Category Archives: advocacy

New Documentary Film

I think this is a first. There have been several books that explore the politics of formula feeding versus breastfeeding but I think this is the first film that looks at this topic. I think many people don’t even realize that not all the challenges to breastfeeding are personal issues for individual mothers. There are large-scale cultural challenges as well.  Hopefully this film can screen in Madison and make breastfeeding challenges more visible to our whole community. For more information you can check out their website,

Nursing is Normal Slide Show

This is so cool. Sometimes mothers are worried about breastfeeding their babies in public. Kathy O’Brien set out to change that with her Nursing “IS” Normal project.  As part of the Madison Nursing Is Normal project, Lea Wolf took photos of Madison-area mothers nursing their babies out and about in Madison. If you’re like me and missed the gallery opening last Friday, it’s not too late. We can check it out on YouTube:

Nursing in public — the statue

Check out this World Breastfeeding Week story

NEW YORK, Aug. 4 /PRNewswire/ — For World Breastfeeding Week, Phantom-Financial announces the unveiling of a life-size park bench sculpture of Angelina Jolie nude with her twin babies by New York artist Daniel Edwards just minutes from Brad Pitt’s own birthplace in the Oklahoma City Metro area in September before its Fall exhibition in London.

“Landmark for Breastfeeding,” inspired by last year’s cover of W magazine featuring Angelina Jolie suckling her baby, depicts a seated nude Jolie double-breastfeeding twins. The tranquil bronze statue demonstrates the “football-hold,” an accepted technique for breastfeeding two babies simultaneously…

Celebuzz has got the pictures.

My thoughts? I sure hope this helps people feel more comfortable with breastfeeding rather than providing shock value. I have the feeling it will probably go both ways, depending on the viewer. Also it doesn’t look like a very comfortable nursing position to stay in for very long (but it is a statue after all…).

Breastfeeding Promotion Act

From the United States Breastfeeding Committee:

On June 11, 2009, Representative Carolyn B. Maloney (NY) and Senator Jeff Merkley (OR) introduced the Breastfeeding Promotion Act in both houses of Congress, to provide a unified national policy to keep mothers, their children, and their communities healthy. This is the first time the bill has been introduced in the Senate.

The Breastfeeding Promotion Act (H.R. 2819, S. 1244) includes five provisions:

  1. Amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to protect breastfeeding women from being fired or discriminated against in the workplace.
  2. Provides tax incentives for businesses that establish private lactation areas in the workplace, or provide breastfeeding equipment or consultation services to their employees.
  3. Provides for a performance standard to ensure breast pumps are safe and effective.
  4. Allows breastfeeding equipment and consultation services to be tax deductible for families (amends Internal Revenue Code definition of “medical care”).
  5. Protects the privacy of breastfeeding mothers by ensuring they have break time and a private place to pump (applies to employers with 50 or more employees, see text of legislation for details).

Something to think about and write to your representatives about. It’s exciting to see breastfeeding become a visible, national health care issue. Having said that, I still think that what breastfeeding mothers and babies really need is good maternity leave policy. Protecting mothers’ ability to pump milk for their babies is a great start but not a true replacement for time together during those first months of life.

Supporting breastfeeding in emergencies

Here’s a link to a free, on-line presentation by one of the world’s experts on this topic: Karleen Gribble. I found it informative without being at all dry. Here is what she says about the presentation:

I recently gave a presentation at the Gold09 conference on infant feeding in emergencies and what individuals and organisations can do to prepare to make a difference for this year’s World Breastfeeding Week, the theme for which is “Breastfeeding: a vital emergency response.” Denise Fisher of Health-e-Learning kindly agreed to place this presentation online free for anyone to view so that more mums and babies in the most difficult of circumstances can benefit from WBW. I know that some have struggled to think about how they can make this theme relevent for their community, this presentation gives a heap of ideas of different things you can do.  Details are below. Please pass the details about the talk onto anyone who you might think would be interested through your networks- it is just as applicable to “ordinary mums” as health professionals. The more awareness there is of how to help mums and babies in emergencies the more there will be who will genuinely be helped and the fewer harmed- so sadly many babies die because of well meaning but inappropriate aid.
Karleen Gribble

The presentation has been made available on our sister-site, My SummitZero – however, just because of the systems there, it requires a (free) registration before you can watch. The address of that site is

If you would like to give people direct access to the recordings without having to go through SummitZero, we’re perfectly happy for that too. You can distribute these direct links as you wish.

Recording (Format 1):
FLV Video (Format 2):

Breastfeeding: feminist perspectives

Breastfeeding is something that is unique to women. While some feminists see this as an unfair barrier to equality with men, others see it as particularly empowering. Tanya Leiberman posted a great summary of feminism and breastfeeding at the Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog July 7, 2008. She summarizes the perspectives of liberal feminism, cultural feminism, and feminist health activism — one of them resistant to breastfeeding, the other two seeing it as a valuable female strength. I found the comments interesting as well as the post. One of the comments suggested another form of feminism that would also promote breastfeeding: ecofeminism.

I’m not going to even try to recreate the insights from this website — go check it out. It’s great food for thought for anyone who is a nursing mother, knows nursing mothers, or employs nursing mothers.

“Best for Babes”

If you read the gossip magazines (what else should we do in line at the grocery store?) then you’ve noticed how being pregnant is hip and sexy. Rather than hiding from the camera all those celebrities are parading their baby bumps. It’s ok to be pregnant these days.

What if breastfeeding could become just as admired? What if the paparazzi snapped photos of those cute nursing babes? Two women are trying to make that happen. Bettina Lauf Forbes and Danielle Rigg have started a foundation and website to promote breastfeeding through creating a new image of breastfeeding and then helping mothers get top quality breastfeeding information and support. They subtitle their site “Giving Breastfeeding a Makeover”. They say:

Our mission is twofold: 1) give breastfeeding a makeover — market, brand and mainstream it, acting as a catalyst to elevate this cause on par with Komen, Juvenile Diabetes, (Red) and others; and 2) shift the focus and pressure off moms and onto the “booby trapsthe cultural and institutional barriers to breastfeeding successfully—helping to remove those barriers through positive social pressure.

The website is still under construction but what it there looks like it has a lot of potential. I don’t think it’s the best website out there for answers to breastfeeding questions but it is one of the best I’ve seen for promoting breastfeeding. Mothers don’t need to be told they should breastfeed — they need support and acceptance. Breastfeeding needs to be appealing to mothers as well as good for babies. Best for both babes!

Nursing in Public – the symbol

It would be great to have a law that protected mothers that are breastfeeding their babies in public places. We’ve got people in Wisconsin working on this project right now. Legal protection, however, is only partial support. It may take a long time for the community to realize that nursing mothers should not be harassed. As supporters of breastfeeding mothers, there are lots of things we can do to help make nursing in public comfortable. Thanks to Mothering Magazine, we have one small and easy way to let mothers know that they are in a breastfeeding-friendly location:


The International Breastfeeding icon is available for free on-line. How about getting it posted at your church? Local coffee shop? Favorite restaurant? Workplace?