The film explores the social debate over breastfeeding among those who want to breastfeed, those who can’t breastfeed and the cultural impact of breastfeeding choices. Subjects covered include work-place pumping, career moms, gay parents, wet nurses, sex practices, freaked-out fathers, impassioned “lactivists” and moms who halt breastfeeding before their infant is six months old.
Why do breasts and breastfeeding excite such interest, controversy, rage and passion? Breastfeeding has made a lot of headlines lately – from the controversial photo on the cover of Time magazine (Read the post-Time interview with Jamie Grumet here) to Whoopi Goldberg’s public bashing of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, to military moms being criticized for breastfeeding in uniform. Our society is enamored with “baby bumps” but what follows the birth is a different, slightly messier story. Lactose intolerance takes on a whole new meaning as it relates to women, their breasts and their milk. The act of breastfeeding has been immortalized by great artists all over the world, so why are we disturbed by contemporary images of women nurturing children? Why do we have to struggle to normalize this human mammalian behavior?
Filmed in an elegant and revealing style, BREASTMILK is an intimate exploration of the constructs that can make breastfeeding daunting for so many women. First-time filmmaker Dana Ben-Ari follows a diverse group of expectant parents in NYC from pregnancy through the first year of their child’s life. Before giving birth, the mothers share their goals and assumptions about breastfeeding and then Ben-Ari objectively documents each family’s journey with striking outcomes that subvert viewers expectations. Interspersed with these personal stories, a cast of experts gives bold insight into questions of maternal and reproductive health, biological feminism, and of the moral dimensions of health. Audiences will be deeply engaged in BREASTMILK’s refreshingly unbiased perspective on this ancient, primal and controversial bond between mothers and babies.