Breastfeeding is one of the many enchanting experiences of motherhood. It is well known to mothers that babies cannot be put in a corner, especially when they are hungry.
Regardless of what time it is, what a mom is doing, or how public a place is, when a baby wants their breast milk, the mother must be quick to answer the call.
However, despite the benefits of and need for breastfeeding for both the mother and child, the issue of breastfeeding in public has sparked a lot of controversies to date.
Although it is becoming more accepted, it seems to attract a lot more attention than bottle feeding — and unfortunately, not always the “aww, sweet” kind.
The above was the case of a nursing mother whose story went viral in 2018. While breastfeeding her little son in public, a stranger walked over to her spot and asked her to “cover up.” But the woman’s reaction to the stranger’s words made her story even more enjoyable.For Melanie Libson Dudley, a native of Texas and a new mom, breastfeeding was an act she tried to do discreetly. Even while breastfeeding her three-month-old son, in the corner of a restaurant, she had her back facing the other diners.
Furthermore, Dudley had a nursing cover on, but the scorching weather made her take it off. Recalling the incident, the mom of three confessed to Yahoo Lifestyle thus:
“I was on vacation in Cabo San Lucas with my entire family, and a man asked me to cover myself. I’m usually discreet but we were seated in the back of the restaurant.”
“I did have the cover on, but it was so hot. It was like 95 degrees, and my little boy was sweating. I said, ‘you know what? I’m on vacation, I’m taking this off,'” she further told Today. According to Dudley, after taking off the nursing cover, a male stranger walked up to her and asked her to “cover up.”
The mom of three revealed that she was “stunned,” and immediately, she had an unusual response to the stranger’s words. Dudley asked her husband for the nursing cover, and after getting hold of it, she covered her head with it.
“I just put it over my head. I don’t know why. It wasn’t like a salacious fight or anything. That was just my response. I had no words, so I thought, I’ll just cover my head instead,” the woman explained.Lockwood also revealed that the stranger was a man, adding that Dudley was not in a Muslim country, disrespecting traditions. After the Facebook user uploaded the post, it garnered over 137 thousand reactions and 200 thousand shares. Many netizens took to the comments section to air their thoughts about the incident.
A user wrote: “If you want to breastfeed in public, do it. If you don’t like that, don’t do it and don’t look at others who do. I’m sure your sensibilities can withstand a few seconds glance at a woman breastfeeding her baby without permanent psychological injury before looking away.”
“I think she is brilliant. If someone does feel the need to cover, try a pretty handkerchief pinned to your top to lightly cover the babies head. That way, you don’t get too hot. I think those breastfeeding covers are over the top,” wrote another user.
After the post broke the internet, Dudley mentioned that she believed it went viral because public breastfeeding was a topic that resonated with many women, and they were tired of it being up for discussion.
With the following month after the incident being National Breastfeeding Month, Dudley hoped that mothers would focus on what was best for them and their babies. To the mom of three, the larger message was to support nursing mothers, whether they chose to cover or not.
Dudley is only one out of many women who have been subjected to criticism for public nursing. In 2017, Nicole Blackman faced a similar situation when a female stranger asked her to cover up while breastfeeding her son.
Like Dudley, Blackman gave a creative response. The same was the case of Avery Lane, four months earlier, who was asked to cover up with a towel while breastfeeding her baby.