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director's statement

BREASTMILK is about how people cope with one of the most intimate decisions they will make in their lives and how those around them react. There are dozens of instructional videos and books, battalions of breastfeeding experts and lactation consultants, and DIY how-to videos on YouTube, but no film has followed real people, showing what breastfeeding is really like and whether they succeed or fail to meet their goals, or inhabit some gray area in between.

In a society that values efficiency, multitasking, and diagnostic solutions to problems, and in which women's roles are constantly changing, how does the practice of breastfeeding, with the slower pace it requires, fit in? Do we use pumps, medicine, and other means to make breastfeeding suit our schedules better, or should we change ourselves? These questions, along with the current state of women's politics, feminism, and reproductive health, made breastfeeding an irresistible subject for me. 

BREASTMILK also explores how the personal is political. In the early 1960’s, at the dawn of the women’s rights movement, biological feminism meant access to The Pill – an event that forever changed society and women’s roles in it. Traditional women’s roles, including childbirth and breastfeeding but also domestic pursuits, were not always a welcome part of this new feminist picture. Today as millions of women decide when and how to give birth and when and how to breastfeed, it has taken on a broader, more complete meaning. Biological feminism is more than the pill or being pro-choice. It is also about the choice to use one’s body to have babies--and breastfeed.

Our style is observational. We wanted to remain neutral and open to all experiences and to include all women viewers, rather than exclude or judge those who don’t breastfeed. We are not trying to convince women to breastfeed. Rather, we are exposing the real-life predicaments that frequently make it difficult for women to achieve their goals.

- Dana Ben-Ari