When a mom posted a photo of her 2-year-old daughter Charlotte "breastfeeding" her baby doll, she didn't expect the backlash that broke out in the mommy-sphere.
“You know you’re a breastfeeding mom when you look over in the middle of the store to your toddler saying, ‘Baby cry, baby just wants to eat,'” the anonymous mom of two first wrote.
She woke up the next morning to messages asking if the status update was about her. A "friend" even wrote, "I just saw some of the nastiest shit of my life!! If you’re OK with your daughter lifting up her shirt and putting her baby doll's mouth to her little ‘dots,’ pretending to breastfeed, then I personally think you need (to be) punched in the damn face!!! It’s just simply not OK!!!"
Shocked by the reactions, the mom, who formula-fed her now-5-year-old son and breastfeeds her daughter, sent screenshots of her post in to the Facebook group, Breastfeeding Mama Talk. She doesn't understand how breastfeeding is "the nastiest shit."
"Breastfeeding is something that is natural and IS normal," the mom writes. "How can I or why should I tell her this is wrong, when it is what she knows?"
The Facebook reactions add to a long line of shaming against breastfeeding moms. Breasts are still seen as sexual instead of nurturing parts of women's bodies. Nursing moms get stares from disapproving patrons, breastfeeding moms get turned away from stores, even celeb moms like Alyssa Milano get shamed on live TV. These instances show that we still have a long way to go when it comes to normalizing breastfeeding.
But while the anonymous mom has received criticism, her posting has also encouraged mothers across the country to offer their support and be vocal about normalizing breastfeeding.
"How many other children 'feed' their baby dolls by breastfeeding?!" she asked at the end of her post, to which many responded in the best way: with photos of their kids breastfeeding their dolls or lovies.
"This is my son feeding his giraffe! And I don't stop him, even tho he's a boy and technically can never breastfeed. It's just the only way he knows a baby is fed!" comments one mom Kristin Baker.
Another mom, Kira Leach, also chimed in: "(Pictured is) my 3-year-old who was breastfed until a little after her second birthday. She was feeding her babies while I fed her baby sister. She also has bottles for her babies. And uses my scarves to wear her babies. My boys (7 and 5) play dolls with her and do the same. It's normal in this house and I dare anyone to try and tell them otherwise!"
And from mom Ashley Sicard: "My son 'breastfeeds' his baby Anna. The day I took this picture, he said to me, 'We [can't] go yet, my Anna is still eating,' which I frequently say to him when I'm nursing my youngest. He is the first person to tell you that his baby (brother) eats off Mom's boob. He's my biggest supporter. He got asked once if he helped Mommy and fed his baby brother a bottle, he replied, 'No, Mommy fed him from her boob ... but I got a clean diaper for her to change him.' It blows my mind that my 4-year-old gets it and grown adults cannot."