Kelly Stanley has a very strong opinion about breastfeeding in public: if someone has a problem, it's their issue and not the breastfeeding mom's. But when Kelly received negative feedback not from strangers but from her own parents, it only deepened this confident mom's stance.
Kelly first learned about her parent's disapproval of breastfeeding in public when they were out to dinner with her baby girl. When 9-month-old Maya was getting irritable at the table, Kelly began to nurse but her dad quickly grabbed a cloth napkin and attempted to cover his daughter with it.
"I wish I could say I was polite and respectful about the situation. Actually, I lied. I don't wish that. I went off on him and I'm glad I did," Kelly wrote on Instagram. "Because the gesture was humiliating. Because no woman should ever feel like she is being inappropriate or immodest by feeding her baby, anywhere, ever."
Kelly decided to share her story, along with an impressive photo of her baby nursing while she held a yoga pose in order to prove that breastfeeding is not indecent exposure and it certainly isn't inviting men to gawk at her breasts.
"They continued to say that I needed to be considerate of those who might be offended (men who sexualize breastfeeding) and I'm over here thinking it's the men who should be considerate and not sexualize breastfeeding. We need to stop making excuses for men and start expecting them to act like mature human beings who are capable of being in control of themselves. Grrr don't poke the mom bear..."
Kelly told POPSUGAR that she was shocked to have someone so close to her not respect her right to feed her child freely. "It hurt more than if a stranger had done it. I didn't understand why he cared more about the patrons that could easily turn their heads than the comfort of his own daughter and granddaughter," Kelly said.
But this first-time mom realizes that her situation isn't unique and that many women are reprimanded by their parents for breastfeeding in public. "It happens all the time but no one wants to talk about it when it comes from their own family members, but our family members have some of the most impactful influence over us," Kelly said. "That means their support, or lack of, has the ability to sabotage the breastfeeding mom or motivate her to succeed."
This nursing mom feels that one of the biggest obstacles new moms experience when it comes to gaining the confidence to breastfeed is overcoming family biases. "It becomes much more personal when it is your own family member that objects to the way you feed your child. I want all breastfeeding moms to feel empowered to feed their child however they feel comfortable," Kelly explained. "If that means covering, then by all means cover! But if covering is inconvenient or uncomfortable for whatever reason, I hope they know that is their legal right to feed their child however they please. This does not make them inconsiderate, attention seeking, or immodest. It simply makes them good moms for feeding their hungry child."
Although she hasn't received a heartfelt apology, Kelly said that her dad now understands her position and accepts that she will continue to breastfeed whenever - and wherever - she sees fit.