A breastfeeding mom was shamed in Walmart, and she had a lot to say about it in a viral Facebook post
Mom Aleigha Jean was shopping in an Albany-area Walmart last week when her 7-week-old baby woke from a long nap. Jean did what any breastfeeding mom would do in that situation: she discreetly pulled up her shirt and started feeding her daughter. When she was shamed by another mom in the store, Jean replied, “Go fuck yourself,” and then headed home to pen a viral Facebook post about why breastfeeding moms moms should be able to nurse openly and without covers, no matter where they are.
According to the post, which quickly went viral, Jean was nursing her daughter in a Cobleskill Walmart when another mother approached and said, “You know they make blankets for that…because that’s exactly what my 5 and 7 year old sons need to be seeing.”
Jean had a simple, straightforward, and colorful message for the woman, but a broader and more thoughtful message for social media, in which she outlined exactly why nursing moms need support and compassion in public.
First, she explained that she was completely covered: her breasts with a tank top, and her stomach with a camisole. Next, she said that her daughter was hungry, and it’s her job as a mom to keep her baby fed. Next she explained that the woman’s sons should be taught to respect the needs of new moms and their nursing babies (if they had been present). Finally, she said that she didn’t have a clean blanket, and that it’s hard for babies to nurse with blankets in their faces, anyway, especially in summer.
She also shared two photos of her breastfeeding in the superstore, showing just how discreet and covered she was while her baby got a much-needed meal.
She concluded: “Completely in shock as to how a WOMAN let alone a MOTHER could put a woman down another for that…I shouldn’t ever have to feel ashamed for feeding my child but you ma’am should definitely be ashamed.”
While breastfeeding in public is now completely legal in all 50 states (and uncovered breastfeeding is legal everywhere but Utah), it doesn’t mean that mothers can still peacefully nurse their children without being shamed, stared at, or confronted. It’s extremely important for mothers to speak out both about their legal rights and about why public breastfeeding should be embraced and encouraged instead of vilified.
It’s also important to understand that parents should teach their children that breastfeeding, covered or uncovered, is normal and natural — not inappropriate or perverted.
Jean said that she’s happy to be inspiring other breastfeeding moms — and that most of the response to her post has been positive.
“I never expected my post to go viral, but I love that I’m inspiring other women across the globe,” Jean told Scary Mommy. “Even with some negative comments I have way more support than anything,”
Here’s to hoping that there’s less shaming — and less of a need for these posts — as more people are educated about the normalcy and necessity of public nursing, cover or not.