Our mission is to restore the phenomenon of the nursing mother to the cultural landscape.
Chantal Molnar, RN, MA, IBCLC (far left in photo), lives in Orange, California, USA, with her family. She worked more than 20 years for the University of California’s Irvine Medical Center.
Jennifer Davidson, RN, BSN, IBCLC (far right in photo, helping a client with Chantal), lives in Santa Monica, California, USA. She works with pediatrician Jay Gordon, MD, a member of API’s Advisory Board.
Did you know that, in the United States, 75% of all mothers attempt to breastfeed, but a meager 15% of American women successfully breastfeed?
Why do so many women start out breastfeeding but find themselves up against overwhelming obstacles? And why do so many other countries have a higher success rate, some as high as 96%? Jennifer, the hero in our film, “The Milky Way,” sets out to discover what happens between the beginning of breastfeeding and the reality of the statistics, which includes traveling to Germany and Sweden to find out what they do differently. Get a glimpse.
Behind the Film’s Name
We changed the name of the film from “Bottled UP!” to “The Milky Way” because of a painting Jennifer saw in a museum when she was in Spain. It is a painting by Paul Rubens of the creation of the Milky Way.
As the story goes, Zeus had an illegitimate mortal baby. He wanted the baby to become divine, so while Zeus’ wife, Hera, was sleeping, Zeus put the baby on her breast, which would impart divinity upon his son. Hera woke up, realized what was happening, and pulled the baby off her breast, spraying breastmilk all over the universe, creating the Milky Way.
We delved a little deeper and discovered that even the root of the word “galaxy” refers to breastmilk, so the Milky Way was created and named for mother’s milk!
Time and again in our lactation practice, we see mothers who have been saturated with fear: “Don’t sleep with your baby!” “Don’t nurse so much!” “Don’t pick up your baby so much; you will spoil her!” “Your baby is not gaining enough! Supplement!” “Get him on a schedule!” “Is she sleeping through the night?” “Slings are dangerous!” And on and on. You get the picture.
As lactation consultants, Jennifer and I do our best to guide mothers into what ordinarily would be second nature for them but has been scared out of them. We encourage mothers to follow the knowledge within and lead them to trust the process. We find that so many women have trouble with breastfeeding and self-confidence, and they are often made to feel inadequate by the very medical professionals being paid to serve them.
Our inspiration is the mothers. We are inspired by the many mothers who have taught us about trust and the many mothers whom we have empowered to trust in themselves.
Our mantra is: “Trust your body, trust your baby, trust yourself.” Jennifer and I have built our practice on this foundation: mothers are fully capable of knowing what their baby needs, and babies are competent to communicate their needs.
There is no baby without a mother. The mother is baby’s habitat—his home. When baby is in skin-to-skin contact or in close contact with mother, such as in babywearing or cosleeping, baby is able to synchronize heart rate and breathing rate with the adult.
This foundation is based upon the “MotherBaby,” the mother and baby as one unit, together—no separation at birth, early skin-to-skin contact, breastfeeding, cosleeping and babywearing. It is through frequent physical closeness that a baby communicates and mother responds. It is within this context that mother and baby express fully the programs within: the breastfeeding program in the baby and the mothering program in the mother. Being unhindered and unseparated releases the full manifestation of their intrinsic abilities.
That is the inspiration behind “The Milky Way.” We decided to complement our practice with a film, a culture-changing film that is as revolutionary as it is beautiful. We will take you on a journey that will outrage and incite, enlighten and inspire, as we expose the social programming that derails breastfeeding and explore why this is happening, who benefits and what is at stake.
Furthering the Breastfeeding Movement
“The Milky Way” contributes to the breastfeeding and parenting communities, as well as elevates women in general and transforms the cultural perception of breastfeeding. We empower mothers through a film designed to elicit each mother’s own embodied wisdom, and we encourage each woman to have confidence in herself during her journey through motherhood. Our film will counteract the century-long ad campaign that successfully vanquished the collective intuitive knowledge that women shared for most of history. We want to see women be so knowledgeable in how it can be that they will demand that medical professionals provide the kind of care that they want and need, because change in medicine is based on consumer demand.
Our mission is to elevate the nursing mother to a place in society where she receives all the necessary support to successfully nurse a child, where scientific evidence overrides marketing influences, and where a woman does not fear breastfeeding in public.
When all women are secure in their inner wisdom—their intrinsic knowing—and when they are confident and ready to step into their power and authority as mothers, our work will be done. This is our chance to make a tremendous difference in the lives of many women.