Happy World Breastfeeding Week. #WorldBreastfeedingWeek
Not a week to slag off those who don’t, didn’t, don’t want to, can’t, who hated it or found it difficult or impossible to do. Despite all the support, I still felt nervous showing an area of my body that I normally cover up.
For me, this is a week about remembering how important it is to support women to do this, because it can be very hard, physically, and in this country, psycologically. It is also about remembering that for many many women around the world this is the only option. And the safest option by far. For those in natural disasters, conflict zones, refugee camps. Anywhere where clean water is scarce and a stable home area with local shops is highly unlikely. So for this week, I though I’d write a bit about a video I posted on breastfeeding last year. It is called Embarrassed and has had over a million views now.
I’ve had a massive, massive amount of shares and likes and positive messages, so thank you. And I’ve also had a lot – lot – of hateful messages (not seeking sympathy, I’ve been called an ugly ginger slag enough on youtube to be immune by now!).
So for this week, I thought I’d share some of the most surprising comments and messages I’ve had since posting the video.
Ps. I realise this sort of hate also goes on with friends who bottle feed, and just about everything else to do with parenthood – working, not working etc… but that’s not what I’ve been messaged about.
So, here’s to a few of this years messages:
(from woman in Texas, US) “In my town everyone believes that breastfeeding a daughter will turn her gay. So I have to do it in secret. Complete and utter secret.”
(from another woman in Texas) “I breastfeed in secret. If you breastfeed a girl, people here think she’ll become gay and a boy will become sex-crazed”
(from woman in UK) “Maybe the next time she sits in a cafe feeding her daughter, I should give my husband a blow job on the next table then?”
(from man in US) “Just because you’re a woman you think you have an excuse. If I did that, I’d be called a paedophile”
(from young man in UK) “This is all fine, but have you never heard of a fucking pump? Before you leave your house, just pump some milk to take with you, it’s not that fucking hard. But no, you just wanna get your tits out” (He’s not a dad btw. Not sure he’s human either)
(from woman in UK) “I can’t wee on the streets, so why should you do this. Disgusting. It’s all bodily fluid” (Think she’s forgetting about crying and sweating, which is also bodily fluid and never gets used in these comparisons of ‘fluids coming out the body”)
(from man in US) “Why so butthurt over formula?”
(from http://crisis.med.uoa.gr/elibrary/14.pdf sent to me by US woman – about conflict zones and why breastfeeding is a life and death matter in these situations) “Most children do not die due to conflicts or natural disasters themselves, but rather due to resulting food shortages, lack of safe water, inadequate health care, and poor sanitation and hygiene. The vast majority of children succumb to measles, diarrhoea, respiratory infections and severe malnutrition.
My one wish is that we stop turning breastfeeding into a those who do, those who don’t slagging match (which I think the media pushes more than people themselves) or a ‘woman’s issue (because men are a huge support and were also fed as kids) and see it as the massive and really political and economic issue that it is.
Breastfeeding can be hard.
Breastfeeding can be impossible.
Breastfeeding can be beautiful.
Breastfeeding can be easy
Breastfeeding can save lives.
Breastfeeding is not the same as giving your husband a blow job or going for a poo.
For interest, although a huge amount of the positive comments and shares have come from the UK, US and Canada – where the video was posted on media outlets – all of the negative comments have also come from people in the US, UK and Canada. There have been comments from many people all over the world saying things like ‘That sounds crap, it’s fine here’ from Sweden, Denmark, Ghana, Nigeria…