FACEBOOK. HOW ABOUT BREASTBOOK?
It’s one of the great dichotomies of motherhood.
After years of being told to “Get ya tits out!” suddenly, when they become useful, we’re told to “Put ‘em away!”
Yesterday, protesters gathered at Facebook offices around the world, angry about the removal of breastfeeding photos. Lucy Allen, 21 years old from Sydney, was locked out of her account for two days for posting this picture.
This is not pornography.
Lucy Allen is doing what grandmothers, mothers, sisters and girlfriends did for generations – helping others through those first fraught months.
The statistics are enough to make your milk curdle. From a 92 percent start rate, only 14 percent of Australian babies are exclusively breastfed for the six months as recommended by the World Health Organisation.
It’s appalling but unsurprising.
Most women are kicked out of public hospitals before their milk has even come in. Without traditional support networks, they’re left on their own to cope with cracked nipples, reduced milk flow and mastitis.
My sister almost bled to death during the delivery of her first child. She was discharged from hospital barely 36 hours later. What followed were months of pain, shame, and deep depression.
When my son was born prematurely, I enlisted the help of a breastfeeding nurse. I was able to keep Taj on the breast for eight months. Then Grace came along and it all fell apart.
I lost my job. My milk dried up. And I got mastitis five times.
One day, after spending a week in the house in my tracksuit, I shuffled down to the local coffee shop with the baby and toddler in tow.
I flopped in a chair, popped out a boob, and began feeding. A guy looked over, recoiled, and said, “Put it away, luv”.
I could have killed him. Instead, I burst into tears.
It’s no wonder we hide at home suffering in silence. Or quit our jobs.
While the public sector is female friendly, only a handful of private companies have breastfeeding rooms. Some women sneak off to the toilet to express their milk.
Others cop comments from colleagues like, “Why does she get time off work to feed her baby?”
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