08 August 2011

Why SEEING breastfeeding is important: My personal challenge to you

*** NOTE: ***
This entire post was written and composed by Emma Kwasnica.  Unfortunately, this amazing, talented chica isn't blogging *yet,* so I'm posting it here to help get it out there... It was originally posted as a note on Faceboob that you can see here: http://www.facebook.com/notes/emma-kwasnica/why-seeing-breastfeeding-is-important-my-personal-challenge-to-you/436431689914

* If you wish to re-post this, please do! (But please remember to credit Emma!!)
* If you wish to TWEET THIS, FB SHARE THIS, please, please do!!!
And I sincerely hope you enjoy what this passionate woman has to say. :)

Why SEEING breastfeeding is important: My personal challenge to you

I'd just like to talk a bit about the bigger picture here for a moment, in that by Facebook taking this stance against breastfeeding images, and by creating such arbitrary obscenity guidelines as "no exposed areola or nipple may be shown" (I have seen many, many women whose areola covers up to a third or more of their entire breast - a baby's mouth could never come close to "covering" it all!), it is stigmatizing breastfeeding women, and shaming women into thinking that their breasts are much, much less than the amazing life-giving source they are. Nipplephobia has reached epic proportions here in North America, and this is to the supreme detriment of babies everywhere.

Just think for one moment, how many more women would breastfeed, or for how much longer, if only we rid society of the harmful practice of over-sexualizing women's breasts! And how much this, in turn, could benefit the BABIES. For whose voice do the most vulnerable members of society have, if not ours? Interestingly, we find cultures around the world where women's breasts are seen *only* in their functioning capacity, i.e., that of nourishing and comforting their young. I believe that we can get there, too (or at least try to find some balance), but we have to start somewhere, and I truly feel that there is never any harm to come from challenging the status quo (you're not surprised, I know ;-) ).

I've said this before, and I'll say it again: as a childbirth professional, but also as a woman, in general, it is absolutely crucial that one support ALL women to breastfeed their young. While you, personally, may have your own code of "decency" for how much skin YOU are comfortable showing while breastfeeding, it is important that you do not impose your own, completely arbitrary line drawn in the sand regarding "modesty" or "discreetness", onto any other breastfeeding mother. Period. Just like a woman who wants to cover up should be supported (and generally IS in our society....), we need to support those women who struggle --or those women who do not want, or care-- to cover their baby and their breast, and make life simpler for these women to, first and foremost, feed and comfort the baby!

Quite simply, this is about normalizing breastfeeding. The more we hide it away, classify it as obscene, shame mothers into covering up while feeding, and encourage women to retire to "private" rooms in order to breastfeed the baby, the less we see of it in public, and the less and less people are comfortable with the very idea of nursing in public. This is the sad reality of this pathologically hyper-sexualized (yet sexually repressed...) North American culture of ours. The solution, however, seems quite simple to me; breastfeeding (and/or images of breastfeeding) need to be seen every day, and I am convinced that SEEING more breastfeeding, wherever possible, is what will change our breastfeeding culture. Re-normalize it. Everywhere in North America (in all provinces in Canada, and in every state in the USA but two) women have the right to breastfeed in public, wherever they have the legal right to be. So women should do it. And they should feel completely free to do it. Lots of it. As much as possible.

If you want to be a part of the solution, here is one, simple thing you can do, each and every time you see a mother breastfeeding her baby in public : yes, give her a great, big smile, but don't stop there --go right *up* to her, and tell her what a wonderful thing she is doing for her child. I guarantee you, that if we all did even this simple gesture every time we saw a woman nursing in public, the tides would begin to turn.

I would also like to suggest in your daily life (outside the 'net), that you get out there and nurse your children in public. And do so with a huge smile across your face. Pretty hard for onlookers to say, feel, or do something negative in the face of a beaming, breastfeeding mother --n'est-ce pas?

Breastfeeding is normal. Normal. NORMAL. Say it, do it, show it.

Will you start by doing these simple acts right today? Indeed, I challenge you.

Warm regards,
~Emma Kwasnica

Emma Kwasnica & her family at the 2008 Montréal Breastfeeding Challenge. This photo and article were published in Le Journal de Montréal, a major daily francophone newspaper. If a North American city of 2.5 million can handle this in their daily paper, why can't Facebook? (oh, and before you pass inane judgment, and tell me these kids are "too old to nurse", please read this and get educated/get your head out of the gutter :http://www.kathydettwyler.org/detwean.html)

2010 Breastfeeding Challenge - notice the 11-month-old Would. Not. Latch. Not for the world. TOO DISTRACTED.

Mama love ~ nursing Sophie is such a joy

March, 2006 -- HOORAY FOR TODDLER NURSING (. Y .) (. Y .) (. Y .) Bitter sweet. My girlfriends and I and our three nurslings, just prior to our sudden and UNEXPECTED departure from Toulouse back to Canada (due to a stoopid competition clause kerfuffle with Seb's work at IBM). Christel, Christelle, and I found one another through our local LLL group. Our babies are around the same age and grew up around one another from 12mo through to 2.5yo (when we left Toulouse). There is nothing like finding yourself a like-minded "tribe" of mama friends who totally "get" one another. I will forever cherish being in the company of these two women and their babies, as I muddled my *own* way through, slowly but surely developing into the fierce mother I am today. Love you, girls ! xx

Montréal Breastfeeding Challenge 2009 "in the park". Torrential downpour for the event, but that didn't stop us "hardcore breastfeeders" from going ahead with our plans. I am 42 weeks pregnant with Chloë *to the day* in this photo; Sophie (2.5 y/o) nursing on cue for the official latch-on at 11am. Labour had, indeed, begun just a few hours prior to this moment, but I literally psyched myself out, and contractions petered right out at around 3am, because there was no way I could miss the Breastfeeding Challenge in front of my own house in the morning ! (Photo courtesy of Rowan Smith) http://www.montrealgazette.com/health/Breastfeeding%20event%20zapped%20H1N1%20fears/2056459/story.html

This photo was deleted by the "powers that be" of Facebook on Friday, July 16th. I've just re-uploaded it now. I do wonder if it is precisely BECAUSE my breasts are not being used to titillate men in this photo that it was found to be so offensive, offensive enough to be deleted. I mean, here is this nice-looking woman, hair done, wearing a somewhat dressy, funky, black top... looks like she could be heading out for a night on the town, right ? And instead of seeing her breasts all smooshed up into a push-up bra and a large line of cleavage displayed for all the hot-blooded men to ogle, we see a baby suckling at her breast. Could utter RAGE be the response on the part of (some) men looking at this photo ? On the part of the button-pushers behind their screens at Facebook, those who are deleting the photos, those who are responsible for insuring Facebook remains pure from all this sort of "filth" ? As ludicrous as this might seem, could they be feeling denied by the space occupied by this tiny infant EATING at my breast ? Disgusted by it ? I am devastated that our culture has done this to us, given us this mental disorder. But it has a name (Nipplephobia), and there is hope out there for people with it (therapy). Nipplephobia *can* be overcome; a large part of the therapy includes seeing more and more women breastfeeding their children, seeing more and more breasts EVERYWHERE, being bombarded by the image of breasts being used in their biological context --that of nourishing a child. I highly recommend you try it. It's also why I post the dozens and dozens of breastfeeding photos that I do, here on Facebook. Look at them. Over and over again. Please. It will do a world of good... 
********************************** Facebook warning Hello, You uploaded a photo that violates our Terms of Use, and this photo has been removed. Facebook does not allow photos that attack an individual or group, or that contain nudity, drug use, violence, or other violations of the Terms of Use. These policies are designed to ensure Facebook remains a safe, secure and trusted environment for all users, including the many children who use the site. If you have any questions or concerns, you can visit our FAQ page at http://www.facebook.com/help/?topic=wphotos. The Facebook Team

October 2010 -- The crazy-eyed lactivist strikes again. (I just put this sign up on my fridge, at home)

Nursing Sophie ~ 3 years, 11 months old

04 August 2011

Adopt a gluten free blogger - Gluten Free Gobsmacked

And the GF adventures continue... 

Through my mad surfing, and my insatiable thirst for all info gluten free, I of course stumbled upon a NUMBER of blogs.  The first?  Kate Chan's blog over at Gluten Free Gobsmacked.  I love her style of writing, her passion for ingredients, that she's a mama like me, and the fact that she is a seasoned GF chica.  She was diagnosed with celiac THREE WEEKS before her wedding (poor chick!) and she and "her love" have been experimenting and living gluten free ever since.  Her DH is of Asian descent, so in that aspect, she kinda has it easy - so so many GF flours are regular, normal, everyday flours in the Asian menu.  At least *HE* knew what he was looking for! ;)  That said, I spend a LOT of time in the Asian section in our local Save-On Foods and Great Canadian Superstore... 

Anyway, back to Kate.  She's very adventurous with her baking, and she's part of this wicked awesome thing called Ratio Rally - wherein a group of GF bakers are committed to using weight ratios for their baking rather than standard cup measures... and lo and behold, some amazing creations are coming out of it!  They just did the most recent of Ratio Rallies, Cakes, on the 3rd... Can't wait to dig in to that one!  Oh, and another reason why I love her writing?  She has a sweet tooth like me!  Oh be still my heart!  One of her recipes that I'm *DYING* to try is for .... wait for it.... OREOS!  If you know me, then you know that I loooooooove Oreos.  If you don't, well, just get this - I have been known to polish off a whole bag of Double Stufs ON. MY. OWN.  Anyway, I was going to try baking them this week, but necessity won over craving - the man needs bread for lunch.  And it's just been one of those weeks that nothing else was gonna get baked this week.  Pooh!  Although... it seems that summer has finally arrived in Greater Vancouver - YES!  Hence why we've been so busy this week - lots of time spent at the beautiful parks in the City of Surrey.

So, why am I telling you about Kate?  Well, I signed up for this Adopt a Gluten Free Blogger Web Event.  Basically you "adopt" a GF blogger, do one of their recipes, photograph it and post about it.  So... here it is!

As I said, the man needed bread for lunch.  So I did a recipe of Kate's called Sorghum Flax Bread that actually has 3 different ways to make it.  I have, in my bread baking over the last 3 weeks, made it all 3 ways.  You can find her recipe HERE.

So I gotta tell you a bit about my adventures with this bread.  These pics are made the standard way with the recipe (eggs NOT separated, and WITH a sponge).  To be perfectly honest, I didn't notice a difference in taste or look between the 3 ways.  BUT.  With a sponge and with eggs separated was the only way my dough didn't bubble up and over into my oven during the rise.  (That was effort #2, NOT these pics.)  Not quite sure WHAT I did... except that MAYBE with the sponge this time last time I didn't let it settle enough?  I think that is *most likely* the cause of the bubbling dough debacle.  Well, at least my oven wasn't *ON.*  

***No smoke alarms or fire alarms were tripped in the baking of this bread.***  ;)

My "sponge" activating

My dough, all nicely patted down into my pan.

My dough, not so nicely patted down into my pan... 
oh, but rising! LOL!

Make lemonade out of lemons?  
How about buns out of bubbling over bread dough?

End result? Some darn good-lookin' bread and buns.

And a yummy chicken BLT... not bad!

And the verdict?  Well, good enough that the man is happy with it for his sandwiches for lunch... and I enjoyed a slice with hummus this evening... Aw yum!  

All yumminess aside, serious verdict is that this wholegrain bread has some good chew (not crumbly! yay!), a fantastic texture, and a little bit of a sweet undertone.  I may mix it up a bit by making it a bit savoury next time - dropping some of the sugar, and upping the salt and maybe some spices in there.  The texture is awesome, and I think it'd make a GREAT cheesy scone-type bun.

Go check out the rest of the posts for this AaGFB event, you'll find them in the comments section of the post. :)

Happy bread making!