British Columbia

Breastfeeding pics pulled from B.C. mom's Facebook

A Vancouver mother is calling foul after Facebook pulled pictures of her breastfeeding off its website, calling the photos sexually explicit.

Emma Kwasnica says website should leave breastfeeding images alone

A Vancouver mother is calling foul after Facebook pulled pictures of her breastfeeding off its website, calling the photos sexually explicit.

Emma Kwasnica, a breastfeeding advocate, said the social networking website recently pulled two pictures of her daughters — now two and four years old — being breastfed because they contravene the site's strict no-nudity policy.

"The most recent time it happened is when I logged in Saturday morning and there was a message, a clear message, saying that, 'We have removed sexually explicit content from your account,'" she said.

Kwasnica said Facebook is discriminating against nursing mothers, something she calls outrageous.

"I really don't understand the issue with this. The World Health Organization suggests that babies and children should be breastfed up to two years of age minimum and beyond as long as mutually desirable for the mother and child," she said.

"In public policy, everyone pressures women — breastfeeding is great, you need to breastfeed — but then when women do, they're told that's disgusting or that's gross."

'No sexual connotation'

Kwasnica said categorizing the photos as sexually explicit is ridiculous.

This is one of the pictures pulled from Facebook. (Courtesy of Emma Kwasnica)

"I mean, this is a baby or a child eating. There's no sexual connotation here whatsoever. This is just what babies do," she said.

"We need to support mothers in this. This is a protected legal right. Facebook has now moved into the realm of public domain ... and laws of discrimination should apply on Facebook as they do in the real world and a nursing mother has a right to breastfeed in public. It should not even be an issue on Facebook."

Kwasnica said she initially posted the pictures to help other mothers.

"The more that women see photos of breastfeeding, the more it becomes normal and the more it's easier for them to breastfeed their babies," she said.

"This isn't about attention-seeking. This is about normalizing breastfeeding and helping the health and well-being of our future, our children and our babies."

Breastfeeding 'needs to be left alone on Facebook'

Kwasnica is calling on Facebook to amend its policy and allow images of breastfeeding to appear on the site.

In an email to CBC News, a Facebook spokesperson said the company does allow breastfeeding photos, but only those that are compliant with the website's standards as expressed in Facebook's statement of rights and responsibilities.

"However, photos which contain a fully exposed breast do violate our terms and may be removed if they are reported to us," the spokesperson said.

Kwasnica said that distinction is unacceptable.

"All breastfeeding images need to be left right alone on Facebook," she said. "That's the only acceptable policy and that's the only way we will stop."