Tuesday, 21 June 2011

We're Winning

copyright Cavendish Press
"Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed.  

You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read.  

You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride.  

You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore.  

We have seen the future, and the future is ours."

~Cesar Chavez

The above picture appears today in the Daily Mail.  Yes, that's right, the DAILY MAIL.  The blurb mentions nothing negative about breastfeeding.  In fact, the article is a very positive one.

This is such an important moment.  Such.

The culture is slowly turning.  Slowly, sometimes backwards after a few steps forward, but slowly, step by step, inching forward.  This photograph would have been impossible 5 years ago.  A mainstream junky news paper, carrying this image?  Ten years ago, there would have been outrage?  Even two years ago, the editor might have hesitated.  Yes, they have used it deliberately.  Yes, they are expecting a little bit of a frisson.  Yes, their job is to sell newspapers.

But the text... the text reveals nothing but solid, excellent and positive reporting on the flashmob event.

A breastfeeding flashmob!  Who'dv'thunk?  :-)

This picture in the Daily Mail?  Who'dv'thunk?

I don't post very often anymore.  The reason is, I don't need to.  As I've always said, the internet is changing the world, one mother to another.  One woman to another.  We can connect, reach out, activate: change.  Change ourselves, change the culture.  One breastfeed at a time.  :-)

The above picture fills me with such hope.  Combined with the remarkable events of the past week or so, as the entire lacvavist world has taken arms in support of Alma and Habiba... well, I just smile.  Smile at the fact that we just do it, now.  We just stand up and shout for our babies' rights... and it's wonderful


It's not to say it's getting easier.  In fact, it's getting a lot harder in the corporate and political world.  Massive inroads are being made into protection for babies in terms of commercial attack.  The World Health Organisation and the United Nations is being invaded by corporate interests, offering corporate sponsorship to 'help' health funds.  Misguided entrepreneurs are pouring billions of dollars into buying pea nut sachets and diarrhea vaccines, rather than in making sure clean water and full breasts are available on demand.  People who are concerned and loving and compassionate, are pouring efforts into dealing with symptoms, not addressing the underlying causes.

Corporate interests mask their need to make money, by handing out money to 'help' in ways that may kill more than it saves.  At home, formula advertising is now so skilled at showing formula feeding on tv despite the ban, most of us can't watch the adverts without screaming any more.  The NHS is undelivering breastfeeding support at an alarming rate.  Formula companies are deftly fighting to have unsubstantiated health claims put on their packaging, and they are winning.

It's not a good time to be fighting for babies, in the boardrooms.  In the closed and smoky rooms.  In the committee meetings and in the halls of power.  In fact, it's probably the darkest it has been for a very long long time, for the real political work.

Which just shows you how much effect we're all having.  :-)

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."  

~ Mohandas Ghandi

They are not laughing anymore.  They are, indeed, fighting back very very hard.  But they are losing the culture battle.  The poltical one they may be making inroads in, but the above photo in today's Daily Mail, combined with this quote...

A stunned onlooker said: 'It's not every day you see that many breasts while out doing your shopping. I suppose it's a good way of getting people to listen to the message. I fully support them.' 

... shows just how much we are winning the battle for the daily live.  The being a breastfeeding dyad, in public, and not being oppressed.  Not being laughed at, ridiculed, thrown off the plane, thrown of the bus, sacked, moved job, sent to the bathroom, denied access to our babies... the list goes on.  

As does the battle.  :-)

When you read this post, and rejoice in the photo, and what it says... also remember that when you start to win, they really start to fight back.  We're winning: they are fighting back.  Big time.  As well as all the other work you are doing, the flashmobs, the picnics, the simple being with your baby and having fun outside in public spaces.  The facebook groups, the internet forums in support... as well as doing all this, you should also do something else.  Something real and tangible to fight those who are seriously fighting back.  You should help the ones walking in the corridors of power, trying to stop the corporate inroads.

Send these people some money.

If we weren't' winning, they wouldn't be fighting so hard.

Help the fight: DONATE

Mother to Mother.  Baby to Baby.  Woman to Woman.

We are all Habiba.

And goodness, ain't we wonderful?

Monday, 13 June 2011

Breastfeeding Picnics 2011

A little late this year.  Letting you know.  A combination of circumstances - changing the admin structure, my moving to rural Scotland, a very long turnaround on the permissions from Westminster, due to massive changes brought by the new Gov.  And, of course, we moved it forward a month.  Some of us haven't realised it's June yet.  :-)


People wanted flexibility.  So do check the DATE of your local one.  :-)

Breastfeeding Picnics are first and foremost about turning up, having fun with other parents, and going home.  During this fun time, breastfeeding will take place as a normal part of human activity.  That's actually the most important bit.  Breastfeeding in public is about hungry babies, requiring milk.  That's all.  Hungry babies get milk. Simples!

In Scotland, it is that simple.  There is a law protecting any caregiver, giving any milk, to a child anywhere the child has a right to be.  The caregiver can not be threatened or asked to stop the feed.  To do so, is an offence, liable to a hefty fine.

In England and Wales, there is no such protection.  For a detailed understanding of this, read the posts here with the Breastfeeding Picnic tag, and the Equalities Act tag.

Breastfeeding Picnics are run by mothers, for mothers.  All parents welcome.  All mothers, fathers, grans and grandads.  All babies, all feeding methods.  Hungry babies need milk: don't matter if it's from breast or bottle, Mama or Otherwise.  Hungry babies get fed.  End of.

All are run by volunteers, all take control of their own event.  There is no uber organisation.  Just Mums.  :-)

Go along, show your support, feed your babies.  And invite your local MP too!


Westminster Breastfeeding Picnic
Victoria Tower Gardens
next to Parliament
Noon till 3pm
Sunday 19th June
Facebook Group
contact Elaine


Cambridge Dolally-Doula Breastfeeding Picnic
Lammas Land, Newnham, Cambridge
Noon onwards
Sunday 26th June
contact Maddie


Brighton Bosom Buddies Breastfeeding Picnic
Pavilion Gardens
lawn in front of cafe
1pm to 3pm
Facebook Group
contact Bosom Buddies


Upfront Torpoint Breastfeeding Picnic
Torpoint, Cornwall
Thanckes Park
The Lawns
Monday 20th June
1pm to 3pm
Facebook Group
contact Upfront Torpoint Breastfeeding Group


Stroud Breastfeeding Picnic
Stratford Park
near the bandstand
Saturday June 18th
11am to 2 ish
contact Kirstie


Couple more to be added - check back!  :-)