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STFU Parents: The Great Breastfeeding Photo Debate

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For as long as I can remember, women have been fighting Facebook for their right to post breastfeeding images on the social networking site. And for as long as I can remember, Facebook has said, “We have certain policies against images with nudity, but as long as the woman in the picture is actively breastfeeding, we see nothing wrong with it.” Still, as is the case in real life, glitches occur. Photos have been removed. Accidents have happened, and continue to happen when users flag photos. And for every picture that gets taken down, at least three “Screw you, Facebook!” protest pages are created. In the three years since starting STFU, Parents, this is one of those subjects that has yet to be weaned from my inbox. As a matter of fact, it would seem that it’s only getting more coverage (so to speak) in the past couple months as more breastfeeding advocates and groups align to protest the Almighty being that is Facebook.

My stance on the topic is usually, “Someone please hand me a stiff drink.” I’m unsure as to why the subject matters so much. As a woman, I feel guilty for thinking this way, much as many women who choose formula over breastfeeding are made to feel guilty, because I’m afraid that it somehow makes me less of a woman or less of a “fighter.” I like to think of myself as being part of the crusade against the conservative regime that’s attempting to trip up women’s reproductive rights and rights to affordable health care, and a part of me worries that by coming out and saying that women on Facebook are acting “silly,” I’m just linking myself to the larger problem. I’m minimizing how hundreds of thousands of women feel when Facebook removes one of their photos and accuses them of posting “pornographic” content. I’m taking the time to speak out against women’s rights while criticizing those who are taking the time to fight Facebook and demand rightful changes in their policy (or something). So until now, I’ve pretty much remained mum on the topic.

But alas, people continue to send me articles and links and photos saying they want to hear my thoughts on the subject. I’ve spoken about “breastfeeding on Facebook” before, such as in this column, but those examples were more about what I think is appropriate to share about breastfeeding on Facebook, rather than what I think about this never-ending photo debate. (I had an urge to call it a “charade” just now, actually.) The truth is, I don’t really know what I think. I think it’s a shame that Facebook has removed photos that do not conflict with their policy, which, for the record, is this:

I think it’s unfortunate that some people think breastfeeding is “too provocative” for public consumption (pun intended). I even think that a photo like this, which has been sent to me well over a couple dozen times in the past few years, is for the most part “fine” and shouldn’t be such a big deal.

STFU ParentsBy the 20th time I received an email about this viral photo, which recently had its fourth or fifth circulation on the Internet since it first appeared online, I found myself oddly arguing more rigorously in favor of it. A part of me wanted to think that it was because I think breastfeeding is natural and beautiful, like a yoga pose or Mother Nature herself. But another part of me wondered, “If the woman in this photo didn’t have such a conventionally attractive body, would I still be preaching the same thing?” Most of the women whose pictures get removed from Facebook do not look like this, whether upside down or right side up, and several of the pro-breastfeeding photo groups on Facebook feature comments from people saying things along the lines of, “Maybe if I looked like a supermodel Facebook would let me keep my photos up!” The whole purpose of these women’s mission is to showcase the “beauty” of feeding a baby naturally, whether a woman has a beautiful body by traditional standards of beauty or not. And I can get down with that….I think. Still, my reaction gave me pause.

With that in mind, there is something sour about the Great Boob Debate that I find highly annoying. It’s the vehemence, the hostility and the accusatory way in which some groups react that induces several eye-rolls from me. Cutting off funding to Planned Parenthood? Now that’ll get me enraged. But removing a photo from Facebook? Eh, who cares. No matter how many times I read an article about various staged nurse-ins at Facebook’s offices around the world (which occurred this week, by the way), my stance doesn’t change. I think, “How does this matter when there are bigger problems to focus on?” and my mind doesn’t shift from there.

This isn’t Vietnam; it’s Facebook. And the photos that are being removed are hosted by a free website with its own corporate policy and complex inner workings. Read this article about Facebook’s de facto IPO, and then read a page like “Hey Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene!” (featuring close to 6,000 photos of women breastfeeding) and the issue appears somewhat minute, at least if you think of it from Facebook’s perspective. What else can the company do or say that it hasn’t already done or said? And do the advocates in these groups believe that by “fixing” this “giant” problem, more women will be inspired to breast feed? Because I’m not so sure they will. Will a flood of (even more) breastfeeding photos on Facebook change the “stigma” that surrounds breastfeeding? I’m not convinced. Sometimes I think mothers are exploiting their babies/children by posting these images online at all. It’s one thing to post a picture in which you happen to be breastfeeding, but it’s another to post dozens, sometimes hundreds of photos of your baby at your breast to prove some kind of point.

In other words, no matter how many times women post pictures of themselves breastfeeding on Facebook, and no matter how many protests are staged outside Facebook’s worldwide offices, nothing substantial is likely to change. So, what do I think about all the drama over breastfeeding censorship? I think it sucks. But I also think it’s time to move on.

STFU Parents

110 Comments

  1. Sparky

    February 8, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    I think these people just have too much *CLAPCLAP* time on their hands.

    • Paala

      February 9, 2012 at 3:45 pm

      People who understand what a big deal it is MAKE TIME.

    • SG

      February 9, 2012 at 4:29 pm

      You mean suburban housewives who don’t have to work because they married rich guys? Sorry, Paala, I don’t give a shit about your tits or your web site or your homemade granola. I have bigger things to worry about, like finding a job after I graduate so I don’t starve. Right now, that’s a hell of a lot more important to me than any of your pet causes.

      And no, that’s not a dig at SAHMs. My sister is one, and a damn good one. She stays involved in my nieces’ lives by volunteering at their schools, reading and discussing books with them, teaching them how to eat right and take care of their bodies — you know, parenting her children rather than self-righteously dictating how other people should live their lives. How about you stop focusing so much on your boobs and MAKE TIME for your baby?

  2. Matt

    February 8, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    Personally, I have no damn idea why Facebook feels the need to censor *anything,* sexual or not.

    • fatlady

      February 8, 2012 at 7:54 pm

      It’s their company, they can do what they choose.

  3. Maggie

    February 8, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    Facebook is a privately-owned company. If these people don’t like Facebook’s policies, then don’t use Facbeook. Its not that hard.

    • OceanStar

      February 9, 2012 at 6:42 pm

      Exactly. By e-mailing the photos they can let the people get them who might actually want to see them. And it had better never be me. 🙂

  4. Laura

    February 8, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    Does Facebook really have the time to comb through ALL the pictures that are posted to their website and censor all the inappropriate stuff? I was under the impression that it was the FB users that could flag a photo as inappropriate. That being said, maybe these women throwing a fit should examine the people that they are “friends” with online because they might be the ones that are getting their pictures removed.

    • Maggie

      February 8, 2012 at 5:20 pm

      That was pretty much Facebook’s response. They don’t even look at pictures until they’re flagged, so if your picture is removed, its the fault of one of your friends.

    • Julie

      February 8, 2012 at 9:36 pm

      This was going to be exactly what I was going to comment on- facebook is a FREE social networking site with millions of users. I don’t see some pencil pushing office schlub sitting in an office combing through every single photo that gets flagged as inappropriate. People should be looking at their friends list and wondering who it is that flagged them in the first place. And, if they want an environment where they have more control over what they can and cannot post, maybe they should be looking for a subscription type service where they can say, “Hey, I’m paying for this. It says in your policy that this should be ok, so put my darn picture back up.”

      On another note, i have friends on my list that I haven’t seen since I was a child, some professional acquaintances and some family that I’m not super close with. I’m not that attention starved that I would want to broadcast my chest across that wide range of people on the internet. Yeah, it’s natural and some think it’s beautiful, but do I really get to assume that everyone on my friends list feels that way?

    • Marie

      February 9, 2012 at 2:57 pm

      Yes, EXACTLY. If your pictures are getting flagged, that’s a hint that one or more of your friends does not want to see your pictures in their newsfeed, not proof that there’s a vast corporate conspiracy against breastfeeding mothers.

  5. Janet

    February 8, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    I feel almost exactly the same way you do about this. Personally, I don’t think anyone wants to see you nursing your baby. I breastfed my son. I loved it. I think it’s the right way to go, but it’s nobody’s business. I think that nursing in public should be done discretely. Besides, it’s a really intimate thing. Having sex is natural, often beautiful, but (most) people avoid doing that in public. Breastfeeding is a special bond that YOU have with YOUR child. I understand the desire to desensitize people, but like you said, I’m not sold on the idea that it’s going to change people’s perceptions.

  6. mia

    February 8, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    Is there any evidence that promoting breast feeding is a good thing in countries where mothers and babies have access to food, medical care and nutritional advice? I have not seen one study on breast feeding indicating more than a 5 point increase in IQ linked to breast feeding for one year. I have seen studies suggesting that breast feeding make in fact only make a difference to certain babies and that it depends on genetics. Even assuming there is a 5 point IQ difference what other benefits are there?

    • Vashra Araeshkigal

      February 8, 2012 at 6:11 pm

      http://ideas.repec.org/p/ags/uersfa/33813.html
      http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(02)08837-2/fulltext

      One of my favorites:
      http://www.linkagesproject.org/media/publications/Technical%20Reports/BOB.pdf

      These are but a tiny collection of the many recent studies collectively showing that breast feeding is generally preferable to formula feeding in all cases where the mother is physically able to do so.

    • Marla

      February 8, 2012 at 6:43 pm

      “Is there any evidence that promoting breast feeding is a good thing in countries where mothers and babies have access to food, medical care and nutritional advice?”

      Are you serious?

    • fatlady

      February 8, 2012 at 7:53 pm

      Hey Marla-

      How about answering the question instead of going all righteous indignation? Because that? It’s not helping your cause.

    • EG

      February 8, 2012 at 9:44 pm

      There are really big benefits to their little immune systems. They get passive immunity to lots of little cold and flu viruses that the mother’s adult immune system is strong enough to fight off, but a baby’s undeveloped immune system wouldn’t. (I’m sure I’ve heard of other statistically significant benefits, but immunology is my field, so…)

      This is not to say that it’s horrible and unforgivable to formula feed a baby, of course. If nothing else, the babies of women unable to lactate for whatever reason, and adopted babies still have to eat something, and it’s not going to kill them. But if you have the option to breast feed, it helps keep them from getting sick.

    • Mia

      February 9, 2012 at 11:27 am

      Yes. That was a serious question. I honestly have no idea where to get good information on breastfeeding or it’s advantages. I think that is fairly common for young women, particularly those of us whose mothers were unable to breastfeed for health or work reasons.

    • Catherine

      February 9, 2012 at 11:56 am

      Absolutely, mia! Breastfeeding has a great number of benefits for both mom and baby – more than I can list here without writing a book, really, but they include the immunological benefits EG mentioned, lowering the risk of breast and ovarian cancer in BF mothers, and lowering the risk of diabetes and obesity in both mother and baby. There are also emotional benefits. And keep in mind that although most of us have access to food, medical care, and nutritional advice, this is not true for all people at all times – in the case of a natural disaster (Hurricane Katrina, for example), people often do not have access to safe sources of water, or ways to sterilize bottles, etc., and feeding babies can become a public health emergency.

      Like EG said, formula is a good thing – it allows women who are unable to breastfeed (and who may not have access to or don’t feel comfortable using donor milk) to feed their babies, and it allows babies without mothers to survive. But it is not biologically suited to human babies the way that human milk is, and cannot offer the same health benefits.

    • Julietg

      February 9, 2012 at 12:50 pm

      Mia- regarding “work reasons” I work full time and commute. My son is fed exclusively breastmilk. Not being sanctimonious, just letting you know it absolutely can be done. And there are now federal laws to help you do it too. There are also laws to protect moms who choose to nurse in public. Not making a statement, just stating facts. Great resources for info on bfing are La Leche League and kellymom.com.

    • Ellie

      February 9, 2012 at 2:40 pm

      Who cares? It’s still up to the parents to decide how to feed their children. That has nothing to do with this issue – pics on FB.

    • SG

      February 9, 2012 at 4:07 pm

      Curiously, being breastfed for over a year did not prevent me from getting pneumonia as an infant, developing allergies and asthma and chronic respiratory ailments as a kid and multiple health problems as an adult. I had a disc collapse in my back when I was 26. Just yesterday I had to skip work because I coughed so hard I developed costochondritis and I suspect I may already have Tietze syndrome, probably from being sick so much or maybe because, I don’t know, I’m just not a very healthy person *despite* my infant diet of Liquid Gold? And it’s not just me. My sister and and I were both breastfed and it didn’t prevent my mother from having weight problems or getting breast cancer.

      You can cite all the stats you like, but breast milk is not a magic elixir. Doctors and some very unnatural substances, not breast milk, kept me — and my mom — alive.

    • Adrienne

      February 9, 2012 at 5:52 pm

      @SG: I’m sorry about your illnesses, and I’m sorry about your mom’s cancer 🙁 I definitely hear what you are saying, and I totally agree. You’re also right that a lot of unnatural substances help to keep us alive in this day and age, and people seem to forget the miracles of modern science. I often have people tell me that my crappy immune system is due to my not having been breast fed, but it’s nice to know that it’s potentially not all my mom’s fault. Maybe, even if I had been breast fed, I would still have this crappy immune system. Sending good health vibes to you and your mom 🙂

    • OceanStar

      February 9, 2012 at 6:26 pm

      Catherine, thank you for your comment. I like that you gave some of the reasons people can’t breastfeed along with the benefits of breastfeeding. Of course I support breastfeeding, but I really don’t like the women who get “holier than thou” about it and almost make it sound like your kid will turn out like terrible deformed weakling if they don’t BF. If I ever have children I would BF as long as I could, but it’s not the end of all things if I can’t.. My sister was adopted and I resent these people getting up in arms about because she seems pretty normal to me. My mom was in her late 40s when she adopted her so we didn’t exactly know people lining up to hand over the goods.

    • Baku-chan

      February 9, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    • Baku-chan

      February 9, 2012 at 7:20 pm

      Crap, I linked to the 3rd page. Here’s a link to the 1st: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/04/the-case-against-breast-feeding/7311/1/

    • Jules

      February 10, 2012 at 12:33 am

      This article has nothing to do with the argument between the benefits of breastfeeding vs. formula. It’s about posting pictures of women in the act of breastfeeding on Facebook.

      I strongly believe that it’s up to the parents to decide how they want to raise their children and how they want their child to be fed, whether they have a choice in the matter or not. Some women, like me, cannot breastfeed because of medications or other conditions. Making these kind of decisions is mandatory. Babies can’t be left to their own devices.

      Deciding to take pictures of your boob in your child’s mouth and posting them on a public website is not mandatory.

  7. StrangerDanger

    February 8, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    I have no problem with breastfeeding. I just don’t want to see everyone’s gross hippy tits on my wall, or while I’m trying to look at pictures of someone’s new baby to see if it’s ugly like it’s dad.

    • Christne9874

      February 8, 2012 at 6:07 pm

      AMEN!

    • Adrienne

      February 8, 2012 at 9:22 pm

      hahahaha yes!

    • redcordelia

      February 8, 2012 at 9:51 pm

      Hear, hear!

  8. Christine9874

    February 8, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    I am the mother of 4 breastfed babies and I think this whole thing is completely ridiculous. Bowel movments are natural (which apparently equals beautiful??) but no one wants to see a picture of you taking a dump, and most people don’t want to post them anyway. The whole post pictures of me with my tit out us just another passive aggressive underhanded way of being an attention whore. It’s about providing nourishment for child not having an online circle jerk about how frigging great you are.

    • Fairy CrabCakes

      February 8, 2012 at 6:55 pm

      Ha! Loved this! (Nice circle jerk inclusion, by the by.)

    • Stephanie

      February 8, 2012 at 9:04 pm

      You are amazing.

    • Adrienne

      February 8, 2012 at 9:17 pm

      @Christine: You, ma’am, hit the nail on the head. If I said it, I’m sure I would be called an ignorant, childless, heathen whore. But it has clout coming from you, and that makes it all the more awesome. Brava!

    • Smg

      February 8, 2012 at 9:17 pm

      I adore you.

    • Jackie

      February 8, 2012 at 11:57 pm

      Hahaha! That is a perfect way to put it!

    • jennyjen

      February 9, 2012 at 5:33 am

      Beautifully put Christine. Gold star!

    • Derpy

      February 9, 2012 at 10:24 am

      You are fantastic. = )

    • Sabrina

      February 9, 2012 at 11:03 am

      Well said! Exactly how I feel about the issue.

      I’m not sure why so many mombies and activists are set on making breastfeeding have a magical, special category of its own. Natural and beautiful? I can think of a LOT of things to put in that category, and you can bet your ass plenty of sanctimommies wouldn’t want them all okayed by Facebook.

    • Paala

      February 9, 2012 at 2:07 pm

      Wow. I’m sorry you feel this way. Bowel movements are in no way comparable to breastfeeding. Women who post photos of themselves are not whores. You should read this: Every argument against NIP debunked – http://doublethink.us.com/paala/2012/02/03/read-it-every-argument-against-nip-debunked/
      Enjoy!

    • Catherine

      February 9, 2012 at 3:35 pm

      The breatfeeding=pooping argument is so weird. Breastfeeding is not pooping, masturbating, urinating, or having sex. Yes, it is natural – there are lots of natural things we do in private, and lots we do both in private and in public, such as eating or breathing. Breastfeeding counts as eating and feeding, and therefore fits into the latter category.

      Are the pictures necessary? No, like all pictures on facebook, posting them and viewing them is optional.

  9. mswonderwoman

    February 8, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    “I think it sucks.”

    I see what you did there. Nice pun 😉

  10. Fairy CrabCakes

    February 8, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    I find it bizarre that many of the same women who demand respect for every fully functioning (albeit small) member of society, turn around and violate the privacy of their children by posting intimate photos and information about them online. It seems highly ironic (and sad) that so many mothers are okay with blurring these lines.

    • Janet

      February 8, 2012 at 8:52 pm

      I totally agree!

  11. fatlady

    February 8, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    I can understand lobbying for breastfeeding in public and for better places in which moms can breastfeed when not at home. Mom and baby go out and sometimes baby needs to feed during that time.

    I can’t understand lobbying to have your bf photos on Facebook. Having those photos there is not a necessity for your baby. Your baby will be able to feed whether or not your photo remains on Facebook.

    If you don’t like it, start your own social network and make it the way you think it should be.

  12. Pingback: STFU Parents: The Great Breastfeeding Photo Debate | Diaper Earth

  13. Hippiegurl

    February 8, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    Personally, I’d only post a breastfeeding pic if it were a particularly amazing picture, like golden rays were drifting from the heavens, or I looked absolutely fabulous or such. Otherwise, I don’t see posting them to prove a point. On the other hand, I do find it interesting how many people find pictures of breastfeeding as offensive or sexualized to the point where they report those images as pornography, and even start anti-breastfeeding Facebook groups. I’d say those people have issues.
    I can understand that not everyone wants to see images of breastfeeding mothers. Even though it is a very natural process, not everyone feels comfortable witnessing that kind of intimate moment. That’s probably why I’d never post a breastfeeding picture, out of respect for others that don’t want to see such images. That’s not to say I wouldn’t be upset if I were feeding my child and someone told me it was offensive to them, especially if I were covered up. I don’t walk up to strangers and tell them I’m offended by their clothing choices or them picking their nose in the grocery line in front of me, etc.
    In the scheme of things, I’d rather spend my energy fighting for more significant women’s rights than images being removed from facebook.

  14. Adrienne

    February 8, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    My biggest problem with headstand woman is that I can very clearly see her mons pubis. Am I alone on this? I mean, the boobs got a baby attached. The vadge is a whole different ball game (buzz-ing!)

    • Adrienne

      February 8, 2012 at 9:20 pm

      *boob has got a baby attached. Damn grammar.

  15. Julietg

    February 8, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    I personally have never posted a bf pic on Facebook. I’ve even made grandparents remove pics of me from Shutterfly. But. The reason we Americans have such a low breastfeeding rate and retention is because of our culture’s unhealthy attitudes about it. Seeing the act around you as a normal practice, nothing out of the ordinary, teaches others (especially kids) that this ain’t no thing. The boob doesn’t always have to be sexualized. And you know, I didn’t think this way until I started hanging around breastfeeding women. How else are people supposed to learn how it’s done other than seeing it throughout ones life?

  16. redcordelia

    February 8, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    I keep trying to figure out exactly what it is about these pics that makes me so uncomfortable. I had a very crunchy, nudity-loving mom who breast fed me exclusively for two years, so I support both nudity and breastfeeding wholeheartedly. Maybe it’s the sense of intimacy between mother and child that I just didn’t want to share. I feel like an intruder in an intimate family moment. I don’t understand why any mom would take something sacred and plaster it on the internet for everyone to see. Also, the brown moles on that one woman’s boob? If she were my friend and she posted that pic, I would advise her to see a dermatologist and have them checked for cancer. You can never be too careful.

    • Kit

      February 14, 2012 at 7:33 pm

      This. My biggest *shudder* here is that I really feel like I walked into a really private moment between two people. Like when you walk in on two friends sharing that quiet lovers’ talk or a boss dealing with a problem employee. It’s not something to share with the world and while I’m thrilled you have those moments (well, the lovers and BF mommies, not the boss one), I don’t belong as part of it.

      And the yoga one confuses me. Somehow the addition of a baby just seems like the kid’s an excuse to show off her (admittedly admirable) body and yoga skills. Using a baby as a censor bar seems a little self-serving.

  17. katie

    February 9, 2012 at 4:45 am

    Women who post pictures of themselves breastfeeding annoy me to no end. This is coming from a pretty liberal, easy-going person. No, I don’t have kids, but when I do I’m not going to suddenly decide that the entire world needs to see me whip out my boob and feed my kid. I get uncomfortable when women I don’t know breastfeed their children around me. I’ve had women do it next to me at the next table. They argue “If you don’t like it, don’t look!” how about “Stop being an attention whore!” Seriously. You come here, sit down with your friend, and immediately whip it out. Do it before. Or after. If you’re having a casual lunch on a Tuesday I’m pretty sure you can find time to pump your milk and get a bottle. Anything so I don’t have to see your floppy boob two feet from my face when I’m trying to eat my lunch. As someone else pointed out, pooping is natural as well, natural doesn’t mean beautiful!

    • Beth

      February 9, 2012 at 8:47 am

      Breastfed babies, especially young ones, can’t necessarily be fed at a convienent time and location – their stomachs are small and they need feeding when they need feeding. Often women can’t express or the baby refuses to drink from a bottle – and why should they. Mothering a young baby is hard enough without adding in additional jobs for other people’s convience.

      I think this kind of attitude – and it’s not unusual – is why breastfeeding mums feel that they need to make these kind of public statements

    • Mir

      February 9, 2012 at 10:08 am

      Somehow, in the 9 months I breastfed my daughter, I never did so at the breakfast table. Your feelings of persecution are yours only.

    • Beth

      February 9, 2012 at 10:23 am

      Honestly, your baby never ever needed feeding at a less than convenient time? That is not the experience of any of the breast feeding mothers I know.

      I don’t personally feel persecuted and never had any problem feeding discretely in public. I didn’t post any pictures of breast feeding on facebook because I didn’t think the majority of my friends would be interested.

      I do however find comments like the one I responded to ill informed and part of the reason that some feeding mothers feel there is a battle to be fought.

    • NSE

      February 9, 2012 at 11:13 am

      I stand with Beth on this one. We have boobs. All of us female mammal types. And the reason for those boobs? Feeding babies. When I was nursing, I never gave a thought to the when and where. That’s why I nursed — its really f’ing convenient! You don’t have to carry a bunch of crap wherever you go. You are the food, plain and simple. Baby’s hungry, tuck baby into chest, feed baby. Now, sure, I don’t want the whole world seeing my flab or my boob for that matter, but if somebody got a peek now and again, perhaps it helped them to see what the rest of us nursing mums already know — boobs are for feeding babies. There could be nothing less sexy than seeing my bright white skin and a peek of boob on its way to baby’s mouth. Really, it was a public service.

    • Paala

      February 9, 2012 at 1:59 pm

      Katie, I’m sorry you’re views on breastfeeding are so uninformed. Take a moment to read this – “Every argument against NIP debunked” – http://doublethink.us.com/paala/2012/02/03/read-it-every-argument-against-nip-debunked/

    • Ellie

      February 9, 2012 at 2:44 pm

      If you are allowed to eat where and whenever you like, so should the baby. That’s all it is – EATING. Get over it.

    • Olivia

      August 6, 2012 at 2:29 am

      EXACTLY!! Just today, I saw my cousin try to breastfeed her baby in a public place, and due to things she’s heard very similar to most of these comments about how people NEED to cover up, bla bla bla, she tried to cover up…but it was difficult for her to remain covered, and at one point she had the blanket completely over HER head!! If it weren’t for the fact that she felt so shunned by society for simply needing to feed her baby, she would not have felt the “need” to do that!
      Quite frankly, she looked even more ridiculous and it took her a lot longer. Had she felt completely comfortable with it (like she SHOULD!) it would have been a hell of a lot easier!
      I really felt bad that she seemed a lot more hung up on image than she did on feeding her baby 🙁

    • cakez

      February 9, 2012 at 10:24 pm

      Ladies who breastfeed, I understand your argument about breastfeeding (covered, hopefully) in public places. I don’t mind at all.

      However, I am curious about your stance with regards to the breastfeeding pictures featured on facebook. Can we at least agree that there is no need for that?

      I don’t care if someone breastfeeds in public, although I will admit that it is distracting because, you know, people get unwillingly distracted by such ‘spectacles’ (natural or not.) I don’t find it ‘gross’ or off-putting in public, although please ignore me if I inadvertently glance over because, natural though it is, it is still a woman doing something semi-unexpected and that grabs attention.

      But taking a picture? Posting it on facebook? How is that natural? Can we agree that there is a difference between the necessity of doing it in public and exposing the general facebook cruising friend-affiliate to the exposure?

    • katie

      February 10, 2012 at 1:42 am

      Those arguments aren’t real arguments. It makes me, and a lot of other people uncomfortable. Just like you claim pooping is way different than breast feeding, so is the comparisons that they make to adults buying Starbucks. Boobs are made for feeding, yes, but it’s not something I (or a lot of people) want to see. I like how they need to be covered up when it is anything other than feeding but you’re allowed to whip ’em out when it is. Cover your tits. No one wants to see your saggy boob and your kid drooling over it. It’s a PRIVATE moment between a mother and child, and the fact I know MANY parents who don’t whip them out in public means that you, YES YOU! can also do the rest of the world a favor so I don’t have to see your babies milk-dribble and your boob while I’m eating my breakfast, thanks!

    • katie

      February 10, 2012 at 1:44 am

      The whole “I need to breastfeed in public” movement is just another symptom of the self-entitled mom movement. The same ones who run your heels over with their three-kid-wide stroller and want the rest of the world to bow down to them for the *difficult* act of reproducing.

    • Beth

      February 10, 2012 at 8:16 am

      Katie, babies need to eat sometimes women need to leave the house. I honestly can’t see why you think that makes mums ‘entitled’

    • BConthePrairie

      February 10, 2012 at 9:56 pm

      Lol…seriously you eat 2 feet from your friends boobs…I myself would be really weirded out if someone I was eating with had their face right in my rack, unless it was my baby, just saying. And why is it people always tell women that BF that they have saggy tits , I breast feed and my titts are fantastic and never saggy..;) also why do people seem to always throw around the whole whip out your tits thing, really I have never whipped out my tit to BF, and the only time anyone generally knows I’m BF is if I have covered up ( new baby) or if they ask (older baby) and I’m sure I’m not the only one who does not whip em out , but maybe they are out there, I haven’t met one yet though. For the most part most moms are just trying to feed their child. Yes I’m sure someone somewhere has seen more than they or I wanted them to see but I assure you it was never my intention , attention whore…more like wall flower..I prefer to blend into the background. And someone has to tell me how can you compare nourishing your body or the body of another to bodily waste or sex, yup anytime I have sat down for dinner that’s the first thing that comes to mind, um gross!!!… It’s not that BF is natural its that BF is normal … formula is not, now I don’t want a bunch of crap from the I feel guilty I feed or fed formula group so let the stoning begin, I too fed formula , and I don’t buy into the your making me feel guilty crap, only you can make you feel guilty get over it. The bottom line is that formula is not normal and BF is , and BF is all about feeding on demand you can’t compare it to formula feeding its just not the same.

  18. jennyjen

    February 9, 2012 at 5:28 am

    Um…I had a totally crunchy Mom too, and I was pretty granola too, and YES, breastfeeding AINT no big thing…but just like not doing millions of things in public to or with your body, what is wrong with being a little discreet? That’s just good manners, no? I mean…I don’t clean my teeth or blow my nose at the lunch table either…and those are totally natural, healthy things to do too.

    What about…DUN DUN DUUUUNNNN…the little baby blankie thrown over the whole beautiful spectacle? That way little Satsuma isn’t hungry, Mummie feels like she still gets to do her thang in public, and I don’t have to feel weird stirring the second dairy creamer into my coffee, eyes cast firmly downward. It’s kind of weird talking to a topless lady over a cobb salad!

    Let the stoning commence.

    (And yes I did have a baby, and yes I did breast feed, and yes it was equally satisfying and beautious under a warm little crocheted blankie. Thanks Grandma! My daughter was fed, I got to show off my amazing lactation skills (just like billions of other mothers around the world! Yay, I’m special!), and no one had to endure looking at my giant,blotchy, veiny boob.)

    Oops, lost the point. Facebook. The rules are simple, no vag, penis, or lady nipple. Why is that hard to understand? And who cares?

    • niki

      February 9, 2012 at 12:52 pm

      I love this comment and it sums up my beliefs on the subject perfectly. (and yes I have a baby. No, I didn’t breastfeed because medication I had to take following delivery dried me up and made it impossible to breastfeed despite numerous hours w/lactation consultants desperately trying)

      Anyway, no stone throwing here!

    • Edify

      March 9, 2013 at 6:47 am

      If only it was as easy as throwing a blanket over it every time. From as early as 4 weeks old, mine would push the blanket off no matter how many times I tried to keep it covered in public. Determined little bugger wanted to see what was going on all the time.

      As for rules, all cool if it was evenly applied. I once had a full on porn crotch shot appear in my newsfeed. Vag and anus, completely unexpected. I reported it but they didn’t do anything about it because the group that posted it had it up as part of a happy hour and then deleted. But they do it and advertise that they do it at the same time every week. Facebook weren’t interested in doing anything about it.

      Bottom line, Facebook is only a fan of what it means to be sexualised women.

  19. Julietg

    February 9, 2012 at 7:51 am

    Are the rules for FB in other countries different? It says they are emulating the TV standards and, well, there are boobs on European TV.

  20. goddess

    February 9, 2012 at 8:16 am

    I have no pr0oblem with breast feeding pics, but- that one of the woman hanging in the tree is disturbing on different levels. I ask, “Why is she IN the tree?”, “Who PUT her in the tree?” I think things like, ” This reminds me of a woman that is being subjugated (tied and dangled from a limb) for some reason.” Then I see the Baby suckling and I really wonder, WTF the real message is there. I’m not sure it’s a positive one at all.

    • Liz

      February 9, 2012 at 10:07 am

      I don’t think she’s tied to the tree. She’s doing a yoga pose several feet in front of the tree.

    • Miles

      February 10, 2012 at 4:36 pm

      I thought she was tied to the tree too, but I think those are actually anklets around her ankles, they are not tied to the tree (though I could be wrong).

    • BConthePrairie

      February 10, 2012 at 9:11 pm

      its funny you say that the picture of the nude women in tree and baby dosen’t really come off as positive one, cause that’s the first thing I thought too , the picture I found Profoundly disturbing as well and I am a BF mom..lol…and I too wonder what the real message is……

    • Jay

      May 15, 2012 at 11:29 am

      I said the same thing below. She looks like her SO and she are engaging in a BDSM session and then…ooops…little JR got hungry, had to feed him, and then once that was done, they got back to the sex.

      As I posted below, I love breastfeeding, and I love sex, but together they are GROSS and disturbing.

  21. katiekathleen

    February 9, 2012 at 8:57 am

    What mystifies me about breastfeeding photos is why are moms taking these pictures in the first place? I thought one of the benefits of breastfeeding is that it is a key moment of unique bonding between mother and child. That seems quite private to me. I am not sure I would want random strangers sharing that moment with me and my child. Just like I wouldn’t want a picture of my husband and me having sex. It’s a loving moment that is meant to be shared between those two people only. Maybe mothers should look at breastfeeding in private not as ostracism from society, but as an opportunity to spend little quality moments with their child, just the two of them. It’s something nobody else can do, or understand. Why would you want to share that?

    And isn’t it possible to advocate for breastfeeding without showing a full color photo of it happening? Maybe they could post a lactation diagram or something instead? That would certainly be more educational.

    • Edify

      March 9, 2013 at 6:52 am

      Because for all its benefits, it doesn’t take long before you are bored out of your brain at every feed and when you dedicate hours a day to it at the start you become desperate for some outside entertainment.
      A diagram? Really?

  22. Tits McGee

    February 9, 2012 at 10:11 am

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with taking a photo of you breastfeeding per se. I also don’t even think there’s anything wrong with posting a photo of yourself breastfeeding but I think it ought to be posted on a breastfeeding or new mom website. I think posting it on facebook is gratuitous. Just like photos of your naked baby, not everyone wants to see it. Keep it in a private album at home or post it elsewhere.

    P.S. The last photo reminded me of beef jerky eeew!

    • kate

      February 9, 2012 at 10:48 am

      i agree with you. and LOL at your name! that name is a joke with myself and sister and husband as well

  23. kate

    February 9, 2012 at 10:42 am

    I was actually breastfeeding while i read this last night…and did not have the urge to snap a pic and post it. I did however note than my boobs are a hell of a lot better looking than that last picture…is that wrong?

  24. Holly

    February 9, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    Breastfeeding is natural. But so is pooping, peeing, having sex–and no one wants to see that either.

    • Catherine

      February 9, 2012 at 4:48 pm

      Tired argument. Breastmilk is NOT human waste. It is food. Nursing babies are NOT having sex. They are eating. Like you do. Sometimes in public.

    • Holly

      February 9, 2012 at 6:18 pm

      You know what’s a tired argument? Saying “it’s natural” and forcing other people to look at your tatas in public.

    • Catherine

      February 9, 2012 at 7:51 pm

      Good thing I don’t use that one. Instead, on the rare occasion when an individual decides to be a d-bag about it, I aim to educate her about my legal right to feed my child.
      Also, “forcing other people to look at your tatas in public”…really? We’re talking about breastfeeding, not Bourbon Street.

    • cakez

      February 9, 2012 at 9:57 pm

      @Catherine — Breastfeeding is natural, sure. Breastfeed away. Taking pictures, however, is not inherently natural, nor is sitting at your computer and uploading them to facebook.

      I don’t give a crap if someone whips out their tit in public, but photographing
      it and adding it to public domain is completely different.

    • Catherine

      February 9, 2012 at 11:48 pm

      @cakez – I never used the argument that BF natural (though it is – I just know how quickly that argument turns into people comparing breasts to anuses, so I stay away from it), so I’m not sure why that’s being attributed to me.

      Personally, I don’t care what pictures people put on their facebook pages. If people post things that annoy me, I delete them, or hide their posts, or whatever. Maybe I’ll make fun of them a little. None of the people on my friends list are forcing me to be friends with them.

  25. anymouse

    February 9, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    My personal feelings are that breastfeeding…kinda grosses me out. I don’t want to see it for that reason – it makes me uncomfortable.

    However, I recognize that this is MY problem. My issues are just that, mine. I don’t care if someone wants to post a picture of it on their FB page. I don’t really understand why they would want to, but I don’t understand why people want to post a lot of the crap that they do. If I don’t like what someone posts, I can always just scroll on past or hide the offender from my feed. I have already had to do this with several acquaintences who tend to be the oversharing types. It’s just not a big enought deal to me one way or the other.

    • cakez

      February 9, 2012 at 9:47 pm

      Well, you sound very reasonable, and I wish I were as reasonable as you, HOWEVER…

      I don’t really care if someone whips out a tit to breastfeed in public — whatever, babies have to eat too. I might not care if someone posted a tasteful picture of breastfeeding on their facebook, although I find it completely pointless to do so. That last picture, though, or any other picture that more prominently feature the exposed breast? NO. Sorry. Your friends list probably does NOT want to see your exposed breast. If you want to flaunt your exposed breast, create a tumblr and flaunt away, but do not slap that shit in between the mild updates I expect to see in my feed.

      I don’t know. I am feeling inarticulate right now, and strangely ‘prudish,’ I guess, but I don’t check into facebook to see my colleague/cousin/friend from high school’s tit (plus nipple!) flapping around in my feed. ‘Natural’ though it may be, so are bowel movements, and most people have the good sense to keep those off facebook (unless it is their darling crotchfruit, in which case all bets appear to be off.) Just because it happens naturally, doesn’t mean that taking a picture of it and sharing it is required!

      I just don’t care how ‘natural’ breastfeeding (and nudity in general!) is in life — please don’t foist it on me on facebook. Breastfeeding in a restaurant/public place is a necessity. Taking a picture and advertising it is a choice. One in poor taste, thank you very much.

  26. fatlady

    February 9, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Come on, Paala, posting bf photos on Facebook is really that important?

    • Paala

      June 9, 2012 at 5:12 pm

      Facebook is a social support system for many, many mothers, so yes, it is very important. It is like the town center, if you will, and being shunned or cast out from the town center for breastfeeding is uncalled for, infuriating, and embarrassing. People share everything on Facebook, everything about their lives. Women who breastfeed have a child on their breasts countless times a day and it is a big part of our lives. Sharing that part of our life is important.

    • Horrid Baby Names

      August 6, 2012 at 1:59 pm

      Oh get over yourself.

    • Fluffy_1

      September 3, 2012 at 8:56 am

      So feel free to buy your own domain, call it Boobsbook, and fill it with breastfeeding photos. Facebook is not your domain, you are a guest there and you have to abide by their rules. Don’t like it? Then leave and start your own site.

  27. Taz

    February 9, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    i am a breastfeeding mom and i would NEVER post photos of myself breastfeeding my daughter, or giving birth to my daughter…i didn’t do cheesy posed pregnancy pix or a cast of my belly either. pregnancy stuff is kinda gross to me in general…and the stuff that is sort of beautiful is usually a really personal moment. but i am a private person…maybe the last one left?
    anyways if i’m going to take photos of my breasts i’m not going to let them be upstaged by a baby!

    • sadi

      February 14, 2012 at 3:22 pm

      “..i’m not going to let them be upstaged by a baby!”

      Great comment!

  28. Tiffanie

    February 9, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    Facebook is privatly owned, and if they want to ban blue shirts in a picture then they have every right to do so.

  29. Alexis

    February 10, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    This is what breastfeeding pics say to me: LOOOOOOOOOK AT MEEEEEE!!! I’m so incredible because my body is doing something that billions of other women’s bodies have done all throughout the history of time! MY MILK IS AMAAAAAAAAAAZING!!! I’M A MAGICAL BEING WHO’S TITS ARE THE SOLE REASON MY BABY IS ALIVE!!!!

  30. BConthePrairie

    February 11, 2012 at 12:25 am

    ok as a BF mom I personally don’t want to see pictures on FB or anywhere else of somebody nearly naked BF(or just nearly naked or naked ) and yes they are out there and I myself could never imagine posting any BF pictures like that, however there are some tasteful BF pictures where you can’t really see anything and though I still would not post something like that, I personally don’t care whether they do or not . However as others have stated I feel that BF can be a very intimate moment between you and baby, unless you’re out and about , and just trying to get them fed and on your way. And yes I understand maybe wanting some photos to look back on but maybe those should be in an album. I don’t think it’s the fact that the pictures were taken down in most cases, it’s the fact that many of these women are being told that there pictures are of a pornographic nature. Of course to them these photo’s are beautiful , however to most of us it’s just way to much information, as a BF mom I can look the other way because like any normal BF mom once I started BF I too no longer look at my breast as sexual only or at all in my case (sad I know..lol..) And yes when I BF I’m always as discreet as possible, and no I am no BRA burning fist shaking lib, yet I do understand where many of these women are coming from. Realistically BF is not special as all but 1% of the pop should be able to BF however this is not the case and BF is not thought of as the norm in many of today’s society’s, I say society’s because yes in some places BF is very normal and breasts are not thought of as sexual in any way, but that’s another story. These women are angry because there are many pictures that are far more inappropriate then them BF, after all I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who got the post –what’s wrong with this picture- where a man’s penis is hanging out of his trousers while dancing, after all, didn’t you laugh , I did. I don’t think I’m wrong in saying that FB needs to have one standard, whether these photo’s have been flagged by friends or not, facebook ultimately has the final say, so if they had one standard for all flagged media, then yes some BF pictures would be permanently taken down however some would be considered fine and left up, sadly though not everyone would happy but at least it would be one standard for all. Oh and to those who continually state that BF moms think they are special because they BF, I don’t think I’m special or better than anyone else because I BF,I think I’m normal, it’s you and those like you who seem to think I’m special because I or others BF. But that’s just the problem isn’t it; many don’t see BF as normal and therein lays the problem.

  31. mewo

    February 11, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    ATTENTION WHORES!

    • sadi

      February 14, 2012 at 3:21 pm

      I agree. Ladies breast feed discreetly, attention whores have to whip them out and take photos.

  32. Just Sayin

    March 9, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    It is natural, just like using the bathroom..

    • Lisap

      May 2, 2012 at 4:35 pm

      That is exactly what I was thinking!

      I agree breast feeding is natural, but so are bowl movements, and we all chose to do those in private, even when in a public place.

      That being said, I don’t have an issue with breast feeding pics on FB. At least, not anymore of an issue than with parents who post photos of their kids’ diapers, first experiences with potty training, birth photos, etc.

  33. Jay

    May 15, 2012 at 11:26 am

    I’m sorry but the picture at the top is sick for the same reason the Time magazine cover was (actually more so), it is sexualizing breastfeeding instead of making it an intimate experience.

    The girl looks like in the middle of some type of BDSM session with her significant other, the baby got hungry and had to nurse. Then her SO took a picture of it and THEN shared it publicly.

    UGH.

    I just want to get that image out of my head now.

    BTW, I breastfed my child and I love sex, just don’t think it’s right to put the two together. GROSS.

    • Chinchilla

      May 16, 2012 at 8:30 pm

      Wait, how does it look like BDSM to you?

      Are you mistakening a hemp anklet for restraints? Not trying to invalidate your point but those are definitely anklets…

  34. Ashleigh

    June 3, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    I’m a mother who breastfeeds and I see nothing wrong with a mother who is breastfeeding in public (for the most part, i mean I wouldn’t personally do it without covering up but when your kid needs to eat they need to eat I guess) but what I don’t understand is why people feel the NEED to put breastfeeding photos on facebook.

    I really honestly don’t get it, I can’t think of one circumstance in which I would feel the need to post myself nursing on facebook for any reason whatsoever. I think that’s overshare and I don’t really want to see anyone’s breastfeeding photos plastered all over my facebook wall. Also as a side note don’t even get me started on placenta pics WTF?

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  36. val97

    October 28, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    Way back before social media, I nursed my babies. In public! In order to feed them and also to keep them from crying. People may have said they were offended if asked, but I bet most people never even noticed what I was doing because I was covered. It’s called being discrete, people. Even the most uptight and disapproving prudes/trolls making dumb analogies between peeing and breastfeeding won’t notice if you are not making a spectacle of yourself. Why pick battles when all you really need to do is feed your kid?

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