Breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world, especially when our offspring are considered. But, nursing mothers in public are still being condemned if they feed their babies outside their homes like restaurants, cafes, etc. This is really ridiculous is no one is being shamed of if he or she eats its food in public.
Public breastfeeding is still considered taboo in many states even though there are laws that protect breastfeeding mothers. Mexico is one of many countries where nursing mothers need to hide in order to feed their babies and that resulted in really low rates of breastfeeding. This is a shame as this is the most valuable food for our babies particularly in their first months of their existence.
In 2014, Mexico showed lowest breastfeeding rates in Latin America where only around 14% of mothers were breastfeeding their newborns in the first 6 months. In order to stimulate the mothers to breastfeed their babies the government banned the use of free baby formula giveaways in hospitals in 2015. The breastfeeding rate got increased to up to 30%, but it is still below the average of 41%.
As per the findings of the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mother’s milk is the best source of nutrition for infants. Moreover, breastfeeding can reduce the risk for some health conditions in both mothers and babies.
Hence, shaming mothers for breastfeeding their babies in public needs to stop. This has happened to one of our readers, Melanie Dudley who was having her vacation with her family in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. This mother of three was staying in a restaurant where she fed her baby, but a man walked up to her and asked her to “cover up”. Although it was extremely hot outside she covered her up with the baby’s blanket overhead. This was captioned by her husband who took the photo and showed to his mother on Facebook how his wife had to feed her baby. This picture became instantly viral and thousands of people witnessed the unusual request of the man in an extremely hot day. Many people did not approve the reaction of the man and said that she should have been allowed to feed her baby as a normal human thing. There is nothing disrespectful when a mother feeds her baby especially when it is hungry.
This photo induced over 138, 000 reactions, 40,000 comments, and 226,000 shares. The common comment was how in this modern way of living where nudity is everywhere people feel unpleasant when seeing a breastfeeding mother. The cleavages of women have become so deep and no one reacts on that in a negative way, but when a nipple is seen in a breastfeeding mother the connotation is completely different.
One of the ladies that have commented this photo pointed out that men can walk around shirtless all the time, and no one comments on their nudity, but when a female nipple is seen and only for its natural use to feed a baby, the mother is being shamed of and asked to cover herself up or to do the feeding in a secluded place. Breastfeeding mothers have been asked to feed their babies in the bathrooms of restaurants just not to disturb other guests, which is outrageous.
Nevertheless, there has been some positive development on this issue as in July 2018; public breastfeeding was legalized in all 50 states. Yet, mothers are still getting shamed of it as many people have issues with this natural and human feeding process.
There is nothing inappropriate if a mother feeds her baby as this has been done since the beginning of time and seeing a nipple that feeds the baby is a completely natural thing.
Breastfeeding is very fulfilling for every mother but as well as very hard and because of that we need to show all the support that these mothers need while the lactating period. In this way we are having healthy offspring and also healthy mothers.