In a time of heightened awareness of all things body positivity, images and video have gone viral of women breastfeeding at weddings, even when they were standing up and saying the vows. Despite this progress, there continues to be resistance to a woman’s right to nurse her child in public.
One couple made this very clear with a note attached to their wedding invitation. It read:
"To all our mommies who are breastfeeding, we are thinking of you; we are sensitive to the fact that you may need to breastfeed during our event, therefore we have designated an appropriate place for you to feed your baby so that you do not have to do so in public in front of our Family and Friends [their emphasis, not ours]. For your convenience, we are accommodating you with a comfortable and private area with chairs and baby blankets in the ladies' room. We request that you use this area when you are breastfeeding. Thank you."
The mother of two—who posted the note anonymously in a Facebook group for breastfeeding moms—was shocked and appalled, partly because she was wrestling with the decision of whether to attend. Knowing she’d have a two-year-old and a three-month-old at the time of the wedding, and that her husband was in the wedding party unable to help with them, she planned to arrange childcare for the oldest. The younger of the two would be with her in case the child needed to be fed during the wedding. But with this note, it became clear that plan was no longer an option.
Some facilities have rooms designated for moms and babies to be more comfortable while nursing, but that was not the case with this wedding. The mom was disgusted at the thought of breastfeeding in a bathroom.
"I don't eat in the bathroom," she wrote. "I'm not feeding my child in there!"
According to comments from the page’s administrator, the mom ended up leaving both kids with her friend and a grandparent. The friend was also nursing at the time, so they had planned for her to nurse the three-month-old which, according to her message, has happened before.
The mom told Babble that this note came after the bride and groom (who is her husband’s best friend) made multiple comments about her breastfeeding in front of others. Their note, in her opinion, was targeted at her.
“I personally feel that I was the only person who ended up with this ‘note’ and when my husband opened the invitation and found it that’s exactly what he thought too,” she told Babble. “His best friend had previously said something about me not being able to breastfeed at the wedding to my husband way before this but I really and honestly didn’t think she would make it this big of deal.”
Even though this mom was able to find a somewhat suitable solution for the situation, she was still disappointed that an act as natural and essential as breastfeeding is sexualized and singled out in this way.
“I still can’t see why a nursing mom is ‘banished’ to bathrooms or other areas unless she chooses to go there for her and baby's comfort,” she told Babble. “If I as a nursing mom have to go to a bathroom or other room to nurse then I think moms who bottle feed should have to go too.”