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Thread: Lactivism

  1. #1

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    Default Lactivism

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    Let's be up-front about it
    Joanna Moorhead
    November 24, 2006 06:00 PM

    Breastfeeding in public is often stigmatised, yet what could be more natural and healthy? We need more 'lactivism' to get the message out.

    A few days ago, I flew from Miami to London: sitting two rows away from me, a baby of about six months. As the plane rose, so too did the screams of the child: and so, also, did the hackles of the passengers. If there is anything quite as exquisitely torturous as being forced to listen to an infant's piercing screams while locked into a small space, knowing you have many more hours of it ahead and that you are entirely powerless to affect it, then I cannot think what it might be.

    There is, though, a solution. No small child need cry on an aeroplane - because breastfeeding is nature's solution to clearing the nasal and aural passages that, when there is a change of air pressure, cause the child to scream in pain. When my four children were younger, I travelled thousands of miles by air with never a squeak out of any of them. I simply plugged myself into my seat, plugged my baby onto my nipple, and prepared for a silent take-off.

    All of which is just part of why the attendant on the Delta flight from Vermont to New York got it so wrong when she told mum Emily Gillette she found her breastfeeding "offensive".

    Offensive! In a sane world, airlines should offer breastfeeding mothers free flights, not frogmarch them off because they refuse to cover themselves up with a blanket.



    Then again, the world does seem a bit insane when it comes to breastfeeding. Consider this: as a society we worry, nay we agonise, over our kids. Are they bright enough; will they get a chest infection; are they speaking clearly enough; will they be fat teenagers; are they going to die of heart disease? And then along comes a wonder-drink (OK, so it's millions of years old - it's just the research that's new) that makes them smart; that reduces their risk of chest infections; that encourages early speaking; that keeps them slim in childhood and even into adolescence; that reduces their risk of heart disease. You'd think we would be doing everything we could to get that drink down them, right?

    But no, we don't. As a society, we find it somehow - as the flight attendant said - offensive. Because tits, well, they're for blokes, really, aren't they? Not for babies. (I was once hugely amused, while breastfeeding on a bus, by a man who gave me disapproving stares from behind page three of The Sun!) We've got a bit of a hang-up about breasts and their raison d'etre in the west, it seems to me.

    But things are changing. Scotland now has a law making it illegal to object to a woman breastfeeding in public. And there is a campaign to follow suit in England. It's all part of a new movement, "lactivism" - that I'm proud to say I'm passionate about. As, too, are - tacitly - the millions of tiny people the world over who are going to grow up healthier, happier - and, at times, quieter - because of it.

  2. #2
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    Well spoken. Whenevr I read something like this, I can always think of a few choice people I'd like to send it to.... but don't.

  3. #3

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    I just realised that my DH is a convert to Lactivism.

    When Charlie was first born, he used to try to shunt me into parents' rooms and toilets to feed him, but now it's all breastfeeding is not shameful! People's attitudes have to change! Feed him anywhere you like! Lol!

  4. #4

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    Mind you, no one's ever said anything to me either Shannon. It's so much more common than when my three older kids were babies. You see women everywhere BFing now. And that's despite the fact that there are parenting rooms round every corner nowadays.

  5. #5

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    I am soooo going to get a T shirt with the next baby. One of the cool ones with a spunky slogan on it.
    Mind you - everyone from arthur to martha has already seen me feeding jenna until a reasonably ripe age, so I dont think they would expect any different from me
    I wonder if anyone ever gave me funny looks while flying? I was always in the front row, so its not like you can see yourself from behind and if there is any booby showing. Hehehe

  6. #6

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    I feel so sorry for women in countries where BF in public is frowned upon. I think it is actually illegal in some parts of the US!!

    Now I have never been a tit-flasher but WHAT THE HELL IS WORNG WITH BF IN PUBLIC?? Like I always say, the personal is political - if you ladies believe in BF them promote it in your day to day lives!!

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    Hee Hee, I whipped out my milk-hard boobie today at the MCG rally against the IR laws - copped smiles all round! It was so nice to just know I was in a supportive environment (being that most members of my union are female...).
    BFing is environmentally friendly (no usage of water to clean implements), it's free, it's easy, it's beautiful to see. One more mummy feeding in public gives another woman that added confidence to try it herself and to do some prude-busting!
    Be brave, feed in public because it normalises what is the most normal thing in the rest of the world.
    The most important consideration I make when I feed in public or anywhere is my boy. No-one else is responsible for feeding him and maintaining his emotional wellbeing so any comments that are disapproving JUST DON'T COUNT.
    I guess I'm a raging Lactivist, too

  8. #8

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    I just find it beautiful seeing a mum breastfeeding, sometimes i feel rude cause I can't help but look!
    When Ash was first born I was so worried about BFing in public and was so paranoid bout people staring or being offended but after first time I don't care anymore what people think.
    I haven't had any real probs. Once an aquantince of Df came over and I fed Ash and he commented on it that i shouldn't be doing that in front of guests! I got my back up about that and pointed out firstly it was my place and secondly whats the prob its so natural.
    Why would god create the human body to work this way if its considered "offensive". Its a baby eating, i could get offended by the way some adults eat when they are out in public! LOL!

  9. #9

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    I agree! If eating in public is offensive then all restaurants should be banned.

    Admitedly I often use a shawl to cover myself when feeding in public. However now that summer's here I use it less and less. Watch out anyone who tries to tell me off!!

    GO LACTIVISM!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. #10

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    Fantastic article Liz, thanks for sharing it.

    I'm another who really does not care where I feed my babies. If their hungry then so be it. I do object if Tehya is trying to pull a boob out when I'm in a store queue though

    My gf has a 8 week old little boy, anyway a couple of weeks back she was in our local Kmart, this is totally detached from the shopping centre, anyway, bub needed a feed so she went up tot he change room - which were empty, and asked if she could feed her baby in there, the stupid young b!tch on the door told her that no she could not feed in there, it was not a feeding room. My gf was made to go and sit on the little stools in the footwear dept to feed her baby.

    How bloody rude, I say !!

  11. #11

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    Trish, you may need to let your GF know that no-one can tell her where to or NOT to feed, and she doesn't need to seek permission Next time she wants to use the change rooms, she should just go right ahead and if anyone objects, she can just tell management that after she's finished feeding her child (wherever she damn well pleases) she will call the Equal Opportunity Commission on their behalf so that the matter can be clarified!

  12. #12

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    I actually told her to go and complain to the management at the store. I'm sure they would've been fine. Obviously the girl on the door did not have children or understand the newborn babies simply cannot wait for a feed.

  13. #13

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    A complaint is definitely in order, grrr! Young people are becoming so detached from understanding anyone under 10 years of age, that it doesn't surprise me to hear stories like this. For some reason young women think of babies as some other kind of mammalian species and not as humans who grow up to be just like them...
    Anyway, good on your friend for feeding in the store!

  14. #14

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    On BF in public, I was BF at a conference at the Hyatt in Melbourne the other week, and an older lady who was attending another function smiled at me while I was feeding Flynn and said "what a lovely sight, enjoy every minute of it". I am an ardent lactivist but even so having a nice comment like that lifted my day. I think we should all make it a point to give positive feedback to every BF mother we see, even if it is a knowing smile.

  15. #15

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    Well as my Sig says I am not only a lactivist, I'm a luscious one at that!
    Last edited by *Efjay*; December 4th, 2006 at 12:34 PM.

  16. #16

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    I'm feeling terribly guilty for letting my pro-bf rants slide away in the past 2 yrs since DS weaned himself but I am looking forward to gearing up again with this one. i think every BF mother is a lactivist just by doing what she is doing. I am also said to say that of the 5 women I know personally who have had babies in the past year only 1 of them is still feeding. in fact two of the younger mothers I know stopped exactly on 6wks, not helped by their mothers with comments like, "it's so good now such and such is on formula so we can feed them". I am def one of the not-so -pushy but overly enthusiastic people who love to talk to people about BF but sadly I think that particularly for working mothers the BF tide is starting to slide - really sad esp as those bubs in daycare are the ones that need the milk the most.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by ~Saram~ View Post
    not helped by their mothers with comments like, "it's so good now such and such is on formula so we can feed them".
    That is so selfish, to potentially compromise the health of your own grandchild just so you can put a bottle into their mouth.

  18. #18

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    yep. And feeding can be 'shared' by using expressed milk.

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