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By Shereka Evans

Most Moms know this all too well: nobody puts baby in a corner—at least not when they’re hungry. Feeding your baby, in particular breastfeeding, can be a difficult and demanding task. However, many moms breastfeed because they nurture by nature. Breastfeeding is not only a way to bond with your baby but it also provides amazing benefits for baby. Breastfeeding is one of the most natural resources we have at our disposal. Yet somehow, breastfeeding, it turns out, means something different for some people.

There has been a recent uprising of “breastfeeding shaming,” especially when doing so in public. Some women are made to feel ashamed of feeding their babies publicly due to the discomfort and strong negative opinions of others. While we all are entitled to our opinions, some folks have taken a stronger stance against breastfeeding publicly and have started to attack women some of these women, such in the case of Jessie Maher. 

While inside a Target store cafe recently, Jessie Maher sat down to breastfeed her hungry one-month-old baby. It was then a man started verbally attacking her. Maher posted a video of the incident on Facebook on June 13th. Maher said in the post, the man called her “disgusting” and asked if she could “do that somewhere else.” She told the man it was her right to breastfeed in the store and as the verbal altercation continued she decided to record the incident. 

In the video (which you can see here), you can see and hear Target staff and bystanders come to Maher’s side as she begins to cry. One of the bystanders told Maher that she has the right to breastfeed and calls it a “beautiful moment.” According to the Connecticut Department of Public Health, state law allows mothers to breastfeed in public. 

Maher later wrote on Facebook, “I choose to openly breastfeed my child whenever and wherever she happens to be hungry — I choose not to cover up because I’m not ashamed of what my breasts are intended for. I stand with all mamas breastfeeding, bottle-feeding, covered or not.”   

While I’m not a mother, yet, the thought of motherhood brings about feelings of selflessness and protection. Being a parents often means putting your child’s needs first and being able to protect them to the best of your ability. In the case of public breastfeeding, a very human and natural way to provide for your child, is it disgusting? Is it something that should be done in private? Should women cover up if in public?

Let’s take a second to compare other situations in which women’s breast are not being used for breastfeeding, such as scantily dressed women. Would this man who so openly referred to something as natural as breastfeeding one’s baby disgusting, also feel the same about a woman whose breasts were overly exposed if she had walked into the Target store that day? Is it more “acceptable” when a woman’s breasts are viewed upon for sexual pleasure and enticement and disgusting and shameful while breastfeeding?  

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