Thursday, December 3, 2015

Why your exposed breast selfies aren’t helping to normalize breastfeeding

{Breastfeeding Ava in a Target parking lot last month}

Hello! Wow it's been about two weeks since I've blogged but we had family visiting in November and it's been so busy. My in-laws just left on Monday, I'm finally starting to make a dent in the laundry and things are slowly getting back to normal...kinda. I've got a lot to write about concerning the last two weeks, but dealing with a newborn I'm still in babyville, which actually leads me to what I'm about to rant about. Brace yourselves, I’m about to step on a soapbox here. Alright. Let’s get the credentials out of the way first because I like to think I’ve got a little bit of experience in this department. I have 4 children. Aged 2 months, 3 years, 4 years and 13 years old. I’ve exclusively breastfed, I’ve formula fed, or done a combination of both at various points in my life. I’ve also breastfed well into toddler hood. I’m breastfeeding now. I’ve done these feedings anywhere from a bathroom (When I was a first timer and didn’t know any better) to restaurants, malls, cars, parks, schools, under an umbrella in the rain, to busy touristy places while walking at that.

I love breastfeeding……It’s a beautiful and natural thing and it gives me great pride to have nourished my babies. Women should be able to breastfeed in any public or private place without being shunned. They shouldn’t need to hide or be made to feel ashamed for feeding their babies. If you don’t like to use a cover, or if the baby doesn’t like it (because let’s face it, some of them don’t), then no problem. A baby has to eat and I’m not looking at anybody twice because of it. When I see another mother breastfeeding whether in person or on the Internet, I want to high-five them and say “right on!” It makes me feel less alone out there breastfeeding in public. However…..When I see a staged or purposely taken picture of a mom with her breast completely exposed on social media with a caption of something along the lines of “normalize breastfeeding”, I think several of us die-hard breast feeders collectively groan. You aren’t helping the cause by posting pictures of your fully exposed breasts on the Internet. A breast is a breast whether a baby is attached to it or not. You can sit there and try to make breasts seen as just a primary way to feed a baby, and not be looked at as something private or sexual and until you’re blue in the face, but it’s never gonna happen.

Repeat after me: “It’s never gonna happen.”

First of all, boobs all out there while feeding a baby isn’t the norm. Personally I’ve only seen it once in my life in a Janie & Jack store in Florida while I was shopping for my girls. All the other times, it’s just a shirt pulled up and a baby is nursing or under a cover, or something loosely draped over the baby. These viral breastfeeding selfies aren’t furthering the cause and I feel go against the original intent of the movement. Ashley Kaidel, 24 year old blogger mom whose breastfeeding picture went viral is a prime example of what I’m talking about. 

I get her picture wasn’t a selfie and rather taken by her companion, but the message is the same. To me I see it as more about gaining attention instead of acceptance. Also, it reminded me of the time I was a newbie public breastfeeder and I used to scan the room looking around to see who would dare look at me while I was breastfeeding my child. Guess what? If you look hard enough, you’re probably going to find someone who isn’t all gung-ho about your exposed breast. Breastfeeding in public should be tolerated by all whether you use a cover or not, but here’s the thing. This is the 21st century where everyone is offended by everything. I’m not saying cover-up if you’re breastfeeding, everyone’s level of modesty is different, but I am saying don’t be all up in arms if someone isn’t comfortable with your level of exposure out in public when it comes to boobs. 

 { Left: Nursing Mariam at home in 2014. Right: Walking along a busy Ft. Lauderdale street while nursing Ava this past weekend.}

Have a great Thursday and happy breastfeeding!


  1. lol... Agree! Everyone definitely gets offended by EVERYTHING! So really, just do your thing and be done with it.

  2. I agree! As much as we breastfeeding moms want our rights respected, we have a responsibility to reciprocate that respect and not flaunt ourselves for the world to see. I have nursed my baby girl in public and she has never tolerated a cover, so I slipped my breast out only as much as necessary for her to latch on then I would lay a burp cloth or something of the sort over myself to maintain some modesty. Out of respect for myself, others and especially my baby. She does not deserve to be a part of any spectacle!

    1. Thanks for your comment. I do the same thing if it's too hot for a cover. I'll drape something over by her head whether it's a cloth napkin or something. I always try to stay prepared though. In the newborn days when they are still getting used to latching efficiently I never leave the house without my nursing bra, tank top under my shirt and a large lightweight muslin baby blanket.

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