Challenging Society’s Views of Infant Feeding: Behind the Scenes of “The Milky Way” Movie

World Breastfeeding Week 2013Today, we introduce Chantal Molnar, RN, MA, IBCLC, from Piece of My Heart Productions, home of the “The Milky Way” documentary (formerly “Bottled UP!”) to discuss the recent making of this film with Jennifer Davidson, RN, BSN, IBCLC, who works with pediatrician Dr. Jay Gordon, longtime supporter of Attachment Parenting International.

The Milky Way Movie Sizzle from The Milky Way on Vimeo.

Chantal and Jennifer repeatedly find that there is no one right way to assist new mothers in finding confidence in their own instincts, and many mothers find solutions to their problems that cannot be found in any book. Yet, mothers are desperate for solutions that help them to be good mothers.

This is why Jennifer and Chantal decided to create a documentary that addresses the issues facing mothers in the 21st Century. It is their goal to support women in accessing that feminine knowing that allows them to trust their bodies, trust their breasts, trust their babies and trust themselves.

And so, without further ado, Chantal…

Our mission is to restore the phenomenon of the nursing mother to the cultural landscape.

Did you know that, in the United States, 75% of all mothers attempt to breastfeed, but a meager 15% of American women successfully breastfeed?

Why do so many women start out breastfeeding but find themselves up against overwhelming obstacles? And why do so many other countries have a higher success rate, some as high as 96%? The “hero” in our film, “The Milky Way,” Jennifer, sets out to discover what happens between the beginning of breastfeeding and the reality of the statistics, including traveling to Germany and Sweden to find out what they do differently.

Our Inspiration

Time and again in our lactation practice, we see mothers who have been saturated with fear. “Don’t sleep with your baby!” “Don’t nurse so much!” “Don’t pick up your baby so much, you will spoil her!” “Your baby is not gaining enough! Supplement!” “Get him on a schedule!” “Is she sleeping through the night?” “Slings are dangerous!” And on and on. You get the picture.

As lactation consultants, Jennifer and I do our best to guide mothers into what ordinarily is second nature for them but has been scared out of them. We encourage mothers to follow the knowledge within, and lead them to trust the process. We find that so many women have trouble with breastfeeding and self-confidence, and that they are often made to feel inadequate by the very medical professionals that are being paid to serve them.

Our inspiration is the mothers. We are inspired by the many mothers who have taught us about trust and the many mothers whom we have empowered to trust in themselves.

Our mantra is: “Trust your body, trust your baby, trust yourself.” Jennifer and I have built our practice on this foundation: that mothers are fully capable of knowing what their baby needs, and babies are competent to communicate their needs.

There is no baby without a mother. The mother is a baby’s habitat – its home. When a baby is in skin-to-skin contact or in close contact with mother, such as in babywearing or cosleeping, baby is able to synchronize heart rate and breathing rate with the adult.

This foundation is based upon the MotherBaby being together – no separation at birth, early skin-to-skin contact, breastfeeding, cosleeping and babywearing. It is through frequent physical closeness that a baby communicates and mother responds. It is within this context that mother and baby express fully the programs within: the breastfeeding program in the baby and the mothering program in the mother. Being unhindered and unseparated releases the full manifestation of their intrinsic abilities.

That is the inspiration behind “The Milky Way” Movie.

We decided to supplement our practice with a film – a culture-changing film that is as revolutionary as it is beautiful. We will take you on a journey that will outrage and incite, enlighten and inspire, as we expose the social programming that derails breastfeeding and explore:

  • Why this is happening?
  • Who benefits?
  • What is at stake?

Furthering the Breastfeeding Movement

“The Milky Way” will contribute to the breastfeeding and parenting communities, as well as elevate women in general and transform the cultural perception of breastfeeding. We will empower mothers through a film designed to elicit each mother’s own embodied wisdom and encourage each woman to have confidence in herself during her journey through motherhood. Our film will counteract the century-long ad campaign that successfully vanquished the collective intuitive knowledge that women shared for most of history. We want to see women be so knowledgeable in how it can be that they will demand that medical professionals provide the kind of care that they want and need, because change in medicine is based on consumer demand.

Along with a film, we are creating a movement that is galactic in scope. Our mission is to elevate the nursing mother to a place in society where she receives all the necessary support to successfully nurse a child, where scientific evidence overrides marketing influences, and a woman does not fear breastfeeding in public. After the movie releases, we will shift gears and proceed to build a movement through a nonprofit organization that will continue where the film left off.

When all women are secure in their inner wisdom, their intrinsic knowing, and when they are confident and ready to step into their power and authority as mothers, our work will be done. This is our chance to make a tremendous difference in the lives of many women.

Behind the Film’s Name

We changed our name from “Bottled UP!” to “The Milky Way” because of a painting Jennifer saw in a museum when she was in Spain over Christmas. It is a painting by Paul Rubens of the creation of the Milky Way.

As the story goes, Zeus had an illegitimate mortal baby. He wanted the baby to become divine, so while Zeus’ wife, Hera, was sleeping, Zeus put the baby on her breast, which would impart divinity upon his son. Hera woke up, realized what was happening, and pulled the baby off her breast, spraying breastmilk all over the universe, creating the Milky Way. We delved a little deeper and discovered that even the root of the word “galaxy” refers to breastmilk, so the Milky Way was created and named for mother’s milk!

Learn more about this film through our Facebook page at and our website at

Chantal and Jennifer, the lactation consultants and producers behind "The Milky Way" Movie, visit with a client at her home about breastfeeding

Photo: Chantal and Jennifer, the lactation consultants and producers behind “The Milky Way” Movie, visit with a client at her home about breastfeeding

Author: Rita Brhel

Rita Brhel, BS, CLC, API Leader, lives with her family near Hastings, NE, USA, where she works as a WIC Breastfeeding Counselor. She also writes for Mothering and La Leche League's New Beginnings.

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