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Facebook removes new mom's preemie breastfeeding pic

Monica Beyer is a mom of four and has been writing professionally since 2000, when her first book, Baby Talk, was published. Her main area of interest is attachment parenting and all that goes with it, including breastfeeding, co-sleepin...

Mom posts a breastfeeding photo with her fragile preemie, and users flag it as obscene

A new mom, proudly showing off her profoundly premature daughter breastfeeding for the first time, was slapped in the face when someone reported the photo to Facebook, who went against their own policies and removed it.

Breastfeeding photos are now mostly allowed to be posted to Facebook without consequence, but that doesn't stop people from reporting the photos if they find offense to them. According to Facebook's own policies, they are not supposed to be removed, but sometimes they are. Such is the case with a British woman named Emma Bond who posted a proud moment when she nursed her fragile premature baby for the first time.

Bond's baby girl, Carene, was born 12 weeks early, and faced dire odds right after birth. She had been told by doctors that her baby may not make it. Fortunately, she's progressed enough since her early October birth to attempt to breastfeed — a moment Bond chose to capture in a photograph.

The photo was exclusive to her private friend list, so she was shocked when she received notification that it had been reported for review and was ultimately taken down. When someone reports your photo, it's an anonymous act, yet it's usually someone you know (unless, of course, your photo has a more public setting or you've tagged others when you posted it).

That level of betrayal hung heavy on Bond, who said that her friends and family knew what a terrible struggle they've had and how grateful they are to get to this point. Her moment of triumph was one that she wanted to share with others and it's terrible that it was reported.

Rachelle Lesteshen, a Breastfeeding USA Counselor and advocate says that this is likely yet another case of Facebook's rules being unevenly applied due to lack of employee training or flaws with the reporting feature. "Even though Facebook updated its policy on breastfeeding images back in May 2014, purportedly making the site more breastfeeding-friendly, photos continue to be removed," she tells me. "Facebook is not even following its own policies and mothers are ultimately getting hurt. Whatever the issue is, it needs to be fixed to reflect Facebook's acknowledgement on the importance of sharing breastfeeding pictures."

Facebook did eventually reverse their decision and republished the photo, stating that the removal was an error. But how many moms have to go through the stress of having their treasured photos reported and removed before the company thoroughly trains its employees?

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