She pointed out that 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.'
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on July 29, 2021.
Despite breastfeeding being a completely natural process as old as mankind itself, moms everywhere often find themselves being shamed for feeding their babies in public. A few years ago, one of them, a badass mama named Ashley Kaidel, decided that she'd had enough. Faced with looks of disgust from a stranger while breastfeeding her baby in a restaurant, Kaidel took a stand for moms across the world and refused to cover up. A Facebook post describing the incident and explaining why she chose to make the powerful statement has gone astronomically viral across social media over the past six years.
"Earlier today I posted this picture of my son and I breastfeeding uncovered in a public restaurant. In the picture, it appears I'm staring off into the distance," Kaidel 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 judgment in an attempt to shame me and indirectly tell me without words that I am wrong and need to cover myself. Let me make my reasoning clear on why I post pictures of my son and I publicly breastfeeding uncovered."
"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 explained. "With that being said, the reason I post these types [of] 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. Number one, breastfeeding mothers are protected under law to breastfeed any way, anyhow, and anywhere they're allowed to be in all circumstances otherwise."
"Number two, you should not ever feel shamed, belittled, embarrassed or wrong for feeding your baby the way nature intended," Kaidel continued. "I do this for the person that has the mentality 'Boobs are to be covered. They're for your husbands' eyes only. They're intimate. It's a personal/private thing to feed your baby. Cover up out of respect. My kids don't need to see that. Walk out of the room,' and any other derogatory, close-minded comments and sentiments alike. Again, breasts were made to sustain your baby's life before they were made to bring pleasure to any other man, woman, partner, or spouse. Their sole purpose is to make food and dispense it straight into a baby's mouth."
She added that 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." Kaidel went on to point out how unfair it is to ask breastfeeding moms to hide themselves away from the public eye. "It is exponentially unfair and selfish to ask a mother and baby to exclude themselves from a table or event or gathering because you're for some reason uncomfortable with how she feeds her child," she wrote. "No person should be isolated and shunned because they're eating, especially when you yourself are eating while ridiculing how someone else is eating. Is it not certainly easier to avert your eyes from a displeasing sight rather than suggest or demand a mother and child remove themselves from your presence? How pompous and selfish is this? Just look away. It's simple to do so. No harm done at all."
"Lastly, your children need to see breastfeeding for the same reason you do. They need to acknowledge, comprehend and appreciate that breast milk and breastfeeding is and should forever be the first and best choice for both mom and baby. Formula and bottles are a trend. Breastfeeding is not. 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.' Hopefully, it encourages your daughter to grow up with the goal to breastfeed and experience the incredible bond and invaluable benefits it comes with," Kaidel continued.
Concluding her post—which has been shared more than 120,000 times since being posted—the "badass breastfeeding (uncovered) mama" wrote: "So again, I don't post this for attention. I don't post this because I think everyone should nurse uncovered. I post this to give mamas encouragement. And to encourage others to make breastfeeding mothers feel accepted and supported; not alienated, ridiculed, and judged."