Stay-at-home mum Kelly Stanley was breastfeeding her daughter Maya in a restaurant when her parents told her to cover herself up. She had nursed her nine-month-old baby at home, but, as she told The Daily Mail, “in the middle of the meal [my baby] started to get irritable and was reaching for me and grabbing at my shirt.” What happened next surprised her because she never expected to be shamed for breastfeeding in public by her own parents.
Stanley then pulled down her shirt and started to nurse her. Immediately, Stanley’s dad grabbed a cloth napkin and threw it at her.
“I asked him what he was doing,” Stanley wrote in her Instagram post. “He said he was trying to cover me.”
“The gesture was humiliating… Breastfeeding is NOT indecent exposure. It’s not inviting men to gawk at my breasts”
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So. I was at dinner last night and, as always, had my baby with me. Maya (9 months) was getting irritable, and I knew what she needed. She needed to nurse, so of course I pull my shirt down to feed and comfort her. Some one at the dinner table then grabs one of those cloth napkins and tries to toss it over me. I asked him what he was doing, and he said he was trying to cover me. We were at Bonefish, and apparently that is too "nice" of a restaurant to nurse a baby uncovered. I wish I could say I was polite and respectful about the situation. Actually, I lied. I don't wish that. I stood up for my right to feed my child and I'm glad I did. You know why? Because the gesture was humiliating. Because no woman should ever feel like she is being inappropriate or immodest by feeding her baby, anywhere, ever. Breastfeeding is NOT indecent exposure. It's not inviting men to gawk at my breasts. EVEN IF GOD FORBID THE BABY UNLATCHES AND THEY SEE MY BARE NIPPLE. No, I'd rather not pull my shirt down in a public place or a nice restaurant. I'd rather people NOT see my stretch marked breast or scratched nipples. But you know what? We can't sit here and tout that breast is best and then have a fit about how inappropriate it is to feed a baby in public. You can't expect women to WANT to breastfeed and then shew them to the car when their baby gets hungry, or expect them to let the baby wail in hunger or need. Babies are notorious for wanting to eat (or comfort) at the most inconvenient and AWKWARD times. And most of them hate to be covered! Breastfeeding is a normal and natural thing, and if someone has a problem with me feeding my child whenever and wherever, that is THEIR problem. It should NEVER be the breastfeeding mom's problem. They continued to say that I needed to be considerate of those who might be offended (men who sexualize breastfeeding )and I'm over here thinking it's the men who should be considerate and not sexualize breastfeeding. We need to stop making excuses for men and start expecting them to act like mature human beings who are capable of being in control of themselves. Grrr don't poke the mom bear…… . . . leggings by @omgiyoga
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Her father told her that the restaurant was “too nice” for her to nurse her baby uncovered, and that she should go to the car and nurse her baby there instead. Sadly, Stanley’s mother also told her that what she was doing was inappropriate.
“My mum stated that I was being inconsiderate of people who ‘didn’t want to see that,’ but I feel like I was being considerate of the other customers by not forcing them to listen to my crying infant during their meal,” Stanley explained to The Daily Mail.
The 23-year-old mum went on to add that being shamed by people close to her hurt her so much more than if a stranger would have done it.
“I was shocked to have someone so close to me not respect my right to breastfeed my child freely. It hurt more than if a stranger had done it,” she added. “I just didn’t understand why he cared more about the customers than the comfort of his own daughter and granddaughter.”
Breastfeeding in public: “Breastfeeding is a normal and natural thing”
Photo: kellymarie_yoga on Instagram
Babies, as Stanley noted in her Instagram post, don’t take into account where they are when they demand for feedings. “Babies are notorious for wanting to eat at the most inconvenient and awkward times,” she wrote. “And most of them hate to be covered!
“Breastfeeding is a normal and natural thing, and if someone has a problem with me feeding my child whenever and wherever, that is THEIR problem. It should NEVER be the breastfeeding mum’s problem.”
Stanley told The Daily Mail that her dad still hasn’t apologised for his actions, but that he does understand where she’s coming from better now.
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