Shaming Mothers is Shameful!

Shaming Mothers is Shameful!

Photo from public Facebook page of: Ashley Kaidel

This type of intrusion into OTHERS personal decisions will never make sense to me. If parenting is now offensive, humanity, we are in trouble. So long as the mom will not be harmed, doctors recommend breastfeeding, especially for the first six months following birth. For those unaware, breast milk contains both immunity boosting and nutrients for infant cognitive development that cannot be duplicated by formula.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Breast milk is widely acknowledged as the most complete form of nutrition for infants, with a range of benefits for infants' health, growth, immunity and development.” So I ask, what is the alternative to breastfeeding in public? Forcing infants to lose vital nutrients to appease the sensibilities of a few? Or, rudely and aggressively stare at mothers till they submit and depart the venue? If either of those options seemed reasonable to you, shame on you! Neither is a suitable replacement for mothers who intend to feed naturally, nor should they be.

To be clear: I have just as much respect for and support mothers who elect to feed their child(ren) with formula. It is an entirely personal/family decision that the public ought not participate in.

Approaching a breastfeeding mother and asking, “Will you do that in the bathroom?” is not okay. Connie Pendergast, 39, mother of three, in Charlotte, North Carolina responded to this with a touch of humor and class, “Why? You don’t eat in the bathroom, why should my baby?” That same afternoon, even sitting outside, a strange man informed Ms. Pendergast that her feeding was disgusting. Unfortunately, this man was unaware that his lack of humanity was the only disgusting part of his exchange. Demeaning a loving mother who would give him the shirt off her back, why? Because a single breast was minimally exposed for purposes other than using sex to sell football tickets?

Ms. Pendergast shared another encounter involving an older woman. While feeding her middle child in a restaurant, the woman left her table, walked across the room and advised, “You are ruining my dinner.” This caught Ms. Pendergast off-guard for a brief moment, but she graciously replied, “Well you’re ruining his, so please go back to your table.” Taken aback by her willingness to confront, the woman turned around and returned to her table without fuss.

To Ms. Pendergast, and mothers everywhere, I applaud you. With more knowledge, compassion, and plain understanding of the health benefits, I imagine this will not be so taboo. But for the time being, you should not have to endure such ridicule for doing what doctors and the majority of the medical field deem necessary for the growth of your child. 

As a general rule, I tend to propose simple, but clear solutions to problems because I genuinely believe EVERY problem can be solved with intelligence and well-reasoned inquiry. My take on mother’s breastfeeding is similar to a position I presented in podcast, “Golden Rule,” which is ‘treat others as you want to be treated.’ Why obsess over another person engaging in activities that in no way affect your life? Novel concept: If a person has an aversion to breastfeeding, they probably shouldn’t breastfeed. Along the same lines, if the sight of a breastfeeding mother offends people, as difficult as this may be, they should avert their eyes. Similar to the LGBTQ, and marijuana debate, people fail to fully comprehend that the U.S. government formed based on theories of FREEDOM.

If the sight of a mother breastfeeding offends you, turn your head, because the world doesn’t revolve around you. Mothers are not required to acquiesce to your immaturity. 

This piece was inspired by:
"What Happened When a Woman Gave This Breastfeeding Mother a Stare Down"
By: Laura Donovan Twitter: @LAURADONOVANUA 
Thumbnail image also from public Facebook page of: Ashley Kaidel