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Breastfeeding information and support HERE

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Papallaitants - Breatsfeeding Dads by Pascal Ghazi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
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When Activism Becomes Proselytism (according to some)

I am back from a business trip and I find a message where the initiative “Papallaitants” is accused of proselytism. Why? Because I talk about the normalisation of breastfeeding.

It has been a year and a half that I created this initiative, “Papallaitants”, in the first place because I found that as the father of a breastfed child I needed someone to exchange my experience with, I needed someone to exchange with the way I feel, and I did not want to stay a simple observer, I wanted to be someone useful.

So, for a start, I created this initiative out of love for my family.

Then, it has been a year and a half that the initiative exists and I have received hundreds of messages so far. All kinds of messages. Most of them are support messages, from fathers and mothers who have welcomed my initiative warmly, but I have also received criticism. Sometimes very hard criticism that comes from people who feel that because I talk about the benefits of breastfeeding, it means that I am critizicing them and their choices.

I have even received messages from companies that have proposed me to help me financially, in exchange for blog posts advertising their products. Some of these companies truly support breastfeeding, some others after searching quickly on google appeared to be sponsors of the most known formula making companies in France.

It would be ridiculous that I join their game of supporting breastfeeding “until 6 months“, the marketing strategy of formula making companies, they support breastfeeding, “but” (it is a way to not violate so shamelessly WHO recommendations).

So, no, I did not accept their financial support, even when it would have meant a few euros that would have paid promotional material such as t-shirts, flyers, etc.

And then I don’t have time for more than what I already do!

Image : Getty Images

Image : Getty Images

I have a full-time job, I wear a suit every weekday, I take the train to go to Paris and sit at a desk in front of a computer screen for 8 hours straight. I would love to stay home all day and play with my little boy but someone has to work, we need to pay for our groceries!

When I find some free time, I read a little, I write a little, and I share here what I find interesting.

So calling me proselytizing because of this initiative that I do with my heart, with the only interest of leaving a better place for my son, ouch! It hurts.

I will continue doing it anyway, because I know thanks to the testimonials I receive that this initiative has had a good reception, and that some families have found support in it, and that is enough for me.

If the whole world does not understand what I am doing… Well, that is not something new, is it?

As the saying goes, “laughter is like a windshield wiper, it doesn’t stop the rain but allows us to keep going“, so with a smile on my face I say “see you soon” from a rainy Saint-Cloud.

To support my initiative (or criticize it) follow this link.

6 comments to When Activism Becomes Proselytism (according to some)

  • What a WONDERFUL lactivist you are! Thank you so much for what you’re doing. You’ve totally understood the “sharing information and giving support” thing. You’ve pointed out the glaring violation of the WHO recommendations by rephrasing them. (Up to 6m!!!) I am getting SUCH a kick out of reading you! Keep up the wonderful work you’re doing. Your work is very much liked and appreciated.
    Charlotte Yonge
    Presidente Allaitement pour tous.

  • James Akré

    Given that breastfeeding is by nature a female act, some people might wonder how men can be passionate in this connection. In my view, a thinking-man’s approach to nurturing and nutrition is entirely consistent with our shared heritage as mammals.

    One needn’t be a neuroscientist to observe that we can never achieve our full neurocognitive developmental potential if we don’t begin life by consuming the food that is unique to our species. Breastfeeding doesn’t make us smarter; rather, not breastfeeding results in our falling short of our genetic intellectual potential.

    As a male born in 1944, I spent my first two decades in the USA. I came of age in a highly confused anti-pleasure Puritanical environment where distrust, even fear, of our bodies was in constant conflict with a morbid fascination with sexuality divorced from recognition of our status as mammals. I concluded long ago that we can do better by acting consistently with our nature in place of varying degrees of denial and hypocrisy, and the dysfunction they generate. For the newborn baby, this begins at the breast.

    Thus, being male hardly disqualifies us from having strong feelings about breast milk and breastfeeding any more than it dispenses us from acting on this basis. Yes, I’m a father of three and a grandfather of six; but there’s no need for any of that to understand the significance of surrounding ourselves with healthy, well-adjusted and clever people who begin life’s journey consistent with Nature’s plan. We are mammals after all; this is what we do, or at least what we should be doing.

    To summarize:
    – There are no benefits to breastfeeding, only varying degrees of risk – for the health of mothers and children, throughout the life course – of not breastfeeding.
    – Referring to the ‘benefits of breastfeeding’ is equivalent to discussing the ‘benefits of walking upright on two feet’. Both are defining features – no more, and certainly no less – of what it means to be human.
    – Mammals in general have been evolving for about 260 million years and our species for between 70,000 and 100,000 years of that. Each species produces a unique milk for its young.
    – Children will never achieve their full genetic potential by starting postpartum life with ingesting a pediatric fast-food prepared from the milk of an alien species.

    The best place to be? Where all people, because they are informed, caring and supportive, not only anticipate that mothers and children breastfeed; they also make the right moves – defined as the easy and obvious things to do because they are part of usual behavior – to ensure that society as a whole contributes accordingly.

    Breastfeeding is not a woman’s issue. Breastfeeding is not a man’s issue. Breastfeeding is a human issue of fundamental importance to us all.

    James Akré
    Geneva, Switzerland

  • Thank you Charlotte for your support and encouragement! You are welcome to share the link of our discussion group for English-speaking fathers “Papallaitants UK-Dads Only” :

  • Dear Pascal,

    What you are doing is fine and commendable. Keep it up!!


  • Pushpa Panadam

    We need more fathers and men like you… aware that breastfeeding is what we humans are about, that makes us different from reptiles, birds… Thank you Pascal. We have been bombarded far too often too long that we believe the misleading information about our bodies, our babies and of our human society. Education and correct information helps us to continue learning and growing as people.

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