Monthly Archives: January 2015

Specialist butch pregnancy wear from Butchbaby & Co – Good Bye Maternity, Hello Alternity!

I spend a lot of time thinking about pregnancy and birth, often through a queer lens, so I was pretty excited to hear about US-based Butchbaby & Co, a new enterprise between Vanessa Newman & Michelle Janayea, with the tagline “Don’t change, just because your body does.
The first ever alternity wear for pregnant masculine, transgender, and queer individuals.”
recite-yz6boi

Their philosophy is that “Comfort is essential. Not a luxury. Pregnancy can be scary for anyone. But when you don’t fit the prototype for average, feminine woman, the experience can be less accommodating and even scarier. Butchbaby & Co. is designed to provide holistic comfort to one’s clothing and one’s lifestyle throughout the pregnancy experience. We strongly believe no individual’s identity should change just because their body does.”

I’m not butch myself, but I recognise there are going to be people who present masculine of centre, or who are just straight up masculine, who are gonna need clothes to wear during pregnancy. It makes me so happy that these two are making the clothes they want, not only for themselves but for people like them. And I really like the shifting of ‘maternity wear’ to ‘alternity wear’ – the kind of language hacks I want to see more of to shatter the idea that pregnancy is inherently womanly or feminine!

The expected due date (ha!) for the first collection is autumn 2015, and they are are planning an initial line of 8 items, comprising of:

  • Nursing T-shirt
  • Oxford button-up
  • Jeans
  • Pullover sweater
  • Zip-up hoodie
  • Sweatpants
  • Boxer briefs
  • Nursing sports bra

They are just starting out, so you can subscribe to updates through their website at http://butchbaby.co/. I am excited to see how their baby grows!

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If breast milk is best for babies… isn’t cow’s milk best for calves?!

As midwives, we promote the idea that breast milk is the best, most perfect food for babies. We support women/parents who have given birth to breastfeed, because breast milk provides exactly the right nutritional content – from the richer, super-concentrated colostrum when the baby is first born, to a later, more plentiful milk supply which both hydrates and nourishes depending on what the baby needs.

We support breastfeeding, because if a baby can’t be breastfed the alternative (with the exception of finding donor breast milk) is to feed the baby on formula milk, which is made from cow’s milk. This use of cow’s milk for babies isn’t what I am questioning here – it is imperative to ensure the baby is fed, and if the woman/parent either does not want to breastfeed or is unable to do so, then cow’s milk-based formula is a way do this. But as midwives we recognise that from an all-things-being-equal perspective, breast milk is better for the baby than cow’s milk because it is made especially for a growing human baby.

Excellent patch by Scum Sisters for sale at Etsy

Excellent patch by Scum Sisters for sale at Etsy

The thing that I find very weird, which seems almost too obvious to say, is…

In the same way human breast milk is perfectly composed to meet the needs of a growing human baby, cow’s milk is perfectly composed to help a baby calf grow into an adult cow! And yet in the West at least is is completely commonplace for adults to consume cows milk. It is considered weirder, in my experience at least, to try and avoid cow’s milk.

I think about this literally every time I think about breastfeeding, and I wonder if other, non-vegan midwives either don’t see the connection, or employ some kind of cognitive dissonance to put it out their minds. We are adults whose bodies have already grown, able to make our own choices (unlike the babies who may be fed cow’s milk based formula) but the overwhelming majority is choosing to drink cow’s milk, this liquid food perfectly composed to grow baby calves into cows. And yet there is uproar when breast milk is offered up for adult consumption, be it as ice cream or just as-is for perceived health benefits (warning for whorephobia) even though in both these cases, consent appears to be given from those producing the breastmilk!

I’ve been vegan before, and have just gone vegan again. Partly to free up some headspace when offering breastfeeding support (joke) but also because being vegetarian but not vegan always feels a bit inconsistent in terms of the animal welfare reasons I have for being vegetarian, and I tended to deal with it by just not thinking about where dairy comes from. The Veganuary campaign gave me the push to go from my long-term vegetarianism back into veganism.

And if you wanna buy the patch in the picture? Here’s the link!