It's 2018, so you'd think, by now, the general public would know that breastfeeding is a pretty common method of feeding an infant. And that babies could care less about where they happen to be when they're hungry. As such, seeing moms breastfeeding in public is just a thing that happens because babies are hungry. The end. Still, somehow, complete strangers feel the need to harass nursing mothers. One recent example comes from one mom's viral post about getting shamed for breastfeeding her baby in Walmart.
First-time mom Aleigha Jean found herself nursing her hungry 7-week-old daughter, Delainey, while shopping at Walmart — using the two-shirt method, which for the record, left her completely covered (not that it matters, though) — when a woman approached her, according to CafeMom. Unfortunately, this stranger wasn't dropping by to fawn over how cute her baby was, or that she's doing a great job. Quite the contrary, in fact.
As Jean shared in a now-viral Facebook post, this woman decided to publicly shame a new mom for merely feeding her child. “You know they make blankets for that," the woman reportedly snarked. "Because that’s exactly what my 5 and 7 year old sons need to be seeing." (Yes, she went there.) Although Jean's response in the heat of the moment was short and not-so-sweet, the new mom later took to Facebook to thoroughly address the situation.
"1. I was completely covered (as shown below)," the Sprakers, New York mom pointed out, while also sharing two photos of how she was breastfeeding her daughter at the time. "2. When my daughter wakes up from a three hour nap and expects to be fed I’m going to because that’s my job as a mother no matter what the circumstances or where I am."
Jean went on to explain in her post that the only blanket she had with her had gotten dirty. (Besides, her daughter probably wouldn't want to eat with a blanket on her face anyway, she pointed out.) And guys, here's the real clincher, as Jean wrote on Facebook of the encounter: "Maybe you should teach your sons how to be respectable in that situation (which they weren’t present anyway)."
"Completely in shock as to how a WOMAN let alone a MOTHER could put a woman down another for that," Jean continued. "I shouldn’t ever have to feel ashamed for feeding my child but you ma’am should definitely be ashamed. With all due respect and as I said in Walmart #GoF*ckYourself."
Thankfully, the comments section of Jean's post has been overwhelmingly positive. "It just looks like u are holding your baby," one person wrote.
"Keep doing what you are doing, Mama!" another Facebook user commented. "Boys need to be taught not to sexualize breasts. Truth be told, the kids were probably too busy touching cr*p on the shelves than paying attention to what you were doing."
Another person wrote, "Honey, let me tell you.. You have a lot more support than hate in this world. Don’t worry about one uneducated and ignorant woman. You feed that sweet baby girl of yours."
As for Jean, the new mom further shared about the inspiration behind her Facebook post. "I decided to share my experience to let women who have been shamed know that they aren’t alone," she tells Romper. "And to educate others that haven’t been shamed to not let it stop them from continuing to breastfeed comfortably wherever they may be."
Here's the thing: Breastfeeding in public is now protected by law in all 50 states, as USA Today reported. So regardless of how rude strangers — or business owners, for that matter — feel about it, moms are perfectly within their rights to nurse wherever they're legally allowed to be.
The moral of the story? Unless someone is encouraging a breastfeeding mom or commenting on how adorable her baby is, their unsolicited comments about how or where she should be nursing are best kept to themselves. And for those who don't like it, or feel "uncomfortable" catching a glimpse of a baby eating, the solution is quite simple, really: Look away.