Before I had my first baby I thought I would be a fearless breastfeeding mom, whipping out a boob and feeding my baby whenever and wherever. Then I became a mom and realized that, well, I was not a big fan of breastfeeding in public. I'm a pretty private person by nature, so I didn't appreciate people staring at me and judging me. Turns out, I'm not alone. I asked other moms who've been shamed for breeding in public to speak out, share their experiences, and highlight just how messed up it is to make moms feel uncomfortable, judged, and embarrassed for simply feeding their children.
The first time I was shamed for breastfeeding I was in the waiting room at the doctor's office. I was out in public for the first time with two kids under 4, trying to keep my preschooler entertained and desperately hoping that my baby would stay asleep. He didn't. Walking in the waiting room or sticking a pacifier in his mouth wouldn't soothe him, either, so I knew he was hungry. I sat in the furthest corner I could find and started to feed him when, almost immediately, a nurse approached and asked me what I was doing. I thought it was pretty obvious, so I joked, "Just giving him some lunch." She scowled at me and said I was making the other patients uncomfortable, then asked me if I might be more "comfortable" in an exam room. I would have been... because of her.
When I've asked other moms to share their experiences I heard stories of strangers, friends, and even their own moms shaming them for feeding their babies in public. Since July it has been legal to breastfeed in public in all 50 states, but that doesn't keep people from making nursing moms feel unwelcome, and even unsafe, in public spaces. So with that in mind, and because the first step in fixing a problem is acknowledging that one exists, here's what the following moms went through when someone decided to shame them for feeding their babies in public: