I hate to admit it but I first read about Facebook bannning breastfeeding on Paul Walsh’s blog and considering he has never breastfed in his life to my knowledge and he doesn’t reveal whether he has supported the breastfeeding of his own children, he is certainly as he calls himself the Irish Opportunist. Talk about jumping on the bandwagon. This is apparently a common tactic among bloggers of which innocent little me was unaware. Blogging about trending topics will pull traffic towards your site. You can find out about trending topics on the likes of Twitscoop for example.
Anyhoo, as anyone who has been reading this blog since day one will know, I breastfed both of my children for the WHO recommended period of six months. However I wasn’t trying to live up to any international standard: I went back to work after six months. I did try to continue with Nipper 1.0 after going back to work but it was just too weird and hard with the stress and the cycling and being away from him so I stopped. Unfortunately it took the ol’ milk machines a while to catch up but I learnt my lesson well.
I am lucky in that most of the women in my family breastfed and I can actually remember one of my aunts breastfeeding. According to a study published in the IMJ women’s previous experience of breastfeeding, their education level and their early decision to breastfeed are significant indicators in the length of time women would breastfeed so I consider myself lucky. It also had a generally positive experience although I did experience some problems especially with Nipper 2.0. I partly blame myself because I had a lot going on at the time as well with the house being renovated. A great help for me in continuing was the Breastfeeding Support Group in Rathgar run by the Public Health Nurses in the area.
However not all women are as lucky to be able to fulfill their biological destiny and use their bodies to their full potential. Similarly not all of us are Olympic athletes or can even jog around the block. All of us have different physical and mental thresholds and this goes for breastfeeding as it does for all activities that require not just physical perseverance and mental perseverance too. Top athletes always thank their support team when they win a prize and similarly a modern woman choosing to breastfeed needs the support of family and friends to do this. Top athletes will also talk about how their mental well-being was an essential part of their winning formula. Similarly I think feeling good about oneself and being confident about you body is essential to being able to continue breastfeeding.
Sadly I am in a minority and by the time I had reached even month two of breastfeeding the minority was getting even smaller:
Currently approximately 47% of mothers in Ireland are breastfeeding at discharge from maternity care (NPRS, 2008). Breastfeeding duration rate figures are not currently collected at national level, however, research studies indicate the fall-off in breastfeeding following discharge is worryingly high with less than 10% of infants still breastfeeding at 6 months of age.
What has all of this got to do with Facebook’s ban on pictures of breastfeeding women? As far as I’m concerned the central issue is not Facebook banning pictures of breastfeeding women: Facebook is not a democracy, they can ban pics of whatever they damn well please. What is at issue is the fact that somewhere once upon a time breasts, boobs, tits, hooters, jugs, jabs, knockers, puppies, bazoobas, (and Himself just added kajungas…) and whatever you’re calling them yourself stopped belonging to the women they were attached to and became the property of the people looking at them. The problem is not that breasts are sexual objects as well as the point of delivery for food, nurturing and comforting for babies. The problem is that they are rarely positively represented in the latter role and far too often represented in the former role but in a hyper, unreal, impossible manner to which it is difficult for many women to even dream of comparing themselves. If you feel your boobs don’t measure up to the Baywatch boobs it’s very hard to get ’em out in public. If you think that people only see them as sexual it’s discomfiting to get ’em out in public.
The irony of the whole Facebook campaign is the fact that once you upload pictures to Facebook, according to their terms and conditions, Facebook then owns those pictures. As one guy I was talking to about this last week said, “Expect the world’s largest stock photo site to be launched by Facebook in a few years…” Well, it looks like all those campaigns to encourage breastfeeding (which campaigns? Exactly!) will have to use real stock photo sites for their tasteful imagery of breastfeeding women.
To finish up here’s two points from someone who’s been there done that (breastfed, not appeared on Baywatch or sold my boobs to Facebook.)
- The best thing about breastfeeding is that it gives you total freedom. As a former colleague of mine said once, “All you’ll need is a nappy in your back pocket and off you can go!”. This is so true. I also really think that once you get the hang of it you will sleep better too because you can do it in your sleep. All you have to do is wake up to latch the baby on and even then it’s not as disturbing as some of the carry on you get from then when they are older. I actually found it quite relaxing when I got the hang of it with Nipper 2.0. I was too nervous to have Nipper 1.0 in the bed with me but I generally dozed through all the feeds anyway. You can also go on holidays without having to worry about bringing or finding suitable formula. You can feed the baby indoor and out, on the beach, in the car (not while driving though!), anywhere that you can sit down with a glass of water and relax.
- The beauty of breastfeeding is that with all the modern nursing bras you can be very discreet when feeding. You’ll need to wear loose clothing or bring a large scarf. When you get really good at it (and you will!) a Happy Baby Sling is a great help if you want to feed on the move (although it seems that they are no longer making them). I fed Nipper 2.0 while browsing for door handles in B&Q. Y’see I wasn’t messing when I said I overdid it!
If you’re expecting a baby and considering breastfeeding I say go for it. You’ll have to have a supportive family and your partner should be willing to take on ALL other responsibilities certainly for the first two weeks and even up to six while both of you get the hang of it. It will stand to the whole family in the long run.
8 Replies to “Facebook owns your boobs”
Great post Roseanne. My mother breastfed most of us (I think one out of the seven missed out) but I am unsure for how long. My wife also breastfed our child for the first six months.
Nearly all in my circle of friends who had babies also breastfed, and let me tell you it's quite weird when you've been friends with someone for years and then they're whipping em out without a care in the world. Some of them are so adept at it you wouldn't even know they were doing it (sounds like your B&Q story).
I do find it sad when someone says they have a problem with breastfeeding in public. Those people must have very shallow lives to have such issues.
Anyway great post.
Thanks for your comments John. You are right it can be a bit surprising to see your friends whippin’ em out at first and I can tell you it feels a bit odd at first, not so much with my friends to be honest but more with my in-laws partly because I wasn’t sure how much exposure (scuse the pun) they had to breastfeeding women before Nipper 1.0’s arrival on the scene.
As to people who don’t think women should breastfeed in public I bet you they have often sat in the vicinity of a breastfeeding woman and been totally unaware of it. Most women do it very discreetly. Those kind of people are going to have issues with a whole range of things and they’re probably the same people who give out about single parents and deadbeat dads so you’ll never win with them.
Facebook has no right to your photos or content once you have removed them from the site. You acknowledge they may have an archive, but the ‘licence’ previously granted by your posting them expires when you remove the pics.
They do not own your boobs 🙂
Thanks for your comment. Would you mind clarifying what you mean by “You acknowledge they may have an archive” please? maybe you’re quoting it from somewhere? It’s a little vague for me…
Anyway Facebook certainly doesn’t own my boobs. I wouldn’t be one of the ladies insisting on allowing pics of breastfeeding on Facebook.
I was paraphrasing from Facebook’s Terms (link at bottom of their page)
User Content Posted on the Site
When you post User Content to the Site, you authorise and direct us to make such copies thereof as we deem necessary in order to facilitate the posting and storage of the User Content on the Site. By posting User Content to any part of the Site, you automatically grant, and you represent and warrant that you have the right to grant, to the Company an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide licence (with the right to sublicence) to use, copy, publicly perform, publicly display, reformat, translate, excerpt (in whole or in part) and distribute such User Content for any purpose, commercial, advertising, or otherwise, on or in connection with the Site or the promotion thereof, to prepare derivative works of, or incorporate into other works, such User Content, and to grant and authorise sublicences of the foregoing. You may remove your User Content from the Site at any time. If you choose to remove your User Content, the licence granted above will automatically expire, however you acknowledge that the Company may retain archived copies of your User Content. Facebook does not assert any ownership over your User Content; rather, as between us and you, subject to the rights granted to us in these Terms, you retain full ownership of all of your User Content and any intellectual property rights or other proprietary rights associated with your User Content.
Thanks for clearing that up. It’s a pity you weren’t clearer about who you are… 🙂
Thanks for the information. It makes us think twice if we want to upload our breastfeeding picture.
I think by this time their terms of service may have changed but you’ll need to check it out on their site yourself. Good luck with your project!