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The Milky Way (2013)
The spectacular benefits of breast-feeding for newborns are well established, so, when it comes to supporting nursing mothers, why does the United States lag far behind so many other countries? The filmmakers of The Milky Way look at the obstacles faced by nursing mothers in America, and then travel overseas to learn from societies where breastfeeding is fully supported.
Americans’ insane preoccupation with work and careers severely limits maternity leave, forcing mothers to return to work much too soon. Then, there are no accommodations for nursing mothers in the office, as well as in other public places. Too often, new mothers in need of help find overly busy and inadequately trained consultants who give up on breastfeeding too quickly. And then there’s the large sums of money spent by the large producers of infant formula to influence the medical profession as well as new mothers.
Searching for better alternatives, the filmmakers visited St. Joseph’s hospital in Germany where the natal care staff promotes lots of contact between parents and newborn, advocating as much skin-on-skin contact as possible, and certainly stressing the benefits of breastfeeding, which go well beyond fulfilling simple nutrition needs. The filmmakers also travel to Sweden, which has one of the world’s highest percentage of breastfeeding mothers. There they discover what kinds of social arrangements encourage and allow for such an approach.
The Milky Way captures how mothers can access their inner knowledge, trust their babies and their own body’s wisdom, and why they should. The mission is to elevate the nursing mother to a place in society where she receives all the necessary support to nurse her child, where scientific evidence overrides marketing influences, and a woman does not fear nursing in public.