If Facebook deleted your photo…

29 12 2008

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…as they did with the one above… please consider sending it here.
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It’s a women’s rights site, and is collecting the photos and health education posters that have been deleted. You can make a personal statement about the photo. They only have a few on there at the moment. As I think it’s an important component of social history, to record such details of lactaphobic censorship, I’d ask you to send your photos and pass the message on to others.
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So far, many of them, like my second deleted photo from today, were only posted under ‘friends only’ or in the M.I.L.C. action site. Therefore it’s a reasonable assumption, that trollers are making their way through the M.I.L.C. site and reporting photos.
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Email your photos to info@tera.ca
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As a ps… the poster from yesterday appears to be from a cohort of breastfeeding organisations in Argentina. I’ve also been told that currently, Brazil has a major billboard campaign running for breast cancer awareness, involving many shots of different sized and shaped breasts. No doubt the Brazilian children so exposed, will suffer serious sexual trauma their whole lives! And hopefully no breast cancer! 🙂
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Censored, by Facebook

28 12 2008
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This photo is obscene. So obscene, it was deleted off my Facebook profile photo album, and I was issued with a warning. Does this photo, clearly part of a Government/health agency campaign to protect breastfeeding, look obscene to you?
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Does the mother look obscene to you? Engaging in a sex act? Evoking an erotic response?
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Does this one…?
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She hasn’t been deleted, as of yet.
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EDIT: Jan 2009. The Virgin Mary was then deleted! If you check the Tera site, you’ll find close up of two Virgin Mary paintings, including this one, was deleted by Facebook as obscene…
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Why was the first mother deleted? She was deleted as Facebook have stated that photos showing aureole or nipple, are obscene. A full breast shot it obscene. Regardless of context. There has been a huge protest about this, as Facebook have been deleting family photos out of personal albums on Facebook, with no warning. The protest was organised by mothers who had had their pictures removed. There was an online virtual nurse-in yesterday, on Facebook, and a physical one outside the Facebook headquarters in California.
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Online, people were asked to post breastfeeding photos in their profile, and to add the status line “Hey Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene.”
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Many of us online, ended up in free and frank exchanges of views with our own online friends, and in the protest forums. Free and frank exchanges of view aren’t a problem. Most lactavists, remember when they too thought breastfeeding was a lifestyle choice, and formula was benign and held no health risks to infants. We remember being duped by the hegemony too! And how hard it is to unthink formula dominant culture.
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Also, during the day, interesting things happened. Posted comments started to appear without their profile photo, and accounts had been frozen. In short, photos were being deleted off accounts, by Facebook, as the day progressed.
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When I’d started posting, I’d had a series of about 5 photos, I was cycling through. The first one above, was one of them. Then, I read the link that Facebook had stated that it was aureole, or full breast that was offensive. I changed by photo to number two up there – the Virgin Mary with a fully naked breast. Commissioned by the Catholic Church, to hang in a Catholic Church.
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I left this one there. Unchanged, for the rest of the day. Still there, in fact, as I type this.
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I didn’t think they’d delete the Virgin Mary, and I felt that made a point.
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So, you can imagine my surprise, when logging back in today, I found that the first picture above, had been deleted out of my profile album. The first picture above, shows LESS breast than the second one.
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What’s the difference between them? Why is one still up, and the other in the rubbish basket?
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Because someone complained about photo one, and no one has complained about photo two.
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Seriously.
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Now, let’s think about that for a moment. A *huge* number of breastfeeding photos were deleted off Facebook yesterday and today. *HUGE* One might imagine all of them following a complaint…
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Who was complaining?
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Who, on a protest against censorship of breastfeeding, has gone around and complained, vigorously, about breastfeeding photos. Answer: quite a lot of people. (To judge by the amount of deletions.)
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Lactaphobes. Misogynists. Mean as skimmed milk morons who get their kicks by acting important and feeling powerful… by complaining about a breastfeeding photo!
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But that’s not what really worries me. World is full of sad and inadequate people, trying their best to feel validated in any small way. Not to mention stupid and small minded ones.
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It’s the internet. You expect morons and inadequates.
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What worries me about this… is that Facebook is standing by such bullying. Lactaphobia is a prejudice. An unreasonable, knee jerk reaction, to a specific set of people. It’s harassment, and bullying.
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And Facebook is not only condoning it, it’s carrying it out on behalf of its account holders. It’s set mothers and babies up for discrimination, and then acted out on the base impulses of its user group.
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“Nothing to do with us!” they will say. “Photo broke rules, someone complained, we deleted it.”
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No matter what it was, and how clearly it is not obscene.
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And the surge in deletions, no doubt from a surge in complaints, on the day of a protest against censorship, has no bearing, Facebook? Just like the fact that the photo you deleted is clearly a health education poster? Huh? .
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Blind.
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Blind prejudice.
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Blind lactaphobia.
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At an online community near you.
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Being enforced by the company making money from social networking. Using their profits, to pay people, to bully those seeking to protect breastfeeding.
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Wouldn’t it be sweet, if that poster up there, suddenly appeared everywhere on Facebook? It’s still on several profiles, and in several albums. Only my personally complained about one is gone. Got a Facebook account….? Click and save on the above image! 🙂
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On another note – do you recognise the poster? Any idea where it came from? It looks like a scan from a print source, so it may be quite old. If you have any idea where this one is from, and who produced it, which country it appeared in, please contact me.  (EDIT – from Argentina!  How to breastfeed leaflet.)
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I aim to let Facebook know exactly who they deleted, and which Government (likely) sponsored it.
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This one, just as obscene, was sponsored by the Norwegian Government:

Go Norway!
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Now, how can we persuade Norway to open up a Facebook account and post a profile picture…?

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Edit: This is the photograph that was deleted from Facebook in 2007, that started the entire protest.
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Can you see a fully exposed breast? Or can you just see the lactaphobe, lurking in the background, with their finger on the all powerful ‘delete’ button?
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Merry Christmas Janipher

24 12 2008

Janipher Maseko has been granted indefinite leave to remain. This means that, finally, after nearly 6 years of claiming asylum, she can get on with her life. It also means that Collin and Chantelle, both born here, can now apply for British passports in a few years time, and lose their ‘stateless’ status and become fully legible human beings, as opposed to shadow children.
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To all those who helped in this fight, first of all to reunite Collin with his mother’s breast, and then to keep them safe and secure…
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Thank
You!
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… a fuller update to follow…




The Christmas Posts

22 12 2008
There are two posts from last year, that may be useful to you as the holiday season really kicks off.
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One addresses the thorny issue of going out and drinking alcohol whilst breastfeeding. It can be found here.
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The other, was written in response to a Mum being tutted at whilst her breastfeeding baby fed in Church. It’s a vignette on the Christmas story, and can be found here. Nothing seems to have changed on the need for such stories… and as local newspaper links seem to die quite quickly, I’m going to archive the full text of this article below. But do go to the original site whilst it works – and have a read of ‘the usual’ lactaphobic comments.

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Breastfeeding mum slams woman for her insults in cathedral

AN Exeter mother has spoken out after being insulted for breastfeeding her baby at a church service.

Nicola Wood, 27, from the city centre, said she was hurt and angered by the rude remarks made by a woman during a Christmas carol service at Exeter Cathedral.

She said: “I was at the cathedral with a friend and her baby, listening to the music, which was beautiful.

“My little boy Theo, who is six months old, was getting hungry, so I started to breastfeed him, but all I could hear was a woman a few pews back moaning and saying, ‘oh my God, how disgusting’.

“It ruined the whole service for me. Then she came up to me at the end of the service and said, ‘as long as this cathedral has been open I have never seen anyone as disgusting as you in church. You might as well have been naked and peeing in the church’.

“She said it was the most disrespectful thing in the world and that I was disgusting for feeding my baby, but breastfeeding is the most natural, God-given way of feeding a child, and I was very discreet about it. What she said was so unchristian.”

Nicola added that several other women who heard the conversation offered support.

“A woman said to me not to listen to the other woman. She said my baby was gorgeous and that he made her smile. Other mothers come up to us as well, saying how well behaved the children were and how wonderful it was to see young people at the cathedral.

“What that woman did really annoys me. I’m quite religious, and it is only recently I have been trying church again. You can see why snooty-nosed women like this put a barrier between you and God.

“I am going to write to the Dean. I’m really hurt.”

Tracey Bailey, a health visitor and breast feeding trainer for Devon Primary Care Trust, said the public should support and encourage mothers who breastfeed.

“I am really sad to hear what happened to Nicola,” she said.

“There are numerous health benefits in breastfeeding, for both mother and child, and it is the best and most natural way to feed your baby.

“In my experience, a lot of mums are concerned about breastfeeding in public, but for the majority they are able to do it without any problems.

“Soon there is going to be the New Equality Bill, which will legally protect breastfeeding in public. It will make it illegal for anybody to undermine breastfeeding in public.

“We need to raise awareness that people should be supportive of breastfeeding mothers.

“I’m sure Jesus was breastfed and all the old paintings always show Mary breastfeeding Jesus

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World AIDS Day & HIV mothers in the UK

2 12 2008
Last year, on World AIDS day, I commented on the statistics released by WHO, that breastfeeding whilst HIV positive, actually saved more babies than using formula, in most resource poor countries. That’s if the mother has received no treatment at all, and is still actively being affected by the virus. Simply, formula feeding kills more babies, than unrestrained HIV replication in the mother’s milk.
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Most people are quite shocked to hear this. There is still enough phobia and prejudice around HIV (and woman and their diseased and infective bodies that drip contaminated fluids) that most people have a knee jerk fear of thinking about breastfeeding and HIV. This effect is amplified by the concurrent culture that sees formula feeding as safe and ultimately benign. Breastfeeding is always sacrificed on the altar of this combined ignorance: the dangers of the female body on one side, and the safety of the formula bottle on the other. Cow’s milk, ripped out of over producing and engorged udders in factory-farmed conditions, then altered and modified in vast vats that are impossible to keep from bacterial contamination: dried to powder and then played about with ingredients not controlled or tested on human infants, pushed into tubs and sold at huge profits, with little to no awareness of the ingredient list, or how much contamination has taken place in the factory: is seen as a safer and more sensible solution than giving a baby its mother’s milk.
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Yet, as we’ve seen, less babies die from their mother’s HIV infected milk, than do from formula feeding in resource poor countries. Where bottle culture, poor water supplies, lack of hygiene and poverty, will kill over 15% of babies being formula fed. The transmission rate for HIV in breastmilk, without treatment, stands at 4%.
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What makes these facts even more shocking, in terms of looking at the prejudice on HIV and breastfeeding, is the transmission rate on HIV to the baby, if the mother is receiving proper anti-retro virals. That transmission rate is… zero. 0%.
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I’ll say that again. If a mother is receiving proper anti-viral treatment, during her pregnancy and breastfeeding.. the transmission rate to the baby of HIV, is a statistical zero percent.
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In other words, HIV isn’t transmitted to the baby enough times to even make it onto the figures. Figures that have over 15% deaths for formula feeding, but have no recorded transmissions of HIV to the baby.
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Which brings me not to resource poor countries, where mothers aren’t getting proper anti-retro virals. Not to resource poor countries where to bottle feed, is to invite death into your baby’s crib. Not to areas where water is always a long way away, and not that clean to to start with.
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It brings me to the UK. To HIV positive mothers here, in the UK, being told they cannot breastfeed. Being terrified that if they choose to do so, they will be reported to Child Protection Services, and their baby will be removed from them. Being told that formula feeding is the only safe option.
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All of whom, are in receipt of full anti-retral viral treatment, free of charge. All of whom are regularly monitored for viral load and growth, and who are receiving the best standard of HIV care the world can offer.
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All of whom are told, as standard, not to breastfeed.
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None of whom, are told, as standard, that the ARVs they take, protect their baby if they breastfeed. None of whom are told that they can also choose to express their milk, heat treat it at home, and feed it to their baby if they want to be completely and absolutely certain they are not exposing the baby to HIV at any level. A simple, cheap and easy solution that has been designed to be safe in mud huts in villages – more than achievable by a Mum in her own modern kitchen.
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None of whom are told that formula feeding, raises the risks of serious illness in their baby over their baby’s entire adult life. That is raises the risk of cancers, diabetes, heart problems, sleep apnoea… well, you now the list. Formula feeding increases health risks; it’s not news.
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So, all these mothers, sitting there, doing ‘their best’ by their baby… completely unaware of the range of choices open to them. Completely unaware of the statistics and stresses and risks that can affect their babies… being told to formula feed despite the fact that at base, that doesn’t make very good scientific sense. At base, it’s a tricksy decision. It’s a complex decision, requiring attention being paid to several fluid and interwoven factors. And that decision, and those factors, are reduced in the UK to… HIV positive mothers should formula feed. End of.
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If you were HIV positive, would that blanket statement, depriving you and your baby of a chance of a fulfilling breastfeeding relationship, make you happy? Would you be happy not knowing that even if you didn’t want to take the risk of actual breastfeeding, you could make sure your baby had your milk, and not cow’s milk? Would you feel cared for in the NHS, if this was presented as your only option?
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No, I wouldn’t either.
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But I tell you, at least I’d not be looking at my baby having a significant increase in its risk of death, an immediate and direct death, by this advice. And in that, in the UK, I’m a very lucky. For at least, in the UK, as a citizen, with rights, I’d know that if I did formula feed my baby, I wouldn’t be contributing to its death later on, in a few months time. I’d have the luxury of knowing that formula feeding was as safe for my baby as I could make it.
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Not so, all HIV positive mothers in the UK. Not so at all. There is a special group of HIV positive women in the UK, who are being consigned to their own private hell, over our HIV and breastfeeding policy – and that’s mothers at risk of deportation. Mothers who have asked to be considered for refugee status as they’ve endured torture and persecution in the countries they have fled. Mothers deprived of all status and standing in UK society, whilst their claim is assessed. Many of them also deprived of hope. These mothers, who birth here in the UK, are on ARVs. Their milk is already as safe as it can be. And they are on deportation lists, for countries where formula feeding is so dangerous, that the WHO advice is for them to breastfeed – even if they are not on ARVs. Breastfeed at all costs.
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Do we advise them to breastfeed? Do we look at their case for recognition of refugee status, recognise that they are on the short list to deportation, and that they are likely being deported to regions where formula feeding kills babies at the rate of 4000 per day? Do we then advise them accordingly, and point out that if they are deported, then the baby needs to be breastfeeding… and support them in establishing breastfeeding?
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Do we hell as like. We tell them to formula feed. They’re in the UK currently, no matter where they are heading out to – they formula feed. End of.
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To then add insult to injury, we make the formula feeding as difficult as possible for them. We deprive them of proper income, and deny them the right to earn any money for themselves. We stick them on vouchers, in hostels, and expect them to live on income levels far far below that of Income Support, the catch all safety net benefit for those of us with citizenship, or status.
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There is a mnemonic phrase to sum up the equating decision for when formula feeding is considered, especially as a replacement with HIV positive mothers – it’s AFASS. Is replacement feeding:
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* Acceptable?
* Feasible?
* Affordable?
* Sustainable?
* Safe?
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In resource poor areas, the AFASS equation is vital in determining how a mother should feed her baby. Have a look at how detailed and thorough the WHO/Unicef training pack is for it. The results are pretty simple – if AFASS is applied, and replacement feeding is not shown to tick all the AFASS boxes.. the mother should breastfeed.
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Well, an interesting thing happens if you apply AFASS to HIV mothers in the UK, awaiting deportation. AFASS requires they… breastfeed. And that’s not just because they are going to a resource poor country, where the formula feeding fails in situ. It’s also because AFASS determines breastfeeding, over formula… in the UK. You just have to look at one area – affordable. Whilst it shouldn’t be happening at all, some mothers and babies in the UK, are left literally penniless in the streets because of our Immigration policy. Just last week, I was told of a mother and toddler, left stranded because the mother had had refugee status granted, and therefore her NASS vouchers stopped. But she didn’t have the paperwork yet for Social Services support, and was left with no money. Her toddler was admitted to hospital for malnutrition – the child had had nothing but watery porridge for a few days. The mother hadn’t eaten at all, for the same period.
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In the UK.
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Talk to any Church, or support organisation, and hear the tales of the mothers and children being fed by them, and some sleeping on Church floors. Does formula feeding survive AFASS scrutiny under these conditions? You bet your bottom dollar it doesn’t. Mothers on NASS vouchers struggle to buy enough formula, and regularly water it down and try to fill it out with other things. Just as all mothers do, on low-incomes.. they don’t understand the risks. With HIV positive mothers, this poses even more risk to the babies – for formula fed babies do contract HIV from their mothers, especially if the mother is introducing solids early. Introducing solids early, is a classic way to defer formula costs.
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And in an irony of all damned ironies… most of these mothers are sent out of the country via Yarl’s Wood. A detention centre that can run out of formula and feed a baby oral hydration solution instead! A detention centre where mothers are prevented from making safe feeds in their own rooms at night! A detention centre that doesn’t pass AFASS!!!!
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It’s almost a sick joke, isn’t it? Take an HIV positive pregnant woman. Treat her with ARVs, and give her excellent HIV care. Tell her to formula feed and don’t inform her there are other options. Don’t give her the financial support she needs to buy enough formula. Don’t give her the living conditions she needs to prepare the formula safely. Lock her up in Yarl’s Wood, and prevent her from making fresh formula safely in her own room at night. One morning, put her on a plane, and deposit her and baby, in a resource poor country, with no stocks of clean water or formula to get her through. Just deposit her and her formula fed baby, at the airport, and walk away.
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And hope what.. she can relactate somehow on the plane? That standing at the airport, with a hungry baby in her arms, she can rush out and buy formula and make it safely? That she can now also afford the ARVs she needs to keep herself alive?
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This is UK policy. This is what we do with HIV positive mothers in this country. This is what we do with HIV mothers who are on deportation lists.
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Think it’s good enough? No, neither do I.
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HIV and breastfeeding is a huge issue. It is complex, it is ever changing. This post was about the updated statement from WABA, on World Aids Day, on AFASS and HIV and Breastfeeding. A statement that says that…
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At six months, if replacement feeding is still not acceptable, feasible, affordable, sustainable and safe, continuation of breastfeeding with additional complementary foods is recommended, while the mother and baby continue to be regularly assessed.
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… which is a change in policy. Prior to this release, both WHO and Unicef recommended breastfeeding cease at six months. This position is no longer supportable, as seen by the update.
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But it’s too easy to read the report, any report on HIV and breastfeeding, and think it’s a problem that is happening somewhere else. We are a global village. The mother standing behind you in the queue in Tescos, with formula tins in her basket, may be buying it as she’s been told to as she’s HIV positive. She may also be on a plane, with her formula fed baby, next week, and dumped in a country where the baby’s chances of surviving on formula are very slim indeed. Where if she’d birthed in that country, she’d have been told to breastfeed to protect her baby’s health.
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She may also be safe in staying in this country, as she’s got a passport. But she’s still using formula as she’s HIV positive, and no one is listening to her pain over not being able to breastfeed. She reads about formula risks, but she knows formula is better than starving her baby… but every bottle cuts her to the quick. She feels she’s failed in the Mum test – she’s a living danger to her baby. She may not choose to breastfeed if you told her the ratio of risks, and the protecting effects of the ARVs she takes every day. She may not be able to hack expressing and pasteurising her milk. She may still be on formula, if you tell her what her options are… but at least it would have been her choice. Her informed choice.
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And she may choose to breastfeed. She may choose to express and bottle feed her own heat treated milk. and she deserves our support in doing it. She deserves the support of her medical and social support agencies, operating from facts, not fear. She needs us to acknowledge that her feeding options are many, and not locked into the commercial pressures of formula companies and their needs for profit at all costs. (Those same formula companies promoting their formula as the ‘HIV answer’ in resource poor countries, despite the much higher death tolls.)
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We need to get this straight. We need to pay attention to HIV and breastfeeding. We need to empower mothers to care for their babies, and to protect them. We need to stop sending out blanket messages about formula feeding and HIV, and actually pay attention to the science.
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You could start by writing your MP, and asking them to justify the DoH advice on HIV and formula feeding, especially to those mothers under threat of deportation. This country either needs to support mothers in breastfeeding if they are under threat of deportation, or it needs to promise not to deport any formula fed baby under two years of age to a formula danger area. It’s not rocket science – just common sense. Writing your MP has proven to be a very effective way of raising issues, and something that just about everyone can do. For those who truly struggle to formulate a letter, I’ve appended a draft at the bottom of this page. Write your MP – annoy them. That’s what they are there for. They’re paid to listen to your concerns, and to raise issues, and respond to you – use them!
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You can also raise awareness by setting people straight when you hear people discuss HIV and breastfeeding. Let them know heat treating exists, is proven, is cheap, is under the control of the mother… and there’s no need for formula unless the mother wishes it. Talk about the formula deaths, and how ARVs can be seen as a safe pathway to breastfeeding. Discuss facts, not fears. Talk openly about how heat treated human milk is a viable option, in AIDS orphanages, rather than formula. (Empower local women to be paid for producing human milk for human babies rather than spending money rewarding cows in some other country!) Of course HIV presents huge challenges to breastfeeding worldwide – but as a race, we’re really good at coming up with huge solutions to huge challenges… as long as the need for profit doesn’t stomp people into the ground. As long as fear of being human…of having a body that can carry disease… doesn’t block out all ratonal thought.
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I’ll leave the final words on this to Pamela Morrison, Co-ordinator WABA Breastfeeding and HIV Task Force:
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In the context of HIV exclusive breastfeeding during the first 3 months of life followed by continued partial breastfeeding for 15-18 months has been shown to reduce breastfeeding-associated transmission of HIV to 5-7% (a reduction of 60% compared to previous estimates of risk during mixed breastfeeding) and to reduce young child mortality due to HIV and other infections to ~2% in circumstances where underlying infant mortality may be as high as 20% and where formula-feeding has been shown to provide no HIV-free survival advantage. A recent large study from South Africa shows a 4% risk of transmission over 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding, achieved by 83% of the mothers recruited into the study. Thus, exclusive breastfeeding for the first half-year of life provides dramatic protection against all causes of infant morbidity and mortality, including HIV, and research published subsequent to early recommendations clearly shows that previous estimates of HIV-transmission during any “breastfeeding” can be dramatically reduced.
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Recommendations that HIV-infected mothers should be supported in a choice not to breastfeed need to be viewed against the backdrop of women’s vulnerability, aggravated by the harsh biological, economic and social realities in countries suffering from poverty and inadequate resources where the potential for commercial exploitation of this tragedy is self-evident. Taken together, high HIV prevalence, loss of confidence in breastfeeding, and provision of free supplies of formula, sometimes exceeding need, have the potential to destroy the cultural breastfeeding norm in communities whose babies most need its protection, and contribute to “spillover” into the uninfected population.
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Safe feeding decisions cannot be made without up-to-date information, and should not be framed as an option when the consequences may impact on a baby’s survival. Infants have the right to be fed in the way that maximizes their chances of good health and survival. Mothers have an entitlement to receive clear medical advice about the safest way to feed their babies in the face of their personal living conditions and locally prevailing risk factors. Failure to provide appropriate information, while promoting private maternal rights over public infant health, leaves babies at risk for exploitation by the infant food industry.
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Dear MP,
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I’m writing to register my unease over the UK’s current policy of supporting HIV positive mothers, and their babies, who are locked into the asylum system. It’s come to my attention, that we advise HIV positive mothers, under threat of deportation, to formula feed. and then we deport them and their babies to areas where the WHO and Unicef advice is to breastfeed, even if HIV positive. The death toll from inappropriate formula feeding practices being several times higher than the HIV transmission rate from breastfeeding. Surely this is an inhumane policy? If we are deporting HIV positive mothers, to areas where they are advised to breastfeed to support their infant’s health, surely we should support them in breastfeeding? I’d appreciate your own thoughts on this matter.
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Would it be possible for you to obtain official figures for me, on how many babies are being deported from the UK, on formula versus breastfeeding? And which countries these formula fed babies are being deported to? I’m eager to understand how many mothers from the UK, are deported whilst breastfeeding, versus formula feeding. This is in isolation to the HIV issue. Although if there are figures about how many HIV positive mothers are deported, with their babies being formula fed, every year, I would be interested in seeing them.
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Many thanks
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your constituent…




Festive Baubles – buy a calender! Buy Two!

2 12 2008
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When working out your finances this month, and deciding you can buy yourself a present after all.. after all, you are the centre of your family’s world.. you are the engine that drives your family… you deserve the cheer… consider gifting yourself a couple of breastfeeding calenders. Everyone needs to look at nice images to cheer themselves up. Most people need to know the date… and most if us need somewhere to write down that we should be somewhere, sometime, something important. So a calender is usually something we could all use.
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Most of us also want to contribute to the world around us, and buying a calender from an organisation that uses the money to support babies, and breastfeeding, is A Good Thing. So here’s my guide to where you can get your breastfeeding calenders from, and why you should buy these ones!
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First of all, a good breastfeeding calender is more than pretty pictures and a set of dates. Photographs are a moment in time, and every year, calender committees sit and argue out who and what should be included this year. Their decisions are always interesting, and always say something; they set out to show us where breastfeeding is ‘at’ that year. Sometimes, when I view the calenders, I swear I can hear the ruckus that went on behind the scenes! I commend you to the opening picture here – last year’s October in the Australian Breastfeeding Association calender – and ask you to ponder with me for a moment, what sort of hell and high water discussions must have gone on to include this startling, wonderful and gorgeous photo! How many matrons must have fainted, when presented with a pink haired Mama feeding her older baby over the top! ABA – I applaud you! This photo is just a wonder, and I for one am very glad that whoever wanted it in, won the debate.
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Lest you think this year’s crop from Australia cannot compete with the wonder of last year – this one here is currently my favourite of 2009. All together everyone… aaahhh. 🙂
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And yes, I do have an actual paper copy of October 2008. And yes, it will be being put in a proper frame as soon as I can afford it. And no, you can’t have it.
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See, you really do need to buy these beauties on your own, in time!
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The one calender that everyone needs to buy, no matter where they are in the Globe, is the IBFAN calender. The International Baby Food Action Network, is the core defence for babies worldwide, on infant feeding issues. They fight to protect breastfeeding, and breastfeeding babies, and to keep as safe as possible babies being fed formula. The work they do is both immense, and totally underfunded and undervalued. Every year they produce a stunning quality, cheap to buy, breastfeeding calender on a global scale. Most of the main breastfeeding support organisations only sell the IBFAN calender, and you can purchase it in your own geographical area, from the local region IBFAN office.
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The main suppliers in the UK and Europe, are Baby Milk Action. For North America, go to INFACT Canada. For other areas, go to the IBFAN group map.
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.Some of the groups, such as Baby Milk Action, will also offer you last year’s calender for under half price. Think about this – if you buy it, you get 12 superb photographs/posters, very very cheaply. You up profits on previous print runs, and you free up storage space. Know anyone pregnant? Giving any talks or peer group meetings? How often have you thought “I could use a nice picture now, to pin to this wall whilst people file past…” Buy last year’s calender. If all else fails, it’s excellent wrapping paper for a maternity gift!

You will get a lovely warm glow inside… and 12 superb posters. And no, there isn’t a big black box on them – that’s just for the internet!

The message here, today, is… if you can only afford one calender… buy the IBFAN one. Every penny you spend, will be used wisely, and well. How often can you say that?

Other areas, and regions, also produce their own breastfeeding calenders. My searching found two lovely ones, both in the USA. Unfortunately, my searching hasn’t yet found out how to buy them! I actually did the research on this a few weeks back, and found that New Mexico, and Sonomo Country California, hold competitions etc, on putting together their next year’s calender. So I can show you images of the 2009 from both…

But neither site have let us into the secret of how to purchase them yet..
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Although New Mexico now has an eddress to contact!.

.There are much more gift options available, of course, than simply buying yourself a stunning calender. Baby Milk Action does a wide range of postcards, t-shirts, mugs, magnets and cotton shopping bags, all in support of defending babies and their health. One of the most thoughtful gifts I received this year, personally, was someone who sent me a mug from Baby Milk Action, as a thank you. I felt warm and touchy feely and acknowledged, and thrilled that the same gift went in protecting babies too. It’s a lot of bang for very little buck.

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The holiday season is a time for giving – give yourself something nice to look at for the entire year. If all else fails, give one to someone who is giving you grief about breastfeeding! Many an office wall will look the better for having the IBFAN calender proudly displayed! 😉