The documentary “The Milky Way: Every Mother Has a Story,” focuses on Jennifer Davidson, a lactation consultant, who is concerned about America’s lack of appreciation towards breastfeeding. Right from the beginning we see she has every right to be when we learn the disturbing fact that the U.S. has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world! In fact, only 15% of babies are exclusively breastfeed at the age of six months. While breastfeeding is disappearing, the formula companies are at an all-time high. With the media completely taking over and convincing women breastfeeding in public is wrong and formula is better than your own breast milk, women are subjugated to the point where they feel discouraged when they begin having trouble breastfeeding and give up.
“We need to change,” says Jennifer Davidson.
As a country, we lack the proper knowledge of what breastfeeding is and what it can do for mothers and babies. Breastfeeding is a beautiful and natural act, unlike what we have been told in the media. It’s a precious moment only shared between mothers and their babies which creates a special and loving bond that carries into our children’s lives long into adulthood. As a natural instinct many women used to display as their motherly role, our society has abused its reputation into an intimate and even sexual act that should be kept private. Breasts have become an object of sex and we have forgotten its most important role: breastfeeding and feeding our babies. Breast milk is scientifically proven to be the best possible nutrient to give to our babies. A women’s breast milk is specially designed to give their unique baby what they need to grow up strong and healthy. When you breastfeed your baby’s saliva communicates with your breast milk letting your body know which antioxidants and nutrients your baby needs. If breast milk has so many advantages, and on top if all that it’s cost effective, than why is our country so demining towards something so natural? Throughout the film, Jennifer and her colleagues, clients, and other moms continue an encouraging and dear call in the hopes everyone watching will take something from the film:
Trust Yourself, Trust Your Body, and Trust Your Baby.
Continuing her argument, Davidson compares another aspect by discussing the way U.S. hospitals treat mothers after birth versus other hospitals around the world, primarily St. Joseph’s Hospital in Berlin, Germany. St. Joseph is the first baby friendly certified hospital in the world. 97% of their babies are breastfeed and mothers are expected and encouraged to stay with their babies immediately after delivery, even if they are premature or dying. As soon as they are birthed, babies are given to their mothers to begin the bond with skin on skin contact, learning how to breastfeeding, and co-sleeping. Creating a relationship between mother and child is the most important goal for St. Joseph. Moms are given the confidence and support they need to help them feel successful.
We must ask ourselves, “What can we do to change? How can we be more supportive to mothers and babies?” As a country we need to become more knowledgeable about the benefits breastfeeding has not only for our babies, but for our nation. Learning to better care for pregnant women in the hospital, making them feel confident as mothers, being patient and teaching them how to breastfeed, and supporting them when they want to give up is just a start to changing our views on breastfeeding. As a country, breastfeeding can help our obesity problem, our expenses, and our relationships with our children. We must trust ourselves, trust our bodies, and trust our babies.
The Milky Way: Every Mother Has a Story. Dir. Jon Fitzgerald. Perf. Jennifer Davidson and Chantal Molnar. Piece of My Heart Productions, 2014. Film. http://milkywayfoundation.org/
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