Sure, you may know what it’s like to breastfeed your own little one, but do you ever wonder how women across the United States tackle everyday breastfeeding? Filmmaker Dana Ben-Ari joined forces with executive producers Abby Epstein and Ricki Lake (yes, of talk show fame) to capture the lives of five breastfeeding couples in the new documentary Breastmilk, shot in the US. Breastmilk was screened this past May in New York City and was met with warm accolades from critics. Director Ben-Ari focuses in particular on how mothers in professional careers balance breastfeeding with pumping in the office and other routine measures they take to continue nursing, as well as a mother’s struggle to find necessary support and encouragement in the face of feeling doubtful about continuing to breastfeed. These topics are sure to be familiar to many nursing mother’s own lives.
What can you expect from this documentary? An honest portrayal of how breastfeeding is not as easy as it seems and that real struggles exist for women who set out with all intents and purposes to nurse. We were delighted to see how couples interacted in the trailer—it’s great to see partners support one another while learning the breast milk ropes. The documentary’s main question seems to hover on the current CDC statistic that 85 percent of new mothers report a desire to breastfeed exclusively for at least three months, but only 32 percent end up seeing this goal through. Without judgment, Breastmilk seeks to expose what modern-day factors give new mothers the hardest time while upholding a breastfeeding schedule.
Check online to see if your town is screening Breastmilk (it has a limited theater run) if you’re interested in the documentary. What can you do to help encourage new mothers who might feel let down by their own breastfeeding experiences? Offer what resources you can: a lactation consultant’s phone number, your own breastfeeding knowledge, or even an online community you frequented for your most dire breastfeeding questions. Your support will help new moms feel empowered by breastfeeding rather than inadequate; Even if your friend or sister cannot make it past the three month mark nursing, it’s better to let them know how proud you are of them for trying to make the best health decisions for their babies.