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I'm Banned from Facebook Again - Breastfeeding Images Apparently NOT Allowed...

Unless you're a cave dweller, you probably saw recent media coverage of Milli Hill and her bottom. Well not hers per se, but the birthing bottom she shared online.  Posting it on Facebook landed her with a ban, despite the fact Kim Kardashian was doing the rounds faster than you could say "oily backside".

I had no idea at that point, that today I would be following in her shoes and receiving my own three day ban.

You can see the offensive image I posted that apparently violated their policies here:

The caption I posted with it was:
"As bf pics are now allowed on fb, I thought (with full permission granted) I would share this lovely photo, taken at our feeding support centre today. This babe is immediately post tongue tie treatment, and I only wish we had taken a before photo"
I posted the image on two Facebook pages; the one that goes with this blog here, and my dedicated UK infant feeding support site, Milk Matters.  I then followed the post on Milk Matters, with a link as to how parents might be able spot indicators of tongue tie in their baby, a post which is still visible.

The photo remains on Armadillo, but the one on Milk Matters was removed, along with notification I had violated standards and thus was banned for 3 days.  I have previously received a ban for 24 hours, but for a thumbnail showing birth imagery, rather than breastfeeding photos.

According to Facebook their policy is as follows:
"Does Facebook allow photos of mothers breastfeeding?

Yes. We agree that breastfeeding is natural and beautiful and we're glad to know that it's important for mothers to share their experiences with others on Facebook. The vast majority of these photos are compliant with our policies.
Please note that the photos we review are almost exclusively brought to our attention by other Facebook members who complain about them being shared on Facebook."

Alrighty then, left hand please meet right.

I have since been asked, why I felt the need to share the image anyway - and I couldn't help but think what a bizarre question.  Would you ask a mechanic why they wanted to share an picture of a car engine, or a nail technician a photo of perfectly manicured nails?

Anyway, I thought I would answer here.

It was a breastfeeding image, posted on an infant feeding support page.  A relevant arena for what actually was a pretty educational image.  Google NHS breastfeeding, click images and then count how many photos of a deep breastfeeding latch you can spot.  You might want to grab a drink as it's going to take a while.

A large amount of the material shows breastfeeding from a distance, or the back of baby's head, like this image on the right.

The first few latch images are as follows:

Hmmm no deep latches there.

Hopefully they will get better, especially when we get on to the NHS results:

The first image shown by Peterborough and Stamford, may be functional and work for that dyad, we can't tell - but it's certainly not a great example of a deep latch.  The second looks to be a slightly older baby who has nodded off, so he may have had a great latch earlier, but now it's shallow.  The third I'm hoping is used with the intention of "if your breastfeeding looks like this, please contact us", as the word that springs to mind is "ouch!".

I got bored after 100 images.

I Googled again, this time just using "breastfeeding" as the search term.  The search results are no better, you can see them here.

I'm mid another blog post at the moment, discussing shallow latches; because what has become apparent in recent years is that parents often have no clue what a deep breastfeeding latch looks like.  What we are seeing as everyday imagery of breastfeeding, isn't accurate.

What's even more worrying is that a huge percentage of parents I see, have been told their baby's latch is good, often by several people and even if mum is in pain.   I observe a feed and instead see a baby in a shallow, suboptimal position, which means their milk transfer is compromised.  As a result baby wants to feed a gazillion times per day and mum is sore.   So are we actually in a position where some midwives, health visitors and breastfeeding workers can't consistently recognise a deep latch either?

I should say at this point (before someone else does), that latch doesn't have to look textbook to work.  If mum and baby are comfortable, baby is gaining weight and is settled (not writhing about with trapped wind, colic or reflux), then it doesn't really matter what it looks like.  However when a mum is telling you breastfeeding isn't working, recognising that the latch means mum's nipple is getting rammed up against her baby's hard palate, or he's sucking in buckets of air via the gaps at the corners of his mouth - is kinda significant.

What annoys me most about this whole brouhaha, is that someone felt a need to report the picture.  A photo that was taken on the spur of a beautiful moment, after the mum had struggled for eight weeks to breastfeed her baby. We were discussing how wide his mouth was open, mum said it felt great but couldn't see because of her large breast, so my colleague grabbed her iPad to capture how he looked.  He popped off milk drunk and blissfully settled, after previously fussing, crying and needing topping up by bottle after every feed. Something, I should add that mum had managed to do with expressed milk the entire time, despite having two other energetic children under four!
Jack Nicholson - stars added for "modesty"

So my question is, why on earth shouldn't we post photographs? It seems the complicated rules of breast coverage strike again.  It would be so much easier to support effective breastfeeding if men did the lactating, as we have no such social discomfort with their skin, nipples and breast tissue.

Women's areola and nipples however are positively scary, see here how this knickerless pouting contributor to "dailyboobs" covers them up, to make the image decent and fit for Facebook sharing.

See the problem here?  The very thing involved in feeding an infant is also considered sexually explicit and best left to the realms of pornography.  I've had women laughingly tell me their husband wants them to finish breastfeeding so he can "get his boobs back".  The objectification of women is such, it's spilling over into the feeding choices women make.

I've contacted Facebook via every reporting route I can find, but most just say "thanks for the report" and nothing further happens.  Using the "Report a violation of the Facebook Terms" I managed to get a case open, highlighting my problem. But it was almost immediately closed. I used the reopen button, attaching an image showing their guidance quoted re breastfeeding photos, but again after several hours it was closed.

The bigger problem is, aren't we setting parents up to fail?  There's lots of hot air about how it's "best" and everyone should do it, yet don't dare show what it should actually look like!  Add this to the other stack of information parents may not be told, the passive support, and the often lack of specialist help, and it quickly becomes clear that we are merely paying lip service.