Thank you to Natalie from the amazing Monkey Mama Necklaces who flagged this up. Natalie said
“I came across a little craziness this morning. Etsy has been hassling sellers of breastmilk products (primarily soaps, and I also know of one seller that makes lovely keepsake jewellery from your milk), as it deems human milk to be ‘human remains’ and prohibits it. Milk from other animals is A okay as an ingredient/ supply though. If you’d like to register your support to lobbying Etsy to classify human milk in the same way as any other milk and not in the same category as a human body part, please think about signing this petition. Thanks!”
This is the story behind the petition:
“My name is April. I am the mother of two, a 22 month old toddler and a daughter who passed away shortly after birth. I have an Etsy.com store where I sell soaps, most made with human breast milk, and I use the proceeds from that store to buy plaster handprint molds for families of babies who pass away, so they will always have a memory of their child.
Etsy.com is a place to buy unique, handcrafted items from local artisans and stay at home parents. It is a place to sell vintage clothing and homemade baked goods. At Etsy.com, you are encouraged to celebrate your individualism and creativity. But today, the Etsy.com Marketplace Integrity team has disappointed me and many others with the emails that classify breast milk as “human remains” and prohibit any items made with it.
I recieved an email from Etsy.com stating that I had prohibited items for sale in my shop, and that they needed to be removed. I was confused, because I had thoroughly read Etsy.com‘s Prohibited Items list, and there was nothing stating that I could not make soap out of breast milk and sell it on the site. It was stated in the email that breast milk soap is prohibited because it is classified as “human remains”. What!?
I have started this petition on change.org to state that breast milk should not be classified the same as a human body part, semen, urine, vaginal secretions, blood, or saliva. Breast milk is composed like any other milk from any other species, and if goat’s milk or cow’s milk soap is available, than human milk soap should be allowed, also.
All milks, from any species, have the same properties. All milks contain fats, proteins, lipids, and nutrients, among other things, to nourish the young from the mother. All milks contain hormones from the mother, because it takes hormones to induce lactation. Human breast milk has been shown to combat illnesses, and it has been shown to be effective at relieving various skin ailments.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states on their website: “No special precautions exist for handling expressed human milk, nor does the milk require special labeling. It is not considered a biohazard. The Universal Precautions to prevent the transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Hepatitis B virus, and other bloodborne pathogens do not apply to human milk.” (http://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/disease/hiv.htm)
FOX news even reported that human milk might even destroy HIV (http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/06/15/breast-milk-may-block-hiv-transmission/).
I think that all milk can carry benefits and risks, but all milk should be treated equal. Human, goat, cow, camel, bison, yak; pasteurized or raw. Milk is milk. Since Etsy.com is allowing animal milk use in products, human milk should be allowed as well.
Etsy.com, please stop the prohibition of breast milk soaps/products on your site. You allow the sale of baked goods that may come from unclean kitchens. You allow taxedermy (dead, stuffed animals) and animal bones. But the sale of soap made from human milk, that undergoes the same heating process as other milks during the soap making process, is prohibited?
Human breast milk is not “human remains”!”
This is from Eva who owns Born, one of our lovely Lactivist sponsors. Many of the small companies who support Lactivist and help keep it running are also campaigners and passionate about breastfeeding. Eva from Born is one of those people, please take a second to sign the petition and to share it.
“As the owner of a nursery store, as well as being the person that completes the VAT returns, I am very aware of how much we pay in VAT to HMRC on behalf of our customers. VAT is charged on what the Government deems non-essential items and luxuries, so baby clothing, nappies and books are Zero rated for VAT, whilst pretty much everything else has 20% VAT incorporated into the retail price.
In the past, campaigners have managed to get the VAT rate on menstrual products such as disposable towels, tampons, washable pads and Mooncups down to 5% (after campaigning for zero VAT status), as these items are essential and not something you would buy for ‘fun’. The same reduction in VAT happened to baby and child car seats after lobbying by the industry and consumer support. What this petition is asking for is a similar consideration to be applied to all items that are only purchased to support mothers in providing babies with breastmilk.
Rather than 5% VAT I would like these items to be Zero rated for VAT, because breast milk is food. All other essential foods are zero rated for VAT, as are formula milks and other animal and plant milks.
If you too would like to see the VAT rate of breastfeeding essentials brought down to Zero please sign my petition at.
My name is Lucy and I am student midwife in Sheffield. I am currently running a petition in an attempt to promote breastfeeding advertisement, on televison, in the media etc.
I have a group on Facebook and am having flyers made to help the promotion in the city centre’s and around university.
I was wondering if there is anyway the petition could be advertised on your website anywhere, maybe in a forum? I was recommended the site through a member of the ‘Breastmilk advertisement on television’group on Facebook.
The link to the facebook page is:
The group is called Breastmilk advertising on TV!
The link to the petition is ; http://?epetitions.direct.gov.uk/?petitions/31599
Breast milk advertising on television and radio – e-petitions
This is an article in the Independant on Sunday.
Please take a moment to sign the petition asking 10 Downing Street to bring back funding for Breastfeeding Awareness Week
Critics say move may undo years of work, just as message on benefits of mothers’ milk gets through
By Susie Mesure
The benefits to babies of breastfeeding are unequivocal, according to campaigners
“Breast is best” is the simple message healthcare providers like to drum into new mothers’ exhausted brains. Their jobs will get a little harder this year after the Government controversially axed its support for National Breastfeeding Week, which was due to run next month.
Campaigners last night warned that the move, which will save just a few hundred thousand pounds, risked undoing years of good work just at a time when the message on the benefits of breast milk were starting to get through.
The decision means there will be no UK-wide campaign to remind parents that breastfeeding is the easiest way to give your baby a head start. The latest research, released earlier this month, revealed that breastfed babies are less likely to have behavioural problems by the age of five than those given formula milk.
The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) said it was “disappointed” by the U-turn, which increases pressure on local support groups to step in instead. Janet Fyle, the RCM’s professional policy adviser, said a national campaign “galvanises everybody, from professionals to mother-to-mother groups”. She warned: “It is not cost effective to drop something with which you have had some success. The Government needs to look at all the very good work that it has done to generate interest in breastfeeding, and the help that support groups have received.”
Belinda Phipps, chief executive of the National Childbirth Trust, a charity that supports new mothers, called the Government’s move “frustrating”. She said mums wanted to breastfeed but often found they struggled because they lacked support. She called for “better training” for midwives and more support for organisations such as the NCT, which has its own training scheme for breastfeeding counsellors.
“The evidence of the health benefits of breastfeeding is unequivocal. But as a society we have a funny attitude towards breastfeeding because breasts are used for sex, so I can see why [promoting breastfeeding] is not a total win-win for government,” Ms Phipps added.
Although the latest infant feeding survey, due out shortly, is expected to show a slight increase in the numbers of women breastfeeding, it remains a contentious issue. World Health Organization recommendations state that mothers should exclusively breastfeed their babies until they are six months old, but existing figures show that barely a third of British babies are exclusively breastfed at one week and just a fifth at six weeks. By the time babies are four months old, the figures plunge to 7 per cent, giving the UK one of the worst breastfeeding records in the developed world.
Campaigns have featured the likes of Nell McAndrew, the glamour model, who breastfed her son well into toddlerhood. The year that McAndrew fronted National Breastfeeding Week, a third of mothers from C2DE backgrounds said that seeing her extol the virtues of breast milk had made them think more positively about it.
The Department of Health yesterday defended its decision. A spokesperson said it valued work being done by other organisations to promote breastfeeding, adding: “During this transition phase, we will be considering how infant nutrition will be delivered to support better health outcomes.”
Among those stepping into the breach is the retailer Mothercare, which intends to team up with the RCM to host in-store advice clinics for new mothers during what would have been National Breastfeeding Week, from 19 to 25 June. The NCT will also be running special events.
There is a petition that is very easy to sign and if you want to share this on your sites or blogs please just cut and paste the code between the arrows,
<img src=”http://www.lactivist.net/images/bring_back_lactivist.jpg” />
<iframe width=’120′ height=’42′ src=’http://www.petitiononline.com/signatures.php?petition=fundBFAW’ frameborder=’0′ scrolling=’no’></iframe> </p>
it will look like this with a number count below it:
If you prefer to just have a link to the petition with no picture then here it is:
The government have withdrawn funding for Breastfeeding Awareness Week this year. I am sure many of you agree that this is a short sighted way to cut spending as breastfeeding saves money (and lives). Breastfed babies cost the NHS less. Anyway – Lactivist.net will still be running (funded from sales of pro breastfeeding goodies at www.lactivist.co.uk and by advertisers sponsorship) and I’ll still have competitions and giveaways on the facebook page.
I’ve set up a petition to ask the Dept of Health to continue to fund Breastfeeding Awareness Week.
please take a moment to sign it.
The 10 Downing St website says ‘In line with the commitments in the Programme for Government published in May 2010, e-petitions that receive 100,000 signatures or more will be eligible for debate in Parliament.’ They will continue to issue responses to e-petitions that exceed the 500-signature threshold but if we could get this to Parliament it would stand more chance of working.
Please share this link around – if you think I need to revise the wording just let me know.
This is the official news:
The Department of Health has withdrawn its funding for National Breastfeeding Awareness Week this year.
The annual campaign to promote breastfeeding was scheduled to take place between Sunday, 19 June and Saturday, 25 June, 2011, but a spokesman for the Department of Health has confirmed that no funding would be available this year.
She said: “The department is unable to offer any funding this year for National Breastfeeding Week.
“However, support and information is currently available to health professionals and parents via NHS Choices, the National Breastfeeding Helpline, UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative and the peer support programmes.
“We value the work being done by many of the dedicated professional bodies and other organisations in this area who, along with the government, are committed to promoting breastfeeding.
“During this transition phase, we will be considering how infant nutrition will be delivered to support better health outcomes.”
The spokesman added: “We hope that the good work continues, enabling key partners to plan and run coordinated events and activities in support of breastfeeding.
“As part of the government’s Big Society agenda, we will continue to provide information to key partners to support and encourage local activities to deliver better health outcomes.”
Demoralised, powerless, overworked, scared and ignored……. Five words one should never need to hear from Midwives.
So why is it that more and more Midwives in the UK are feeling this way?
In the UK the role of the Midwife is being stretched to such an alarming length that many feel something soon will snap and none of them want it to be on their shift! Valuable, experienced and amazingly talented midwives are leaving the profession because they feel they are treading a very fine line between life and death.
This isn’t an over dramatisation of facts this is how the system is currently….. and yes we mean currently in 2010 not 1810!!
Midwives expected to care for more labouring mothers than is recommended, Midwives working past their salaried shifts, Babies and Mothers left unchecked because there simply isn’t anyone to check them, basic human needs such as refreshment and comfort breaks are being scrapped because quite simply…. if the Midwife leaves to have her break there would be no one to care for the Mothers & Babies!
The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) estimates that an extra 5,000 midwives are needed in England alone simply to offer a basic standard of care.
“If it is a system failure then if anything goes wrong the Midwife will be covered”
Not according to The Nursing and Midwifery Council [NMC] code which says:
As a professional, you are personally accountable for actions and omissions in your practice and must always be able to justify your decisions.
Anyone that has tried to blame the system will know… it isn’t easy.
“So tell someone up top!”
Indeed… it also states in the NMC: You must inform someone in authority if you experience problems that
prevent you working within this code or other nationally agreed standards. You must report your concerns in writing if problems in the environment of care are putting people at risk
This has been done by countless Midwives and it is apparent that no action is being taken to improve things.
“Why don’t they go on strike?”
Well that would be a start, that would be one way of bringing the public awareness to a slippery slope situation. But here’s the spanner in that work…. Midwives are not permitted to strike or rather they are but arebound by their duty of care codes.. see NMC code reference above!
“OK so how can we help?”
Sign this petition to show that you would like to see a major overhaul of the Maternity Care System especially the working conditions, patient safety and rights of the Midwife.
Also in the comments please let us know if you would be willing to take part in a peaceful protest in London next year.
The UK Maternity System needs reviewing urgently to ensure the safety of Mothers and Babies.
In light of the recent Press Complaints Commission decisions concerning breastfeeding issues in the press, we have felt it necessary to request that special consideration be given to breastfeeding coverage. Such consideration is afforded to other groups at risk of discrimination and although breastfeeding is entirely natural and normal, we feel that inaccurate and unbalanced reportage of the topic is not only commonplace, but also constitutes a health risk to mothers and their babies. The wording of the petition is as follows, and you can sign it here.
To: OFCOM/ PCC We would like to petition the Press Complaints Commission to implement additional ‘special guidelines’ to cover all areas of reportage concerning breastfeeding. It has become apparent that the current complaints procedure does not wield sufficient power in this area. Whilst breastfeeding is NORMAL and NATURAL, breastfeeding mothers still experience a degree of marginalisation within society.
Statements casting doubt on the many benefits of breastfeeding (which have been unquestionably confirmed through research) are frequently made in all areas of the media. Inaccurate, misleading and harmful statements about the effects of breastfeeding on a woman’s body, her social life, or her working rights (and more) are also frequently made. All such statements give rise to a health risk, as in contrast to babies who are breastfed and their mothers, formula fed babies and their mothers run an increased risk of many medical conditions. We feel any discussion of breastfeeding should also include accurate information about the risks of not breastfeeding so that mothers can make fully informed decisions. We believe the media has an obligation in this area which is not being fulfilled and are contacting you under your commitment to community dialogue as a concerned group.
The PCC code includes rules concerning the protection of ‘individuals at risk of racial, religious, sexual or other forms of discrimination.’ Many mothers are extremely vulnerable during pregnancy and in the weeks following birth. Being exposed to misinformation, unbalanced reportage and speculation during this time can result in a woman making ‘life-changing’ decisions which can affect her health, and the health & well-being of her child.
The amendments to the pregnancy and maternity provision contained within the Equality Act 2010 signify a recognition by the government that discrimination against breastfeeding mothers DOES exist within society, and seeks to provide additional protection for them. The government also acknowledges that breastfeeding ‘is important to the health of both mother and child.’
The OFCOM broadcasting code section 2 covers ‘Harm and Offence’ and seeks to protect public health. It also requires that ‘Appropriate information should also be broadcast where it would assist in avoiding or minimising offence’. We feel that because factual information regarding the risks of not breastfeeding is frequently omitted from media reportage, it results in breastfeeding advocates being criticised for publicly stating proven facts about such risks. This creates further discrimination.
Although breastfeeding is normal, natural and is accepted in many areas of the country as such, a strong current of disapproval still exists within society. Such disapproval has caused other ‘minority groups’ to be afforded special protection within the PCC and OFCOM codes, and we feel it’s important at this point in time that we ask for the same protection in line with current UK legislation.
Supporting Information: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2812877/ http://www.llli.org/NB/NBSepOct05p208a.html http://www.promom.org/bf_info/why_bf.htm http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2004/may/14/health.medicineandhealth2 http://www.ucl.ac.uk/ich/ich-news/Article4 (obesity) http://www.howbreastfeedingworks.com/?p=58=1
Sincerely, The Undersigned
In order for this petition to carry any weight at all, it’s vital that we get as many signatories as possible.
Please share it as widely as you can. Many Thanks.
Please sign the petition to the UK government here:
Breastfeeding rates in the UK are appallingly low with only 20% of babies being breastfed at 12 weeks after birth in recent years – this contrasts starkly with countries like Denmark and Norway, where 98% of babies are breastfed at birth, and 75% are exclusively breastfed for the recommended six months. It is unlikely to be coincidental that in these countries, all marketing of infant formula is banned.
The UK government is putting commercial interests before infant & maternal health, and allowing infant formula companies to breach The World Health Organisation’s International Code on the Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes.
Bottle-fed babies are five times more likely to suffer gastroenteritis in the first two years of life, twice as likely to be admitted to hospital with respiratory problems in the first two years of life, as well as being more prone to ear infections, coughs, colds and other ailments. They are also at greater risk of developing early onset diabetes, and developing digestive problems and obesity in later life.
As well as the benefits to babies (both physically and emotionally), breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancers in mothers.