When mom Ashley Kaidel was shamed for breastfeeding her baby uncovered in a restaurant, she shared her frustrations in a viral Facebook post that has reached hundreds of thousands of users all over the world.
Kaidel shared a photo of herself nursing her infant son in the restaurant, along with a powerful caption.
"In the picture, it appears I'm staring off into the distance," she wrote. "In reality, I'm staring into the eyes of a woman staring at me. She is looking at me with disgust and shaking her head with judgement in an attempt to shame me and indirectly tell me without words that I am wrong and need to cover myself."
Kaidel explained why she shares breastfeeding photos like this one. "I don't mean to say 'Everyone should breastfeed without a cover. Show the world your boobs!' If a mother is more comfortable covering herself because SHE feels better doing so, then I totally support that," she said.
"[T]he reason I post these types pictures is for the mother that tried breastfeeding uncovered once and she got shamed, she got stared and pointed at, she got nasty comments, she got asked to leave the room, she got asked to cover up," she added.
The Florida mom pointed out that women have the legal right to breastfeed in public (covered or uncovered) and that they shouldn't be made to feel ashamed, humiliated or in any way wrong for nourishing their children.
"[B]reasts were made to sustain your baby's life before they were made to bring pleasure to any other man, woman, partner or spouse," Kaidel continued. "Their sole purpose is to make food and dispense it straight into a baby's mouth. There is nothing weird about this and there's no difference in me feeding my baby with my breast than you feeding yourself with a spoon."
To that point, the mom added that it's unfair to ask a breastfeeding woman to leave the room or exclude herself from any sort of gathering simply because her nursing makes you uncomfortable. Instead, Kaidel recommends an easy solution if breastfeeding bothers you: Just look away.
At the end of her post, the self-described "badass breastfeeding (uncovered) mama" emphasizes the importance of letting children see moms nursing their babies. "Your 11 year old daughter watching me nurse may say 'Mom, why is that baby sucking her boobie?' But as a parent and human being that understands, respects and appreciates anatomy and mothers, your reply should only and always be 'because that's the way babies eat.'"
Kaidel's post has been shared over 120,000 times and received almost 400,000 likes. While the comment section is filled with thousands of supportive messages, some readers criticized her photo and decision to breastfeed uncovered in public.
Still others who support Kaidel's overall message have taken issue with her statement that "Formula and bottles are a trend." As Cherry Marie Turner pointed out in a comment, "I appreciate this and I agree you should be able to breast feed whenever and wherever you like, but I don't agree with saying formula feeding is a 'trend' -- I was unable to breast feed my children due to complications." Turner also stressed the importance of supporting all mothers, no matter how they feed their babies.
Power to all moms who stand up for their right to breastfeed!
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