What's A-Parent is a series highlighting those who get real about the hardships that come with raising kids. These often untold stories help show parents they are not alone in their struggle, and are doing an amazing job.
Breastfeeding in public is one of those things that seems to set people off in a hot rage. Mothers who choose to breastfeed their babies in public spaces are too often subjected to criticism and are even publicly shamed for trying to feed their hungry child.
Kelly Stanley experienced this firsthand when she was feeding her 9-month-old daughter, Maya, at a restaurant last week. This incident was so frustrating that the yoga connoisseur mom decided to share her experience with an epic Instagram photo that shows her breastfeeding her daughter while holding a yoga position.
At the restaurant, Stanley knew that Maya was fussy because she needed to eat. So, she pulled down her shirt to fortify the baby. Then, someone at her dinner table threw over a cloth napkin so she could cover herself up.
"We were at Bonefish, and apparently that is too 'nice' of a restaurant to nurse a baby uncovered," she wrote. "I went off on him and I'm glad I did. You know why? Because the gesture was humiliating. Because no woman should ever feel like she is being inappropriate or immodest by feeding her baby, anywhere, ever. Breastfeeding is NOT indecent exposure. It's not inviting men to gawk at my breasts. EVEN IF GOD FORBID THE BABY UNLATCHES AND THEY SEE MY BARE NIPPLE."
Aside from how natural breastfeeding is, it also has tons of benefits for the baby. It can help the child's immune system, reduce his or her risk of certain diseases, and helps to build strong bones.
"We can't sit here and tout that breast is best and then have a fit about how inappropriate it is to feed a baby in public," she continued. "You can't expect women to WANT to breastfeed and then shew [sic] them to the car when their baby gets hungry, or expect them to let the baby wail in hunger or need. Babies are notorious for wanting to eat (or comfort) at the most inconvenient and AWKWARD times. And most of them hate to be covered!"
"Breastfeeding is a normal and natural thing, and if someone has a problem with me feeding my child whenever and wherever, that is THEIR problem. It should NEVER be the breastfeeding mom's problem."
Stanley points out the unfair double standard surrounding public breastfeeding.
"They continued to say that I needed to be considerate of those who might be offended (men who sexualize breastfeeding) and I'm over here thinking it's the men who should be considerate and not sexualize breastfeeding," she wrote. "We need to stop making excuses for men and start expecting them to act like mature human beings who are capable of being in control of themselves."
The post has over 6,000 likes since it was posted last week and is filled with hundreds of comments. Many of those comments are written by women who commend Stanley for speaking and taking such an incredible photo with her child.
The more people who speak out about this issue, the closer we will get to acceptance. Mothers shouldn't have to worry about being shamed for trying to feed their children when they're hungry.
(H/T: Huffington Post)