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Creators Behind Breastmilk Aim to Highlight Challenges of Breast-Feeding

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I'm not a parent, but one thing I've observed seems to be true: No matter what you do or how you raise your child, there will always be someone there to explain to you in great detail how and why you're doing it wrong.

Take breast-feeding, for example. The "breast or bottle" debate has raged for years with everyone from Gisele Bundchen to Time magazine weighing on whether breast-feeding is better than formula.

The new documentary Breastmilk aims to enter the debate and offer a new perspective by nonjudgementally highlighting the good and bad that everyone—whether you're rich, poor, white, black, gay, or straight—faces while breast-feeding, filmmaker Dana Ben-Ari says in a piece for New York magazine. Partnering with Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein, the producers behind The Business of Being Born, she set out to document a year in the life of five different New York families as they try to work breast-feeding into their daily lives.

"Breast-feeding is a topic that everyone feels they can have an opinion about, because public breast-feeding affects everyone on the train, so everyone can give their opinion," Ben-Ari said. "Vaginas are a little harder. Women’s breasts are up for grabs. Breast-feeding is more about how a woman uses her body publicly than privately."

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The intersection of feminism, politics, parenthood, and sex all meet in the documentary (which, according to NY mag writer Kat Stoeffel, includes more "disembodied boobs than Spring Breakers did"). "Women are made to feel guilty because they are told breast-feeding is better—most likely it is better—but it’s not necessarily something they can all achieve," Ben-Ari said. "So guilt comes from sending that message but then not providing the support to make it happen." Adds Lake, "And shaming women. This whole thing about breastfeeding in public, it's in the news all the time. It's outrageous."

Check out the trailer below and click here for the full Q and A from New York magazine, then tell us: What's your take on breastfeeding? Where do you fall in the debate? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @Shape_Magazine!


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