Although breastfeeding is a completely natural process as old as mankind itself, moms around the world often feel ashamed to breastfeed their babies in public. A few years ago, one of them, Ashley Kaidel, decided enough was enough. Faced with a disgusted look from a stranger as she breastfed her baby in a restaurant, Ashley Kaidel stood up for moms everywhere and refused to cover up. A Facebook post describing the incident and explaining why she chose to make this strong statement has gone viral on social media for the past six years.
“Earlier today, I posted this photo of me breastfeeding my son in a restaurant. In the photo, it looks like I’m staring into the distance,” writes Kaidel. “In reality, I am looking at a woman who is staring at me. She looks at me with disgust and shakes her head in judgment in order to shame me and tell me indirectly, without saying a word, that I’m wrong and that I have to cover up. Let me make it clear why I am posting pictures of myself breastfeeding my son in public.”
I don’t mean “everyone should breastfeed without a cover.” Show your boobs to the world! “If a mother is more comfortable covering up because SHE feels better doing it, then I totally support that,” she explained. “Having said that, if I post these types of photos, it is for mothers who have once tried to breastfeed in public and who have been shamed, who have been stared at and pointed at, who have received unpleasant comments, who were asked to leave the room, and who were asked to cover up. First, breastfeeding mothers are protected by law and can do so any way, anywhere, and under any circumstances.”
She added that “there is nothing weird about it, and there is no difference between me feeding my baby with my breast and you feeding with a spoon. Kaidel went on to point out how unfair it is to ask breastfeeding moms to hide from the public eye. “It is unfair and selfish to ask a mother and her baby to leave a table or event because you are for some reason uncomfortable with the way she feeds her child,” she wrote. “No one should be isolated and shunned for breastfeeding. Isn’t it easier to look away from an unpleasant sight than to suggest or demand that a mother and child withdraw from where you are? It’s selfish, right? Just look away. It’s easy to do.”
“Finally, your children need to see breastfeeding for the same reason you do. They must recognize, understand, and appreciate that breastmilk and breastfeeding are and should always be the first and best choice for mother and baby. Formula and baby bottles are a trend. Breastfeeding is not. Your 11-year-old daughter watching me breastfeed might say, “Mom, why is this baby sucking on her breast? But as a parent and human being who understands, respects, and appreciates anatomy and mothers, your answer should only and always be “because that’s how babies eat.”
Concluding her post, which has been shared over 120,000 times since it was posted, the “public breastfeeding mom” wrote: “Again, I’m not posting this for attention. I don’t because I think everyone should breastfeed in public. I do it to encourage moms. And to encourage others to make breastfeeding mothers feel accepted and supported, not alienated, ridiculed, and judged.”