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Breastfeeding Emoji?

November 17, 2016

On Thursday, the Unicode Consortium approved a breastfeeding emoji, along with 55 other new emojis. The breastfeeding emoji has garnered particular excitement, not only because it will allow women to visually depict an activity in which many of them engage regularly, but also because it could help reduce the social stigma around breastfeeding.

The emoji subcommittee of the Unicode Consortium is tasked with approving new emojis, which are based on proposals that people submit to the Consortium. The breastfeeding emoji proposal was submitted by Rachel Lee, a nurse at the University College of London Hospital. Lee argued that the pervasiveness of breastfeeding around the world means that it is a common thread that many women share, and, as such, it should be an activity that is depicted by an emoji. In her proposal advocating for the addition, Lee said:

The lack of a breastfeeding emoji represents a gap in the Unicode Standard given the prevalence of breastfeeding in cultures around the world, and throughout history.

While Lee submitted the official proposal to the Consortium, she was certainly not the one advocating for a breastfeeding emoji. In fact, according to Emojipedia, an online "emoji encyclopedia," which meticulously documents emojis and their updates, the breastfeeding emoji was among the top 30 most-requested emojis in 2016 by Emojipedia users.

submitted Heather Knott, RN-IBCLC

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