Thursday, February 9, 2012

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Mother's Milk and Fair Play: Breastfeeding as food justice (Video)

I've been thinking a lot about food lately. Of course this is no surprise to folks who know me since I always think a lot about food. But lately it's  not just what's on the menu for the next meal (yes, I like to eat), but more specifically as access. I've been thinking about food justice! In fact, what really got me thinking about this is SISTAH VEGAN -- a book I read and reviewed on the topic, whose editor, Breeze Harper, made the video below.

Of course I believe it makes sense. Being able to nurse anytime, anywhere, is a fabulous idea that in my opinion, is a human rights issue. But being able to nurse on demand it is also something that is frought with privilege, since countless women are not capable of this luxury. This video also got me to thinking about the recent Blacktating post Pumpin Ain't Easy, and how that also examined our culture's blatant disregard for human lactation, the difficulties of pumping and inevitably the disregard for those holistic health benefits, including the mother-infant connection, maternal and child health, potential environmental issues and a list of others.

These both came at a point when I will be working with the state coalition in a project surveying companies in Washington State who are compliant with the Federal Break Time for Nursing Mother's law -- something I believed to be forward-moving. Of course I don't think it's all bad, since it does provide some opportunity to provide mother's milk. But are we selling ourselves short?

From the way I see it, if nursing on demand were actualized it would necessitate the dissipation of a slew of justice issues -- including the capability to nurse on demand, ridding our society of those many systems that are constructed and strengthened with inequality that hinders our access to provide this priceless benefit to our babies. I will be thinking about this, and I hope you do as well.