Monday, January 23, 2012

Take photos of your breasts and put them on the internet

Some really very good news. My sister has her baby at last. Very long and, towards the end, traumatic labour and delivery but she is very happy with her 7lb 4 oz baby girl. She is still in hospital as she needs some care and attention (my sister not the baby) after a forceps birth with a blood transfusion; I visited last night and although she is complaining of pain in her fanjo and not wanting to walk she seems to be doing ok. I am no expert but she looks like the baby is latching on ok. I hope that breastfeeding is not difficult for her, the hospital has already given her a syringe of formula.

 I wonder if hospitals were just so deeply ingraned in the whole bottlefeeding culture that they default to formula at the hint of any 'problem'? Her baby was less than 12 hours old and they decided she needed formula because she had low blood sugar. Just a quick google tells me that formula really doesn't have to be the answer and dr Sears agrees. Anyway - my sister says she has insisted upon trying breastfeeding rather than more formula. Her baby is not in Neo Natal so she can feed her whenever she wants, though she can't lift her at the moment. I am going back to visit tomorrow armed with a load of printouts on correct latch. Like me she feels like it's going so well she must be doing something wrong. Hopefully she's just got it right straight away.

There's no 'I wonder' about it though really, of course formula is seen as more normal than breastfeeding - even in hospitals. The years of attack on the natural function of the breast have resulted in a situation where even medical staff, who should be better informed, will try to hijack a mother's breastfeeding experience and they probably don't even realise they are doing it. The whole situation is really sad and makes me really angry. I am turning into an ardent lactivist. The last couple of weeks I have been following Emma Kwasnica fight with Facebook over having her breastfeeding photos removed. I am amazed by the people who comment on the situation and believe that breastfeeding should be done behind closed doors, definitely not in public and definitely not photographed. Lately I have been getting angry about the sexualisation of children in general, and the inequality many women experience which is denied continually. Now I feel angry that I am judged by people who seriously believe that feeding my baby in a public place is somehow a sexual or disgusting thing. The more angry I get the more I want to be more obvious about my breastfeeding experience. I think the more people are aware of it the more acceptable it will become.

I love it when breastfeeding is brought into the public eye although when it's done by the paps like here you do wonder what their motives were. Ooh look at the freaky breastfeeding famous mum. Good for you for not giving a shit Maggie Gyllenhaal.

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