When Brelfies are Debatable

When people who are in the public eye make uneducated, ignorant comments about breastfeeding, it kind of annoys the hell out of me.  When I read this article about a televised debate over brelfies (a selfie of yourself breastfeeding) today, for a moment I could literally feel my blood pressure go up.  Let me explain why…

Now this is a happy baby that just got a roadside snack...
Now this is a happy baby that just got a roadside snack…

If we’re allowing brelfies to be debatable, we have to remind everyone that we have bigger fish to fry. Because when brelfies are debatable, we’re turning the conversation towards the image of breastfeeding, and making that imagine a negative one instead of a positive one.  When images of breastfeeding are debatable, we aren’t talking about why more women are not breastfeeding, or why women aren’t breastfeeding long enough. We’re not talking about the huge disparity in breastfeeding rates.

NBC’s “Today” hosts Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford recently said on television:

 Gifford said, “There are two types of people, Hoda — those who feel the need to share their most precious moments and those who’d like to keep it private like I prefer.” Kotb responded, “I say breastfeeding is beautiful and natural, but sharing it on social media: TMI.”

Maybe they don’t understand that we, as women, have an obligation to support other women—especially when it comes to something as vital as breastfeeding.

Maybe they don’t understand that the negative comments they perpetuate in the media contribute to the negative connotations associated with breastfeeding.

Maybe they don’t understand that if we don’t normalize breastfeeding, women may believe that there is something dirty, shameful, pointless, irrelevant, or “TMI” about breastfeeding. Maybe they don’t understand that SOME women are able to detect the subtle cracks they’re inadvertently making in efforts to normalize and promote breastfeeding, but maybe they don’t understand that OTHER women may be influenced by their ignorant remarks. Maybe they don’t understand that not breastfeeding can have lifelong maternal and newborn impacts.

What I really wish is that people who are blessed to be in positions that add weight to their words choose their words more wisely. Support women. Support babies. And be mindful of the impact your words may have on other people. Think about how the words you speak may influence someone.  Do you want what you say to have a positive impact, or a negative one?  I know which one I want to be… 😃

p.s.   Me, breastfeeding my preemie.  One of my favorite pictures ever 😃

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Until my next delivery ❤

Black Breastfeeding Moms


13 thoughts on “When Brelfies are Debatable

  • Pingback: When Brelfies are Debatable | Mischele Lewis

  • May 27, 2015 at 1:51 pm
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    I cannot believe Americans still have their panties in a bunch about breastfeeding. It’s tragic. A Malian friend of mine (I live in W. Africa) laughed when I exclaimed how hilarious I always find it to watch Malian kiddos man-handle their food source like it’s a bottle. I mean, they dig it out of Mom’s shirt, squeeze it to get the last drop, pick it up, knead it, drop it, bang their face into it, and basically OWN that thing. My kids were great breastfeeders–one til 18 months, when she quit on her own, and the other til 2 years and 3 months, when he gradually began forgetting to ask for it. But they never took it in their hands or grabbed it out of my shirt like they were taking their sippy cup off a shelf! She said, “Yes, it’s because women in America hide their breasts and don’t touch them, so their babies learn from early on that it’s not something they can touch either, or that it’s only for a certain time, and then it’s hidden again.” She’s right. I’m not advocating doing our laundry down at the river shirtless or designing hot weather clothes that have arm holes the size of Connecticut so that air can get in (though I see great value in those, living in 125 degree heat!), but even for me–a breastfeeding advocate to the core–my breasts just weren’t part of everyday life for the kids. They were for one purpose only, and my teeny kids picked up on that social cue. How much more does the entire country’s (U.S.) fanatical repulsion of breasts (and yet at the same time, obsession with them as sex objects) train women and their infants to feel at least a little shame over the whole breastfeeding situation? I sure didn’t–but I’m blessed with stubborn independence and having traveled all over and long lost my cultural inhibition about some things. Give women and their babies a breastfeeding chance! And yes, those whose words are public–WATCH WHAT YOU SAY, you jerks! That’s a baby’s health and future you’re shunning. Is your own social comfort truly more important than that? Get over it! Man, I love living here in W. Africa. USE that boob! Wow, that’s enough from me!

    Reply
  • May 27, 2015 at 2:23 pm
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    #PREACH — The only way women are going to reclaim our politicized bodies for ourselves is to offer public, visible resistance to such policing and body shaming! I love the brelfie phenomenon. And by the way you look lovely in your picture!

    Reply
  • May 27, 2015 at 5:37 pm
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    This. Although I have not had the chance to breastfeed yet (soon!!) I am SOO supportive of breast feeding. My blood starts to boil when people make stupid – uneducated – inexperienced comments. The fact that people are deeming “brelfies” debatable astounds me. Sure it’s ok to post half naked, pointless pictures of yourself, but someone chooses to feed their baby with a boob (covered or uncovered) and the general population gets offended…. GASP! Our priorities are messed up and somehow breastfeeding got the short end of the stick. It’s sad. As a soon to be new/breastfeeding mom, I hate that I have to fight this topic already.

    Love the pic!

    Reply
  • May 27, 2015 at 6:39 pm
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    Public media does so much to desensitize us to things, whether they’re scary, gruesome or immoral. Breastfeeding moms can do the same. When it is so common place you can’t walk down the sidewalk without seeing someone suckle their baby it will cease to be an issue.
    While I was on medical mission trip in Guatamala, a woman came to the store counter to wait on me while nursing her baby. It’s a common occurrence in their culture and nobody even notices. That should be our goal here in the US.

    Reply
  • May 28, 2015 at 12:04 pm
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    As a new (orienting) postpartum nurse and breastfeeding mom to my preschooler son, this makes me crazy! Breastfeeding shouldn’t be a debate! It should be about supporting mom and baby to get the best help they both can get!

    Reply
  • February 23, 2016 at 1:22 am
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    All selfies are crass and should be banned from the internet. Social media has created an entire generation of self absorbed narcissists that have nothing better to do with their lives than to the take pictures of themselves, boobs or no boobs. The disgust shouldn’t just be felt with the breast feeding pics, it should fall on the “What kind of unaddressed issues does this person have that they feel compelled to post pictures of themselves up on the internet?” as well.

    Reply

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