You don't have to look very far to find stories about moms getting shamed for breastfeeding in public. Moms have had to defend themselves at restaurants, churches and even restrooms for feeding their babies. For one mom, the humiliation was even more personal because it came from someone who should've been supportive: her own mother.
The anonymous mom shared her story on the Facebook page Breastfeeding Mama Talk this past Sunday, after she took her three kids over to Grandma's house for a visit.
Her youngest daughter, who is exclusively breastfed, got hungry while they were having lunch. So the mom, not wanting her food to get cold, took Baby into the living room, got her to latch and then returned to the table to finish her meal.
"My mom didn't say anything at first but when my stepdad came in from mowing the lawn, she threw me a dirty look and asked me to get my blanket and cover her. When I politely declined she told me it was her house and she wanted me to cover up," she wrote.
For the record, this is how she looked while she fed her daughter—no boob exposed.
The baby gets sweaty and uncomfortable under the blanket, and the mom told Grandma as much. The mom even offered to leave if it was too much of an issue.
"She said, 'Fine, leave,'" the mom wrote. "So I started to get my kids ready to go and she said, 'You're really going to leave because you're in MY house and I want you to cover up? I don't care how you nurse in your own home, but at my house you need to cover up. No one wants to see that.'"
What makes the situation particularly cringe-worthy is that Grandma got the other two kids involved and blamed their mom for wanting to leave.
Those in support of the mom don't buy the argument that it's Grandma's house, so it's Grandma's rules. Plus, why did Grandma have to bring the kids into it and undermine their parent's authority? And don't even get us started on how unnecessarily sexualized the female breast continues to be, how something as natural as providing nourishment for children can quickly become a source of shame.
The admin of the Facebook page tried to shut down the hate.
"It was uncalled for (for Grandma) to shame her in front of her children, bringing them into the situation unnecessarily. She’s upset because there was an ultimatum, and this mama chose to do what was best for her and her baby at the time. She chose to leave, which is the compromise to this situation. She wasn’t disrespectful, she chose to leave to feed her child comfortably when she was told she couldn’t nurse here," Heather wrote in the comments after seeing people shame the mom.
Other parents and grandparents included their nursing experiences, nailing exactly why this situation felt so infuriating.
"My father-in-law was uncomfortable with me nursing, so he would leave the room when we were at his house. In the 19 months I nursed my son, he never said a single word to me about it. He just walked away and came back when we were finished. I used the two-shirt method out of respect (and my comfort level), and he did what he needed for his comfort level, because we respect one another. The fact that this mother doesn't respect her daughter just makes me sad, but bad-mouthing her in front of her children infuriates me," one mom wrote.
"Never ever would I have treated my daughter and grandchild in such an abusive manner. How dare the grandma make the mama choose between her ignorant rule and an infant," a grandma commented. "For years I lived 12 hours from my daughter and her family. It was painful to miss so much time with them. Now I live very close to my grandbabies. Grandma should feel blessed to see her grandbabies and not make a big deal out of feeding the baby in the way our bodies were meant to."
With holiday parties and family gatherings kicked into high gear, it can be incredibly stressful for parents, especially if Grandma or Grandpa aren't entirely supportive. Here's what to do when grandparents undermine your authority and how to avoid an all-out war.