Everyone is entitled to feed their babies in the manner best for them, be that by bottle, breast, formula, or any combination of those. What you’re not entitled to do is shame someone for the way they’re feeding their baby. It’s particularly painful when the shame and judgement comes from a fellow mom, who ostensibly has been there herself and should understand how grueling it is to care for an infant and how humiliating it is to be publicly criticized for your parenting.
Apparently one mom who was at the playground with singer/songwriter Michelle Branch on Tuesday did not get the memo. Branch was sitting on a park bench nursing her 6-week-old daughter, Willie, while her 3-year-old, Rhys, played nearby.
“I just got shamed by another mother (who was holding her own young infant!) for nursing my 6 week old baby on a bench at a playground while my toddler was playing She said I wasn’t ‘being modest’ I am in shock that this kind of judgement was coming from a fellow mom!” Branch wrote on Twitter.
To be clear, there are no requirements for what someone should wear while they’re breastfeeding, and there’s no rule about needing to cover up — some babies won’t stand for it, sometimes it’s hot out, and who needs one more thing to have to remember when leaving the house? But Branch said the criticism was particularly galling because she was in fact keeping the act fairly private.
“I had a nursing tank top on and was seated away from others. It’s not like I walked into the crowd and whipped my tits out,” Branch explained in a follow-up tweet. “Being a mom is hard enough. Can we not judge one another for how we feed our babies?”
This is not the first time the Nashville-based mom has advocated for normalizing breastfeeding, and for women holding each other up. In July 2020, Branch posted a photo of herself nursing then-infant son Rhys. In the picture, she cradles her nursing babe in one arm, pumps milk from her other breast, and somehow manages to snap the selfie.
“F*ck yes. Women make the world go ‘round. We need to support each other and lift one another up. It’s not a competition,” she wrote. “It seems counterintuitive to post a picture of myself instead of the powerful women in my circle but alas...here’s me at my most feminine and vulnerable. I’d be nothing with the incredible women in my life.”
Branch shares daughter Willie and son Rhys with husband Patrick Carney, a drummer for the Black Keys. She is also mom to 16-year-old daughter Owen with her ex, musician Teddy Landau. In December 2020, she wrote on Instagram that she and Carney suffered a miscarriage, calling it “a dagger in my heart.”