).

Out of the car and into actual buildings I emerged. I only felt at ease enough in low-crowd places and often found the corner of rooms to nurse so I could have privacy. Then I felt like a professional NIPer after working my way up to nursing on-the-go while babywearing.

Things became easier when I expanded my potential nursing spots to, well, anywhere we happened to be. I wore covers at first (I ditched them for good after that car harassment incident, and life got less complicated when I put those annoying things in storage).

It didn’t take long before I wasn’t giving a second thought to when and where I’d nurse my child because it was not an isolated event — it was just part of the flow of life, which doesn’t stop when you become a mother.

Four and a half years later, through babyhood, toddlerhood, another pregnancy, and tandeming, I don’t think a week has gone by that I haven’t nursed in public, and it’s been nearly that long that I’ve done so confidently.

Twenty helpful tips I learned along the way, in no particular order:

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