Posts Tagged ‘ breastfeeding controversy ’

Breastfeeding Father Should Be Allowed to Become La Leche Leader

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Trevor, a 27-year-old transgender father and stay-at-home dad in Canada, was grateful that La Leche League helped him breastfeed after he gave birth to his first child last year. Now he wants to pay that support forward, but the group won’t let him, according to a report on Today Moms.

The breast-feeding advocacy organization told him via a letter that he posted on his blog (milkjunkies.net) that only a mother who has breast-fed a baby is allowed to become to
La Leche League leader, reports Lisa Flam. In other words, thanks, but no thanks, Trevor.

Say what?

New moms are under tremendous pressure to breastfeed, so how can the largest group devoted to promoting breastfeeding deny an experienced, passionate person the opportunity to help and support moms who are trying to become successful nursers? It just doesn’t make any sense.

In fact, Trevor is probably the group’s best argument that anyone can breastfeed.

Furthermore, Trevor’s a  particularly valuable resource for moms who are struggling to nurse, because it couldn’t have been easy for him to do it either. After all, it’s annoying when you’re struggling to learn how to do something and the person who’s teaching you how to do it makes it look (or seem) effortless–or who doesn’t have a story of legitimate struggle.

And surely it hasn’t been easy for Trevor. He was born with female anatomy and although he took appearance-altering testosterone and underwent surgery to remove most of his breast tissue, he kept his female reproductive system.

After reading Trevor’s enthusiastic remarks about breastfeeding I almost wished I could nurse Mason. Then I thought of Mason’s vampire-like incisors and suddenly felt fine sticking to the sippy cup.

Not surprisingly Trevor’s story has created a firestorm and now La Leche League policymakers say they’re reviewing the case and figuring out next steps, Flam notes.

Let me make it simple for you, ladies: Allow Trevor to volunteer for your organization. Value him, and every other person, who is willing to work hard on behalf of your cause.

Photo: Dad and baby via Ana Blazic Pavlovic/Shutterstock.com

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Waitress Forbidden from Pumping Breastmilk at Work, Manager Feared She’d “Spray All Over” His Office

Friday, August 24th, 2012

The New York Daily News is reporting on a new kind of breastfeeding bully. The latest offender is a chain restaurant manager in Seal Beach, California, and he made a terrible mistake last week.

Kristen Joseph, a 28-year-old single mom and waitress at Hennessey Tavern, was just trying to earn a living—and pump her breastmilk during a 10-minute break from work, as she had done for the last six months—when her as-hole manager stood in her way, according to the report.

Joseph says he refused to give her keys to the office so that she could pump in private. “He said it was disgusting,” she told CBS Los Angeles. “He said he didn’t want me to spray all over his office.”

But apparently he was fine with her waiting on tables while her breasts leaked.

After crying outside, Joseph says she returned to her shift and continued to work as her milk leaked on her shirt, because she had tables to close and paperwork to finish.

How can a manager be so cruel? This poor woman is a single mother, and I imagine she returned to work (despite the humiliation) because she was afraid of being fired.

Companies with more than 50 employees are required to provide an area, separate from the bathroom, for women to pump their breast milk, according to the report. Although I don’t know how many people this particular restaurant employed, how hard is it to give someone a private space for 10 minutes?

I stopped breastfeeding before I returned to work, so I never had to worry about pumping on the job (although my company is very accommodating to nursing mothers). Have you ever had any problems pumping at work?

As an aside, I’ve never been to a Hennessy Tavern, and now I’ll be sure to never go to one.

Photo: Breastfeeding mother via Natalia Dexbakh/Shutterstock.com

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NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg: The Biggest Breastfeeding Bully of All

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

It’s not enough that hospitals are banning free gifts of formula, or that the editor of Mothering magazine likened free gifts of formula to cigarettes, now the mayor of New York City is locking up formula at local hospitals, according to the New York Post. He says that he believes the maneuver will “encourage” new moms to breastfeed, but it sounds like the ultimate act of breastfeeding bullying to me.

As part of his Latch on NYC initiative, which launches September 3, the city will keep tabs on the number of bottles that participating hospitals stock and use, making it the most restrictive pro-breast-milk program in the nation, reports the Post.

More than half of the city’s 40 hospitals have also agreed to give up swag bags sporting formula-company logos, toss out formula-branded freebies, and document a medical reason for every bottle that a newborn receives.

I live in New York City. Mason was born here. If I choose to give birth to another child in the city, I better pray that my child latches on immediately and is naturally perfect at nursing. Otherwise I’m going to have to negotiate with a nurse in order for my child to be fed (as I’m recuperating from a C-Section) and endure a “talking-to.” And what about that medical justification?  Is one night of solid sleep following major abdominal surgery good enough, or will I need to somehow feign total incapacitation?

I breastfed Mason the entire time I was in the hospital, but I was grateful that he could get a bottle in the nursery at night so that I could have a couple of nights of solid sleep (and time to heal) before we were totally on our own with him.

Oh, and get this: If I get thirsty during all of this, I’ll need to watch what I drink because the major is also trying to ban large sizes of sugary drinks from being sold in NYC. What liberty will he rob from us next?

Policies like Latch on NYC do nothing but create more stress and anxiety for expectant mothers. If a mom is willing and able to breastfeed her child, she will. If she’s not, she should have a viable alternative without being put through a major guilt trip. Why should NYC’s mayor–or anyone else, for that matter–have the right to institute a policy that make a new mother’s time with her baby anything but joyful?

Photo: Michael Bloomberg via Miro Vrlik Photography/Shutterstock

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Are Photos of Breastfeeding Obscene?

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Yes, according to Facebook’s obscenity clause. Recently, the world’s largest social network, as well as the comedy website Funny or Die, have come under fire for taking down photos or videos of moms nursing their babies, citing the “obscenity” clauses in their terms of service as justification.

Some background from The New York Times:

In recent weeks social networks like Facebook have come under fire for deleting pictures that show children breast-feeding and for closing accounts of the mothers who posted the photos. In some of these cases the mothers were told they had violated the site’s terms of service by publishing sexual or obscene material. A separate online campaign has urged the children’s television series “Sesame Street” to show more images of breast-feeding.

Funny or Die, which is directed at an 18-and-over audience, often posts R-rated movie trailers and other bawdy content. But it does not appear to have a strict no-nudity policy: bare breasts can be seen in blooper videos on the site, and in the short “Jon Benjamin’s Ultimate Trick Shot Video” the camera frequently lingers on the genitals of a naked man.

Does this make sense to anyone?

I, for one, don’t understand why Funny or Die permits close-ups of a naked penis but not a bare breast from which a child is eating. And Facebook is closing the accounts of moms who post breastfeeding photos…really? Some people might argue in support of the ban saying they don’t want to see someone else breastfeeding, but I say don’t look, or, if you’re really bothered by it, de-friend the person. I cringe every time one of my Facebook friends posts a photo of their baby’s genitalia–for starters, I think it’s a crazy violation of the baby’s privacy–so I just don’t look at those photos. If that parent is comfortable with sharing that kind of photo with their social network, who am I to stop them or say it isn’t right?

What do you think? Are breastfeeding photos obscene? Is Facebook and Funny or Die right to ban them? If so, are there other photos that should be banned on the same principle?

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