Despite this being the 21st century and laws in all states and the District of Columbia that protect them, breastfeeding mothers are still shamed when they nurse their babies in public.
Public breastfeeding is still taboo to many in Mexico, just like in many places worldwide.
In 2014, the country had one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in all of Latin America, with only about 14% of mothers breastfeeding their newborns exclusively for the first 6 months, and the current figures show rates at around 30%, which is still below the world average of 41%.
In 2015, the country banned free baby formula giveaways in hospitals, to stimulate an increase of breastfeeding rates.
Yet, shaming women for breastfeeding in public should never be tolerated.
Melanie Dudley, a mother of three, was on vacation in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and she explains it was 90 degrees outside, she was in a restaurant, and a man walked up to her and asked her to “cover up” while she was breastfeeding her baby.
In utter disbelief at the outrageous request considering the heat, she asked her husband to pass her something she could cover up with. And she did cover up in a legendary way.
She continued nursing her baby, and draped her baby’s blanket overhead!
She claims it was not a salacious fight or anything, but she was left speechless and covered her head instead. At this point, her husband snapped a quick photo to commemorate her priceless response and sent it to his mother.
She posted it on Facebook, and it wasn’t long when a friend asked if she could share the picture.
It went viral as soon as it was uploaded on Facebook, and a lot of people supported her reaction, saying that she should not be ashamed for feeding her baby whenever it is hungry.
The photo has 138, 000 reactions, 40,000 comments, and 226,000 shares. People commented that they cannot understand how all kinds of nudity are acceptable in modern society, but we are disgusted when breasts are displayed for their natural use.
One supportive woman said that it is ironic that men walk around shirtless all the time, and just because there’s an actual function to women’s nipples, we have to cover them.
According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mother’s milk is the single best source of nutrition for infants, and breastfeeding can lower the risk for some short- and long-term health conditions in both mothers and babies.
In July 2018, pubic breastfeeding was legalized in all 50 states, but mothers are still getting shamed for it. It seems that people need more time to accept it as a natural requirement.
Many mothers are asked to feed their babies in the bathrooms of the restaurant, which is outrageous, as no one east in a bathroom, let alone an innocent child.
Also, if any kind of fashionable and extremely revealing clothes are not banned and considered decent, how can breastfeeding be inappropriate?
Dudley added that she is aware that her photo has received some negativity as well, but it’s also built momentum for mothers who choose to breastfeed publicly. She says that breastfeeding is hard enough, so this is another layer mothers don’t need to deal with.
Do you see anyone else being shamed for eating in public? Then, how can we blame babies for getting their food, or mothers for providing it?
Let us accept breastfeeding as the most natural thing in the world.