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[Review] Breastmilk

Promotional image for Breastmilk

To be honest, I’m out of my element with this one. I’m at that age where all of my friends are starting their families, and being a single guy surrounded by married couples and kids has been a huge change of pace from my early 20s. Lately, I’ve been on the receiving end of parenting from who I consider to be a “Super Mom,” getting a very detailed perspective on child rearing from a maternal point of view. In saying that, I felt like watching Breastmilk, a documentary on breast feeding, would be a more formal extension of those conversations. I didn’t exactly get what I was looking for… then again, I don’t really know what I was trying to get out of a documentary on breast feeding.

Director: Dana Ben-Ari
Rating: N/A

Release Date: August 5th, 2014 (Purchase Here)

Breastmilk follows a handful of women through their first year of motherhood, linked together by the topic of breast feeding. Based on my external conversations on the subject, I know that breast feeding is very important and nutritious for newborns. However, I don’t really know why. I was hoping that Breastmilk would illuminate the pros and cons of breast feeding… but it doesn’t do that. In fact, where most documentaries will have a stringent narrative (complete with a narrator guiding the documentary along), Breastmilk follows a loose outline over the course of the year, keying in on specific points relating to the trials and hardships of breast feeding.

Without the proper background information, I don’t know why women choose breast feeding over formula. Breastmilk does hone in on the emotional and psychological connection a mother has with her child through breast feeding, but I was expecting a more scientific explanation for it.  I really love loose narratives in documentaries, as it lets the subjects (and editors) set the tone for the films; however, I guess I just had too much of an expectation that, ultimately, can’t be wholly held against director Dana Ben-Ari.

breastmilk1 [Review] Breastmilk

In saying that, I’m obviously not the demographic Breastmilk was targeting. I think the documentary would be a great supplementary tool for expectant mothers to see what breast feeding is like over the course of a baby’s first year alongside the standard texts recommended by doctors. However, it doesn’t inform or educate as much as I think it could have. As a single male in his late-20s, I guess what I expected were first-hand, entertaining lessons on breast feeding directly from first-time mothers. Instead, I got inundated with stories about latching, inabilities to produce excess breast milk, and more. While I loved learning about the other aspects to breast feeding, I still felt slighted not truly being explained the benefits of it in the first place.

Geoff Henao is a writer/kinda photographer affiliated with the Chicago collective LOD. His interests include film, punk rock, cute girls, graphic novels, video games, and the Chicago Bulls. He’s funny sometimes.



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