Did you know that there is a World Breastfeeding Week? I did not, but I am not surprised, there is a day/week/month for everything. Well, world breastfeeding week is held every year from August 1st – 7th. It is rapidly approaching, so there may not every be a better time to talk about the boob! We all know the very popular argument of breast is best vs. fed is best.
I think most of us can all agree that breast milk is nutritionally better for a baby, but that formula is just as good, and of course we all understand at the end of the day if the baby is fed and healthy that is all that matters. For those mom’s like me who exclusively breastfed, we will all understand the struggles that come along with breastfeeding. It is not always as simple as popping out a boob and there you go.
Breastmilk digests a lot faster than formula, so feedings tend to be much more closer together. Also, babies like to go through these lovely little stages called ‘cluster feeding’ when they are getting ready to go through a growth spurt. It is their magical little way of building mom’s supply for when they need it. All of these reasons and many more is what makes it very hard to get a breastfed baby on a feeding schedule.
This means that *GASP* we may need to feed our children when we are out in public. We would like to think that everyone would just understand this and go on with their business, but they don’t. They feel the need to shame us for feeding our babies in public, telling us to cover up, or to pump or give formula when in public. Nothing gets a mama more mad then being told to cover up, not feed her baby or that what she is doing is indecent.
Not that we enjoy making all the moms out there mad, but we found 15 stories from mom’s who were publicly shamed for breastfeeding their children. We just had to share!
15Family Does Not Equal Fair Game
“The hardest blow I ever received was from my very own sister. My son was just under a year old, and she asked if I was ‘still nursing?’ Without thinking much about it, I said yes. Her response was clear and direct: it was ‘disgusting’ that I was nursing him at that age. What hurt most was that she had been present and supportive for my entire birth. It felt like my biggest ally had just become my biggest bully.”
Most of the time it hurts way worse than when a family or friend or even just someone who knows us says something is shameful, wrong or ‘disgusting’ about breastfeeding. When it is from your very own sister it can be a bitter pill to swallow. I hope she told her sister where to go, or even just nicely told her to mind her own business. We all know that there is nothing wrong with extended breastfeeding, which this mama was not even doing yet! The nerve!
14She Was Told She Would Scar Her For Life!
“I get a lot of comments from family asking when I’m going to stop breastfeeding my 13-month-old [and] why I won’t go into another room when I do it. They tell me I’m going to scar her for life by breastfeeding her for so long. The looks in public definitely have made me uncomfortable. I limit how often I nurse her in public. It’s definitely not stopping me from continuing to breastfeed and has not caused me to consider early weaning though, and I still plan to nurse for as long as it is working for us.”
Yet again, more comments from family members. Most of these shamers really lack some education on the topic. The older generation was not as encouraged to breast feed as the younger moms are. They just didn’t have the knowledge and resources that we have. This can sometimes lead to some misunderstanding and some pretty harsh statements.
13From A Doctor???
“My kid’s first pediatrician shamed me for nursing him ‘too much’ when he was all of a month old. Supposedly it was because she was worried that my nipples would get sore. When I told her that they weren’t and I didn’t mind, she just gave me the dirtiest look.”
This one confuses me, and I really hope this woman got a new doctor. Usually doctor’s are judged because they push breastfeeding too much, and this can make moms who can not breastfeed feel like they are failing. This time, it is the complete opposite. I do not know why a doctor would recommend that a mom NOT breastfeed her one-month old too much. I definitely do not buy the ‘worried about your nipples’ excuse. Us moms, we have to make some sacrifices. This whole situation is just really weird to me, and I definitely would like more information!
12What Is With All Of This?
“At my stepfather’s funeral I was nursing my 2-year-old. An old family friend, who has known me since I was 5, came over and told me that I should be ashamed of myself for nursing such an ‘old’ child. My mom came to my defense and said, ‘Nancy nurses all of her babies for a long time.'”
I do not understand why people think it is their choice or business to tell a mom how long she can breastfeed her child for. It is like a switch goes off, and once they turn a certain age breastfeeding is just not so beautiful anymore. A lot of mom’s nurse their children much past the age of 2, a lot of doctors recommend nursing until 2, so again this is probably another case of old-fashioned thinking and lack of information. Whether or not you agree with extended breastfeeding, it really is not your place to say anything.
“Every appointment after my daughter was 1, her pediatrician would start each visit with ‘You aren’t still breastfeeding, are you?’ And then she would go into a lecture about how my milk isn’t nutritional after she turns one. Luckily I didn’t listen to her and nursed her until she was 2.”
I am starting to get a little worried about all the doctor’s that are shaming breastfeeding mothers. What are they thinking. This is another situation where I hope the mother got a new doctor. To be so passive-aggressive when you are a stranger is one thing, when you are a doctor it is not only very ethically wrong, but it is unprofessional. I would also like to know where he went to medical school, as we all know that there are still many nutrients in breastmilk. It changes to match what the child needs as the child ages.
“[It happened to me] at a park near our home on a Wednesday morning. My 6-month-old baby got hungry so we sat on a blanket under a tree and I fed him. A group of three teenage boys walked by and didn’t even glance at us. Two women in jogging suits walked by a few minutes later and both glared at me. One said to the other (loudly), ‘I would never do that in public.’ Her friend replied, ‘Disgusting!’ And they walked past. I was so upset.”
This one not only breaks my heart, but does get my blood boiling a little bit. It is also interesting to show how the stereotypes we have are often very wrong. A lot of us probably would have assumed that the teenage boys would be the ones to have some immature and hurtful comment, but even they seemed to have more decency and humanity than the two women who passed her way. We think sometimes that just because women have the same parts as us, that they would just automatically understand and relate to us. Bad assumption!
9Check The Laws!
“It was the first full week of school. I got my daughters to school, stopped in the parents’ room, put [my baby] Finn in the carrier, and latched him onto my breast. As I walked past the classrooms — which were in a progressive school in the East Village of NYC — I first ignored the voice that said, ‘You can’t do that here,’ because certainly those words were not aimed at me. Then I heard it again louder and saw the guard stationed at the front desk looking at me with judgment in her eyes. ‘You can’t do that here,’ she repeated.”
It is important for women to look up their local laws on breastfeeding. In all of Canada, and most of the United States you have the legal right to breastfeeding in any public place that you need to. It is important to know your rights and defend them, not only for you but all of the breastfeeding moms out there.
8What IS Wrong With Some People?
“I was in the women’s locker room at the gym nursing my daughter when an older woman walked by. I heard her in the next row of lockers tell her friend, ‘Can you believe she’s breastfeeding in here? What is wrong with people?'”
I think the two women had a point in wondering what is wrong with some people, but I think they were asking about the wrong people. I wonder what the problem the older woman had, that the mom was nursing in public or that she was nursing in a locker room? Either way there is no problem! I think people need to take the approach where if they do not like something, then they shouldn’t look. Seems fair to me. What people do not understand is their comments can be very damaging to first-time, new mom who is already struggling. There is power in words, and it can be very dangerous.
7Great For You
“Right before being put under for surgery, I made it clear that I intended to breastfeed after I became alert. The anesthesiologist adamantly disagreed. As she began administering the drugs she told me she has three children, two are doctors and one an attorney, and none were breastfed.”
Everyone knows that there are certain procedure and medication that can make it difficult to breastfeed. That is why it is important to inform your healthcare provider so that you can both come up with a plan to make as little a change as possible. We also know there is no use in comparing children. The woman’s comments to this mom were not only hurtful, but totally inaccurate. There has been very minimal studies on the effect of breast vs. formula on the intelligence on children. Great for her, but there are also a ton of other successful careers.
6OK, Blood Is Boiling Again!
“I was approached by the restaurant manager and told that people were complaining as they did not want to see that while they were eating. He grabbed a tablecloth, and shielded me from the their view and was escorted to the basement.”
WHAT? I had to read this twice and check my sources to make sure this was an actual thing that happened to an actual mom. Sure enough, it was. A mom was nursing her two-month old son in a discrete corner of a charity function, when the even unfolded. Again, it is important to know your right. She had legal and humane right to do what she did, and what happened to her was extremely mortifying. This mom reached out and shared her story, and was so saddened to hear that many women have been through a similar situation.
5She Knew Her Rights
“[The employee] said it was against the museum policy and I had to stop,” “I refused and she said she would have to get her manager. I said I would be happy to speak with her manager. Moments later I was approached by a young woman. She said I would have to move and they had a private area where I could ‘do that’ I said I was fine where I was, and told her that legally I could nurse my child where ever I was permitted to be. (I wanted to be near where my family and other two children were posing for the pictures. I truly did not have time to stop the feeding and move to another location even if I wanted to.)”
This mother knew her rights and was not afraid to stick up for them. That doesn’t make this any less angering. An establishment is not allowed to just have a policy that goes against what the law states. That would be like saying well it’s against the law to murder someone, but here you can. I know it’s a little extreme, but it is the same in essence. Women are sometimes afraid to speak up for themselves, but we need to be strong or nothing will change.
4Food Court Fight
“An older gentleman said: ‘You can’t do it in public, it’s inappropriate’. A mum in her 30s said, 'That is so rude with children around.’ I couldn't believe it. Why would your child find it so weird to see a baby breastfeeding?”
I think all women love it when a man tells them not to breastfeed somewhere. This of course was full of sarcasm, we hate it. This incident occurred in a local shopping mall’s food court, and the other mom’s comment about doing it in front of children is so very backward in thinking. Why don’t we educate our children about breastfeeding. The child are our future, so maybe if we teach them young that it is so healthy and natural we can bring an end to the stigma and shaming. Children are innocent and they are like little sponges, waiting to soak up all of our knowledge, so let’s not waste any opportunity to teach them.
“Juliet Thomson had just finished nursing her 4-month-old daughter when a fellow passenger called her disgusting. Embarrassed and upset, Thomson did drape herself with a blanket, but she vented in an angry Instagram post, expressing frustration with the passenger and the flight attendants who asked her to cover up.”
Airlines are becoming quite the topic in the media these days, and one mom was flying with United Airlines when she encountered a situation of breastfeeding shaming. The mom did what most mom’s do, she covered up to not offend the other passenger (she totally didn’t have too though). The downfall of this modern world, is the importance and prevalence of social media. People are very quick to call out situations involving companies like this, which they should. It gets people’s attention, and hopefully inspires some much needed changes.
2Celebrity vs. Celebrity
There are many celebrity mom’s out there who are taking a stand for all us breastfeeding moms out there. Who has more power these days than a celebrity in effecting change. Celeb mom, Alyssa Milano was a guest on The Wendy Williams Show, and she found herself in an uncomfortable position. She was questioned on an Instagram post showing her breastfeeding her daughter. The host, Wendy Williams, stated that she doesn’t need to see that, and she should have gone to the car.
Milano had the perfect response. She wondered why it was OK to show Miley Cyrus using suspenders as a bra, but it was not OK to see a breastfeeding mom? She also stated that if her baby was with her, she would whip out her boobs and feed her on the spot. This is a big problem with society, a woman’s breasts have been sexualized, when their original purpose was and is to feed children.
"Earlier today I posted this picture of my son and I breastfeeding uncovered in a public restaurant," Kaidel wrote in a now-deleted Facebook post. "In the picture, it appears I'm staring off into the distance. In reality, I'm staring into the eyes of a woman staring at me. She is looking at me with disgust and shaking her head with judgement in an attempt to shame me and indirectly tell me without words that I am wrong and need to cover myself."
People find it very uncomfortable when you stare at them, so this mom’s stance is very effective. If you see someone giving you the eye when you are nursing your little one, just make eye contact, and dare them with your thoughts to say something. Be confident, be proud and be a fighter. Fight for your rights as well as the future rights of your little daughter you are feeding.
Sources: thebump.com, babble.com, todaysparent.com
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