When my kids were little, I breastfed them just about everywhere. They nursed so frequently that if I hadn’t nursed them in public, I literally would have been homebound for their first year of life. And while I received my fair share of head-turning and even full-on shaming for breastfeeding in public, I generally just did my thing — because nursing freely in public was the right thing for me and my babies.
My youngest was a baby a whole five years ago, and I thought that by now — with breastfeeding constantly in the media, and more and more mothers choosing to breastfeed in public — that incidences of breastfeeding shaming would have gone down. But sadly, we are not there yet.
Just last week, Celina Barbour, a mom of three, and a breastfeeding mom to a 4-month-old cutie, alleges that she was teased and mocked for breastfeeding at Victoria’s Secret. According to Barbour, customers at Victoria’s Secret gave her dirty looks, and some even had the audacity to ask her why she was breastfeeding her baby out in the open.
Totally outraged, Barbour and her husband left the store and ventured over to Target, where they made a passionate Facebook Live video about the incident, basically calling out the critics, and explaining why breastfeeding in public is totally natural.
They also took some time to point out the hypocrisy of people complaining about seeing a little bit of breast at a store like Victoria’s Secret that is pretty much all about boobs. I mean, really, how much more ironic can you get than that?
“So if you’re going to go into Victoria’s Secret and say things about breastfeeding … ‘how nasty,’ give snide comments, or looks in a store that is filled with nothing but pictures of people’s boobs hanging out, you probably shouldn’t say anything to someone that’s breastfeeding,” they said in the video.
Barbour’s amazing and supportive husband continued, “It’s a store about boobs. You’re buying bras and underwear that look cute for men to see so that you can have sex. News flash: Sex leads to kids.”
Of the incident, Barbour tells Babble that she had a mix of feelings, ranging from astonishment to laughter. “I was literally in shock,” she says. “And I think because of the irony of it (being in Victoria Secret) I just thought it was funny that in all places it happened there.”
For real: It’s hard to understand why people would be so cruel to a mother who is doing nothing but nourishing her baby — in a bra store of all places. Do people really think that ordinary moms like Barbour are breastfeeding to make a scene, or to grab attention? I think not.
But the story doesn’t stop there. After posting the video, Barbour started to get hate about the video itself. Barbour tells Babble that her Facebook Live video was shared by a critic who had some cruel and unsupportive things to say about it, rudely commenting that Barbour was nursing without a cover, and in a disrespectful manner.
“A girl shared on my first video and said I should stop prancing around and sit down and cover up,” Barbour explains to Babble.
But all that didn’t deter Barbour — it only fueled her fire more. The next day, she took to Facebook Live again to respond to those nasty comments. And let me tell you, her response is totally incredible and absolutely epic.
“The person put, ‘Don’t just prance around like you’re trying to announce it or something, sit the hell down,’” Barbour says in the video. “So I think that’s really funny because first of all, I breastfeed all day standing up in a carrier. I have older kids. I don’t have time to really sit down.”
Seriously. Breastfeeding moms are as busy as anyone else, and if you can find a way to nurse on the go, more power to you. Why should this even be a problem at all?
Oh yeah, I forgot. People are totally freaked out even if they only see a small piece of breast when a woman nurses.
First of all, it’s going to happen. That’s what boobs are for! But not only that, it’s just not possible for all moms and babies to nurse under nursing covers. Besides that, not all moms choose to do so — and that choice should be respected.
Barbour set the record straight on all those matters.
“Real talk here,” she said in the video. “My daughter, she’s 4 months old. She breastfeeds about every 45 minutes to an hour. Why would I put a cover on her head about 12 times a day? Just because someone is uncomfortable with seeing the top of my boob? I’m never going to wear a cover. If you feel like you need to wear a cover, you can wear a cover, that’s up to you. But me, I won’t. The laws protect me, I don’t have to wear a cover.”
Can we give this woman a standing ovation? She isn’t letting any of the critics out there get to her, and she is telling her truth as it is, fearlessly, and with more badassery than most of us can muster even on our best days.
Both of Barbour’s videos were shared on Breastfeeding Mama Talk, where they are quickly going viral. As for Barbour, she just wants to get the message out there that no mother should ever feel scared or embarrassed for doing something as natural and common as feeding her child.
“I just can’t believe in 2017 breastfeeding isn’t considered normal,” she tells Babble. “And that because you’re a mom you’re told you shouldn’t shop in stores like Victoria’s Secret.”
Right on, sister. Let’s hope your message is heard loud and clear — and that sooner than later, moms can go out and feed their babies without fear of criticism or shame.