Posts Tagged ‘ breastfeeding awareness ’

Yes, You Can Now Post #Brelfies on Instagram

Friday, April 17th, 2015

breastfeedingWelcome to the #brelfie party, Instagram! After months of disabling accounts with breastfeeding photos, the popular photo- and video-sharing site has officially changed its tune about seeing you nurse your baby.

According to its recently clarified guidelines, pics of women actively nursing are totally fine, as are images of post-mastectomy scarring and nudes in paintings and sculptures. (The X-rated stuff — photos showing sex, genitals, or close-ups of the full monty — is still off limits.) Instagram is the latest major social media player to give breastfeeding shots the green light. Last month, Facebook famously refined its image policy so nursing moms can “always”post their pictures without fretting over bans or censorship.

Related: Celebrity Breastfeeding Photos and #Selfies

Did Instagram head honchos have a light bulb moment and realize that breastfeeding is anything but offensive? Well, maybe, but my guess is that these new guidelines were prompted more by controversy than common sense: For months now, fed-up Instagram users have taken to blogs, Twitter, and, ironically, Facebook to criticize the site’s uneven handling of nursing photos and raise awareness about its “discriminatory” practice of shutting #brelfie-loving moms out of their accounts. At the same time, they’ve continued to post breastfeeding photos despite potential repercussions from the site or other users.

And though this move is a clear-cut win for the #normalizebreastfeeding movement, it’s also painfully overdue. Any level-headed person can tell you that a woman breastfeeding is hardly pornographic, but until recently, that’s exactly the message social media giants Facebook and Instagram were sending with their short-sighted policies. Hopefully this is but the latest step to help drive home the fact that nursing is natural and normal — #nofilter needed.

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Bonnie Gibbs Vengrow is a New York City-based writer and editor who traded in her Blackberry and Metro card for playdates and PB&J sandwiches—and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch her feisty, funny son grow up.Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.

How to Hold Baby While Breastfeeding
How to Hold Baby While Breastfeeding
How to Hold Baby While Breastfeeding

Image of nursing mom courtesy of Shutterstock

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Why Every Nursing Mom Should Rally Around Alyssa Milano

Friday, April 10th, 2015

alyssa milanoOf all the aggravations I went through as a nursing mom, pumping was easily the worst. I hated it. It wasn’t so much that I felt like a cow being milked (I did). What I really couldn’t stand was hooking up all the tubes, placing my boob just so in the suction cup thingy, and praying I wouldn’t hear the inevitable hiss of a loose connection. Oh yeah, and trying to think happy baby thoughts the whole time so my milk would come down. But perhaps most defeating of all for me was seeing the measly ounces I managed to eke out after all of the hullabaloo.

So when I read about Alyssa Milano’s recent scuffle over her breast milk at London’s Heathrow Airport, I was especially riled up. The actress, mom of two and #brelfie rabblerouser was trying to pass through security with the impressive 10 ounces of milk she pumped on the plane. (FYI, she doesn’t recommend it.) But because her baby wasn’t with her at the airport — and because the stash was larger than the allowed 5 ounces — airport officials confiscated the milk. After watching her 10 ounces of hard work go (probably) down the drain, Milano did what any of us would do: She vented.

After tweeting that it was “not okay” for Heathrow’s security to take her breast milk — and leave her shampoo and other toiletries intact — she railed against the airport. She asked some obvious questions (“They said they would let the pumped milk through if I had the baby with me. Why would I need to pump if I had the baby with me????”) and even offered up a solution (“@HeathrowAirport I would have happily spread milk in different containers, which I travel with, to comply to those liquid rules. Instead, milk was taken away with no discussion. Shampoo, lotions, etcetera were simply tested and handed back with no issue. Makes no sense at all.”).

But despite the high-profile complaints, the airport stood behind the decision. “Hi Alyssa. Unfortunately, without a baby present, the government requires all liquids in carry-ons to follow the 100ml rule,” was its official tweeted response.

While I’m all for following the rules, I’m siding with Milano on this one. Making and collecting 10 ounces of milk takes a lot of work, and to flush it down the drain without even offering to inspect it or let the mom break it up into pre-approved bottles isn’t just bad policy, it’s also incredibly wasteful.

Now it’s your turn: Do you think Alyssa Milano had a good reason to gripe here?

Bonnie Gibbs Vengrow is a New York City-based writer and editor who traded in her Blackberry and Metro card for playdates and PB&J sandwiches—and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch her feisty, funny son grow up.Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.

How to Pump Breast Milk
How to Pump Breast Milk
How to Pump Breast Milk

Photo of Alyssa Milano courtesy of Alyssa Milano’s Instagram

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Facebook Is (Finally!) Okay With Your Breastfeeding Photos

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

breastfeeding momAttention, moms who #brelfie: You can finally upload those sweet nursing shots on Facebook without fear of red flags or outright bans. On Monday, the social media giant cleared up the confusion surrounding its rules and regulations surrounding posts. Though you still can’t share a picture of your full monty — or even your nipples for that matter (sorry, Rumer Willis) — Mark Zuckerberg & Co. now promise to always green light photos of women actively breastfeeding, reports The New York Times.

This is an about-face from the company’s previous stance, which at best was uneven and wishy-washy. Over the past few years, we’ve heard story after story about Facebook censors yanking down photos of nursing moms while leaving other, more explicit ones untouched. Of course, it’s worth noting that the people who are paid to suss out the banned stuff are hardly combing through the site looking for exposed breasts. Their job is to investigate content flagged by users (i.e. our friends, or friends-of-friends), a methodical process the company says it has no plans to automate.

Still, Facebook’s inconsistency over what can stay and what must come down has rankled more than a few mamas who were simply trying to share tender moments with their nearest and dearest. And hey, I get it: Pulling a picture of a nursing mom in action reinforces the idea that breastfeeding should be done behind closed doors, or at the very least, under a cover. It smacks of the same discomfort some people feel when a woman lifts up her shirt to feed a baby in public because — gasp! — there’s a breast out, and it’s being used for something other than sexual gratification. But, on the plus side, it’s also helped fuel the #normalizebreastfeeding movement and inspired fed-up moms to try to break the Internet with their #brelfies.

Regardless of where you stand on the breast vs. bottle debate, there’s no denying that nursing is anything but lewd or obscene. That Facebook is finally formally sanctioning breastfeeding photos is a clear step in the right direction. Long overdue, of course, but hopefully a sign of more progress to come.

Tell us: Now that Facebook has given #brelfies the OK, will you post one?

Bonnie Gibbs Vengrow is a New York City-based writer and editor who traded in her Blackberry and Metro card for playdates and PB&J sandwiches—and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch her feisty, funny son grow up. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+

How to Hold Baby While Breastfeeding
How to Hold Baby While Breastfeeding
How to Hold Baby While Breastfeeding

Image of nursing mom courtesy of Shutterstock

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Another Win for Breastfeeding Moms — in Virginia

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

Wooden gavelIn other beneficial breastfeeding news, Virginia became the latest state to pass a bill that will protect the rights of moms to breastfeed in public.

Once the governor of Virginia signs off on the bill, a law will become official this July, making Virginia the 48th state to support mothers’ right to breastfeed. The only two remaining states that have yet to pass a similar law are South Dakota and Idaho.

Up until now, moms in Virginia could breastfeed in public spaces owned by the Commonwealth of Virginia, such as parks and playgrounds. But once the bill goes into effect, moms will be able to breastfeed in privately-owned but public businesses, such as coffee shops and retail stores, without being asked to leave.

Three amazing moms and two senators were behind pushing the bill through, reports The Huffington Post. “Without [this bill], women can be harassed and discriminated while children are denied the basic necessity of eating to survive. This bill will empower women,” says Crystal McCullough, one of the mom supporters.

This is definitely another great step toward the #normalizebreastfeeding movement!

Sherry Huang is a Features Editor for Parents.com. She loves collecting children’s picture books and has an undeniable love for cookies of all kinds. Her spirit animal would be Beyoncé Pad Thai. Follow her on Twitter @sherendipitea.

Breastfeeding in Public
Breastfeeding in Public
Breastfeeding in Public

Photo of wooden gavel via Shutterstock

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Yet Another Mom’s “Controversial” Breastfeeding Photo

Monday, February 16th, 2015

In a time when conversations about public breastfeeding and loving a woman’s natural, self are happening everywhere—one would think the world would be more accepting and appreciative of the images. But this is still not the case and Jade Beall, a photographer and mother, realizes this all too often.

Beall is the founder of “A Beautiful Body Project,” a photo project that aims to display “truthful images of women” that are not airbrushed or Photoshopped, especially women who breastfeed. Her project was inspired by a nude breastfeeding self-portrait she took, and the physical and emotional changes she experienced after the birth of her son.

Recently, Beall posted a photo of seven naked moms (all with diverse bodies) breastfeeding their babies on her Facebook page (see below). Within hours, the photo received almost 9,000 likes and 3,000 comments—but with all the positive feedback came the negative. Facebook users, mostly men, left comments requesting that the image be taken down.

Jade Beall Photography - Breastfeeding Women

Finally, someone reported the image because one of the women’s nipples had not been blurred out, and Facebook removed the photo from their site. This wasn’t the first time one of her photos was removed, but Beall had made sure to blur out nipples and private areas. Unfortunately, Beall had missed one nipple, but she quickly replaced the old image with a newly edited (nipple-free) version.

Facebook does allow photos of breastfeeding these days (as opposed to a few years ago), but the site still has a strict policy on how photos display nudity. Although blurring out a nipple may fulfill Facebook’s guidelines for now, Beall and so many other moms will still continue to advocate for the display of a woman’s most natural self when breastfeeding.

“I love seeing a room full of diverse bodies feeding their babies, the very bodies that made and gave life to the babies!” she told The Huffington Post.  ”When we see a woman with the untypical body type feeling empowered and vulnerable to pose for an artist, it’s like somehow I break the rules of what is acceptable for how much skin a woman ‘should’ show. And to show her allowing her breasts to be used in a completely un-sexualized manner, that really rocks the boat.”

We want to hear your thoughts: Do you think this photograph pushs the limits? Or do you think society should get with the program and appreciate photographs like Beall’s?

Plus: See gorgeous celebrity breastfeeding photos!

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

How to Hold Baby While Breastfeeding
How to Hold Baby While Breastfeeding
How to Hold Baby While Breastfeeding

Photo of diverse women breastfeeding featured with permission of Jade Beall Photography

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