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Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Why I challenge the breastfeeding in public "haters"

(I won't go into all the reasons why it is important for mothers to be able to feed their babies in public. I went into that in great detail here.)


Twitter is an amazing resource. As a breastfeeding mother, one outstanding use for it is providing help to other mums who might be having a hard time with breastfeeding. There is a huge network of experienced mothers, lactivists, and trained LCs who can advise within seconds of posting. All you need to do is mention "breastfeeding" in your tweet and help is on its way! Wonderful, huh?

Case in point a lady stricken with swine flu recently posted that she had been advised to stop breastfeeding and give formula because the antivirals she had been prescribed were contraindicated whilst breastfeeding. Within seconds of tweeting this, she had been directed to various websites including one from the NHS which states that it is not only safe to breastfeed whilst on antivirals, but very important to continue to provide breastmilk to an infant who has been exposed to H1N1, because the antibodies being produced by the mother's body will help safeguard the infant and prevent hir from becoming sick.

So the question has been asked, how do people find tweets from people not on their friends list? Personally, I use Tweetdeck. It has the functionality of typing in a keyword search and leaving the column open so you get updates on any new posts mentioning breastfeeding, or any other word, just as you do your friends new tweets or your mentions.

The downside of this is that you also see a lot of tweets from people saying blatantly ignorant things about breastfeeding mothers and in particular breastfeeding in public. See my previous post. Sometimes, engaging a person in this way makes them think twice, providing them with some information about WHY people breastfeed their babies in public places gives them an insight. I've been thanked by some by giving my opinion and insulted and sworn at by others. Some people genuinely don't seem to understand that Twitter is a public resource and unless your tweets are protected, saying something inflammatory is like shouting it in a crowded room. Don't say offensive stuff unless you want to be called on it. Twitter isn't like Facebook, or a private blog, where unless someone is on your friendslist they can't see anything you post. If you can't personally handle this, I'd suggest posting any rants on an invite only blog, protected Twitter feed or Facebook where only your likeminded friends can read them.

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