Facebook and Breastfeeding

Comments 10 Standard

Did you know that in 45 states there are laws that protect a womans’ right to breastfeed in any public location? In 28 states, a woman who is breastfeeding is protected from public indecency laws. In 12 states, you can even be exempt from jury duty if you’re a breastfeeding mother (can I get an Amen?!). However, you can’t post a picture of yourself breastfeeding on Facebook. Uhhh… what the what?

I’ve breastfed in 4 different countries. My oldest was born in Japan. Once you have a child born in Japan, there is no question of whether you will bottle-feed or breastfeed. You breastfeed. If a woman is breastfeeding in public, it’s encouraged. In Spain and Portugal, it’s also encouraged to breastfeed where you please. No one bats an eye. America? The land of the free? We have to have laws to protect our right to feed our child in public and can’t post photos of ourselves on Facebook doing what we are legally allowed to do. Give me a break.

Breastfeeding in public, once you get the swing of things, is a cinch. Not only is it easy, but you can’t see anything.

Here I am with my BFF (breastfeeding friend forever, y’all) in the Mall of America nursing our daughters in February 2011. Does this photo offend you?

I know what some of you may be thinking; why should a mother even post a photo of herself breastfeeding on Facebook? Breastfeeding isn’t an action: it’s a way of life. It’s how I feed my child. I also have an older child and travel a lot. If I had to find a quiet place every single time I had to nurse my child, being in a public place for very long would just be out of the question. Public restrooms? Absolutely gross. Do you eat in a public restroom? Why should my baby? I can’t even go into most public restrooms without plugging my nose. So breastfeeding happens anywhere I am, at anytime; it doesn’t stop me. I’ve breastfed while hiking in Arkansas, while picnicking at a Japanese temple, in line at DisneyLand in California. I’ve breastfed while watching Shamu at Sea World, shopping at Target, checking out at the grocery store, while sipping a cafe con leche at a cafe in Spain. I’ve breastfed beneath the St. Louis Arch, while overlooking the grottos in Portugal and even at Arlington National Cemetery while listening to Barack Obama make a speech on Veterans Day. As an obsessive picture-taker and life-documentor I have pictures of me breastfeeding my babies at pretty much every single one of these places. It should be my choice whether or not I share that part of my life, online, for my friends to see.

Why are Facebooks’ policies anti-breastfeeding? They aren’t anti-breast. Exactly the opposite, actually. Playboys’ Facebook fan page, at the time of writing this post, has almost 6 million fans. 6 million. Hooters has over 1.7 million Facebook fans. There’s even a Facebook fan page for “Boobies” that has 162, 571 fans. So it’s not the breast that bothers Facebook. Not at all. It’s the baby on the breast.

Here’s a good example:

The mother in the photo above (which is beautifully and tastefully done) recently got her Facebook account deactivated due to this breastfeeding photo. See the ad right next to her “offensive” photo?

So, if you’re using your breasts for sexual purposes or ‘for entertainment only’, Facebook will support you on that. But, if you post a photo of yourself feeding your child with your breast, fuhget about it!

Facebook, give us breastfeeding mothers a break. Remove this double standard and change your policies to be breastfeeding-friendly and more supportive of breastfeeding mothers!

10 thoughts on “Facebook and Breastfeeding

  1. Sadly this has been going on for years. The Leaky Boob, a great breastfeeding advocacy page on Facebook got their page deactivated and all the photos posted deleted. It happens again and again and ya know what….there’s no way to contact FB about it!

    Check out the page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2517126532 (Hey Facebook! Breastfeeding is not obscene!)

    NYTimes has done an article or 2 about it: http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/06/facebook-vs-nursing-moms-round-2/ and the LATimes: http://articles.latimes.com/2009/jan/13/opinion/ed-breastfeed13

    Just search in your favorite browser for “breastfeeding Facebook” and see how many hits come up with outrage regarding their hypocritical policies.

    Until the nursing moms and their supporters LEAVE Facebook…it won’t change. Maybe I need to start a Breastfeedingbook type site? hmmmmm

  2. Sompin’ tells me these FBook boys are trying to
    discourage wholesome mommas from being on their “networking” blip.
    You rocked this post Kels!

  3. Hey thats me and my baby!!! :) very proud to have been a breastfeeding mom!! Esp next to my BFF! Love it!

  4. This is so stupid. I can’t believe there are women out there that are so focused on whether they can show breastfeeding pics on the internet instead of just putting their kid first. This makes me so sick. While breastfeeding is something that parents NOT JUST WOMEN, can choose for their child, the whole world doesn’t need to see it. I don’t wanna see it when I am out, I don’t want to see it at Target, and I don’t wanna see it on Facebook. GET A LIFE. Fight for something real like the future of your kids and Social Security, College Tuitions, etc. You want to breastfeed do it, but do you really set an example for your child by crying because you can’t post a picture of it? WOW. Some really scary ideas of what parents make a priority instead of just raising their kid.

  5. The women who fight for breastfeeding are the same women who fight for the future of our kids, social security, college tuitions, etc.

    If I happen to get a beautiful picture of my child breastfeeding, I should be able to post it. Regardless of what he is doing. Because it is a BEAUTIFUL THING.

    The way we treat breastfeeding in a picture is a DIRECT result of the way we, as a society, view the practice. It then INDIRECTLY affects the well-being of our children because mothers associate the stigma of photos with the act itself, and grow uncomfortable even with the idea of doing it.

    You obviously know very little about… well, anything, so I can’t expect you to understand. But I’m sure you’re busy worrying about that wonderful government program called social security ;))))

    I bet NONE of the women who care about breastfeeding have ever thought about providing college tuition for their kids. HAH. Hahahaha. Oh goodness. I needed a laugh.

  6. Wow Javier you just proved yourself to be a retard. If you knew anything about parenting you would know breastfeeding is the most important choice you can make for a child. As far as caring about posting it on facebook, people should feel wronged when their pictures are taken down yet sluts can post just about anything they want. If breastfeeding women were treated with respect instead of disgust when nursing in public it wouldn’t be an issue. If my wife doesn’t act proud when nursing in public and doesn’t stand up for herself, what kind of example does that set for my four year old daughter when she goes to do the right thing but the people around her try to tell her what shes wrong, or gross. It’s people like you that are ruining our society. Demeaning a woman for feeling passionate about what she’s doing right for her baby is about as low as you can go. You need to reevaluate your beliefs and what you post on a very passionate mothers page.

  7. Would FB find it offensive if I posted a pic of my baby drinking from a bottle? I think it is kinda strange FB thinks it is wrong to show babies eating. Why does it matter how their food is delivered? You are my breastfeeding role model! (Well you and a few other extremely wise ladies that I respect highly.) I can’t wait to join this kick ass breastfeeding club!

    PS: Javier if you don’t want to see it you can always look away, besides it is kinda rude to stare at someones tits (baby or no baby!)

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