Dear Facebook, You Are the Reason We Need World Breastfeeding Week

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I’ll be honest. As a formula IMG_3559feeder, I’ve been a little worried about seeing something that would offend me online during World Breastfeeding Week. And sure enough, we are less than 24 hours in and I’ve been offended.

Not by a breastfeeding mom or a blog post or a poorly worded infographic on Facebook. By Facebook itself.

New Orleans Moms Blog, along with local mom and graphic designer Kissyfish, worked hard to design a beautiful and tasteful graphic to celebrate our World Breastfeeding Week posts sponsored by Touro. Facebook, on the other hand, denied the advertisement we attempted to list because it “violates the Facebook Ad Guidelines by featuring an image containing excessive amounts of skin or suggestive content.” Those are their direct words, not ours.

Yes, despite the straight up vagina one of our team members saw on Facebook today, this image seems to “depict people in explicit or suggestive positions” or “nudity or cleavage.” Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t see excessive amounts of skin, explicit positions, nudity, or even cleavage. I do suppose that the image is suggestive, though … suggestive that this mother is nourishing her child.

Yes, Facebook has a policy on breastfeeding pictures, and I’m sure that our ad will be approved after our appeal (at the time we published this, we have heard nothing in return), but I’m still flabbergasted that it was denied in the first place. From their own Help page, they state that “We agree that breastfeeding is natural and beautiful and we’re glad to know it’s important for mothers to share their experiences with others on Facebook.” I’m glad they agree with us, even if they deny our picture. They mention that most breastfeeding pictures comply with their Community Standards, so I headed over there to read exactly what was compliant. According to their own guidelines, they “restrict some images of female breasts if they include the nipple, but we always allow photos of women actively engaged in breastfeeding,”

So, what’s the problem? Does their own staff not understand their guidelines? Did someone have the power to deny it because they were personally offended? Where’s the breakdown, Facebook?

I don’t breastfeed, and I didn’t ever have a successful nursing relationship with my daughter. I may be an unlikely person to get so worked up that I take to our blog to post about it. But breastfeeding is beautiful, and I find it despicable that Facebook only one year ago changed their guidelines to allow these types of images. I don’t understand how we can still objectify breasts as only sexual in this modern and educated society.

The kicker is that I was just telling a friend that I didn’t totally get the #normalizebreastfeeding hashtag. Isn’t it normal? It’s splashed everywhere, recommended exclusively by most of the leading world health organizations, advocated for by most medical professionals … nursing IS normal, right?

But then I see this. And I get it. No doubt, some young intern was the one that denied our ad and will probably get scolded for it tomorrow, but it shouldn’t have happened in the first place. A mom from our team shouldn’t be spending her time fighting Facebook to honor their own guidelines. I shouldn’t be sitting up tonight writing this post.

So, I get it. #normalizebreastfeeding already. And Facebook, seriously, get on board.

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