Tasnim Nathoo on Breastfeeding in the News

Yesterday I blogged about breastfeeding stories in the news, including one about a woman who was arrested for breastfeeding while drunk. I asked Tasnim Nathoo, co-author of The One Best Way? Breastfeeding History, Politics, and Policy in Canada, to comment on the story. Here is what she said:
It’s been interesting to observe the amount of media attention the issue of breastfeeding while drunk has received recently. It’s not really about whether mothers should drink alcohol while breastfeeding (the amount of alcohol in breast milk mirrors your blood alcohol level – we should be much more concerned about a mother dropping the baby than harming the baby by alcohol poisoning). Perhaps it’s challenging for us all to read about a woman who is simultaneously a “good mother” (she is breastfeeding, after all, currently the “best way” to feed your baby) and a “bad mother” (being drunk and possibly neglectful). I think I’d like to hear more about what’s going on in the life of Stacey Anvarinia and the other women who have recently shared the spotlight on this issue. Perhaps their life circumstances are such that we should be applauding them for attempting to breastfeed at all.
Interested in the outrage that occurred around this story, and increasingly tired of “bad mother” stories in the news, I created a Google Alert for news stories on breastfeeding. This morning’s feed produced one or two information-type stories on breastfeeding health and many more stories about the “taboos” surrounding breastfeeding, which included the story about the arrest and others about difficulties feeding in public or products developed to camouflage the act of breastfeeding.

As someone who grew up accepting breastfeeding as a natural part of life I’m always mystified by the furor of the commentary any time it makes the news. It’s as if there is nothing as dangerous as accidentally viewing a woman’s breast.

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