Anyone who has a problem with public breastfeeding may want to sequester themselves for the next few days. From Aug. 1 to Aug. 7, moms who DGAF about the world's breastfeeding hangups will be celebrating World Breastfeeding Week, a global initiative aimed at supporting women "to combine breastfeeding and work."
photo from @demibrooke
Why this week matters: It's widely known that breastfeeding is enormously beneficial to the health of a newborn child. In fact, the World Health Organization recommends doing it exclusively for the first six months of a baby's life.
There's still an enormous stigma attached to breastfeeding, particularly for mothers who find themselves needing to breastfeed in public spaces. In 2013, for example, a woman was asked to "cover up" by American Airlines staff after she was spotted breastfeeding her child during the flight. In 2012, a Georgia mother breastfeeding her son at Applebee's was asked to relocate to the private restroom. When she refused, the manager called the police.
Most recently, Donald Trump made headlines for coming out against breastfeeding when it was reported that he once called a lawyer "disgusting" for requiring a medical break during a deposition so she could pump breast milk for her daughter.
Stories like these are unfortunately common: Women aren't just stigmatized for breastfeeding in real life: They've also been censored and banned from social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. Although in the past, Facebook removed women's "brelfies" (breastfeeding selfies) on the grounds that they violated the website's anti-nudity policy, the site lifted its brelfie ban in 2014.
For this reason, it's fitting that World Breastfeeding Week is currently trending on Instagram and Facebook. By raising awareness of the importance of breastfeeding, hopefully women will feel more comfortable doing so in public, despite criticism from naysayers.
To learn more, take a look here: http://worldbreastfeedingweek.org/
photo from @kerryseventytree