A new documentary film opens today at the IFC Center in New York, and it's a must-see for pregnant women and new moms because it tackles that tricky-yet-totally-natural, politically loaded, judgement-filled mother of all mothering topics: breastfeeding.
Breastmilk, the movie, was directed and produced by Dana Ben-Ari, a first-time filmmaker, and executive produced by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein, the duo behind The Business of Being Born. Billed as "an unflinchingly provocative, humorous, informative and inspirational exploration of just how, when and why the next generation gets fed," the film follows a diverse group of new parents as they navigate the new territory of nursing. But don't mistake Breastmilk for a breast-is-best PSA. (A New York Times review calls the film "admirably agenda-free," and notes that, if anything, Ben-Ari's documentary shows how "shockingly stressful" the whole enterprise can be.)
Indeed, among the parents we meet are a single mom with an abundant breast milk supply, a lesbian couple where both moms lactate and are vocally pro-nursing, a gay couple and an adoptive couple who both seek donated breast milk, and a mom who desperately wants to breastfeed but encounters latch issues and supply problems. We meet parents who resist supplementing with formula, and parents who seem relieved by the option.
"Together, they tell this one story," Ben-Ari says. "And I can relate to every person featured in the film." Adds Lake: "There's someone there for everyone to relate to. It's so poignant, and I just love that there's no judgement. This rite of passage is very personal, and it's different for everyone."
Click here to see the trailer.