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.
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
Photo of diverse women breastfeeding featured with permission of Jade Beall Photography
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All About Babies, Babies, Breastfeeding
Thursday, August 28th, 2014
Breastfeeding may be on the rise in the United States, but black moms continue to lag behind when it comes to nursing.
The stats are a real eye-opener: 79 percent of white babies born in 2010 were breastfed from birth, compared with 62 percent of black babies, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). By six months, 52 percent of white babies were still nursing, compared with 36 percent of black babies, reports the BBC.
Though several reasons for the discrepancy have been offered up, including access to jobs that offer maternity leave and a private place to pump, the CDC may have uncovered a new one: hospitals.
As reported in the Huffington Post, the CDC examined 2,643 hospitals across the country and found that ones in zip codes with more than 12.2 percent black residents were dropping the ball when it came to breastfeeding education and support. In some cases, the disparity is particularly striking. Compared to hospitals in zip codes with fewer black residents, these facilities were less likely to help new moms breastfeed within an hour of baby’s birth (46 percent compared with 59.9 percent). They were also more lax on limiting infants’ meals to breast milk (13.1 percent compared with 25.8 percent), and were less prone to letting infants spend the majority of their hospital stay in the same room as mom, which helps promote breastfeeding (27.7 compared with 39.4 percent).
And make no mistake — those early days with baby are a perfect time for moms to learn best practices when it comes to nursing. “Hospital practices during that childbirth period have a major impact on whether a mother is able to start and continue breastfeeding,” said Jennifer Lind, the lead researcher on the CDC study. “So it’s very important that hospitals support mothers in their breastfeeding decisions and follow the recommended policies that have been proven to support breastfeeding.”
Still, experts point out, a supportive hospital environment can only go so far. Breastfeeding moms need continued support from their community after they’ve been discharged and especially if they return to work — two areas some say are lacking. (Kimberly Seals Allers, who organized Black Breastfeeding Week this week, told the Huffington Post that people wondered whether her baby was getting enough food from exclusive breastfeeding, and some told her that nursing “is for poor people.”).
Which makes high-profile events like Black Breastfeeding Week all the more important. For its part, the CDC and the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality are conducting a three-year project focused on raising breastfeeding rates at 89 hospitals in low-income areas. And it’s money well spent. After all, every mother should be given all the facts and all the support she needs before deciding whether to breastfeed.
Tell us: What kind of breastfeeding education did you receive after delivering your baby?
Wondering what’s next for your baby? Visit our Baby Milestone Tracker to see what big changes are coming up. And be sure to like All About Babies on Facebook to keep up with the latest baby news!
Image of mom and baby courtesy of Shutterstock
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