After giving birth, new moms have more important things to worry about than other people’s opinions of them breastfeeding in public. Number one, there’s that starving baby who demands to be fed right then and there. And then there’s the fact that in most places, it’s a mother’s right to feed her baby wherever she pleases.
In May, Jessie Maher of Connecticut gave birth to a beautiful baby girl named Zinnia. And like any other busy mom, Maher soon had to bring her daughter with her on errands. So last week, she took Zinnia to Target to do some shopping.
While Maher was finishing up paying for her items, her daughter started crying. So the new mom quickly finished her transaction and sat down in the store’s cafe with her daughter to breast feed.
“I plopped myself down and started feeding her right away… I was just sort of minding my own business—just sitting there—when the man turned around and saw me,” Maher told TODAY Parents. “He started talking to me and yelling at me. He said, ‘Do you have to do that here? Can’t you go somewhere else? Can’t you cover up?’”
Maher was surprised. But then things intensified further.
“He just got louder and louder,” said Maher. “And angrier and angrier. It got kind of scary. The only thing I said to him at that point—really the entire time—was, ‘I am feeding my baby. I have the right to be here.’”
Even after Maher turned away from the man, he continued to confront her. So at this point, Maher turned on her cellphone camera and started recording. Soon, another shopper and a group of Target employees came to the mother’s side, shielding her and asking the man to leave her alone.
Kristy Welker, from Target’s public relations team, says that the store’s staff were simply doing their job.
“At Target, we want all of our guests to feel comfortable shopping with us. Our breastfeeding policy, which applies to all stores, is just one of the ways in which we support our guests,” said Welker. “Guests who choose to breastfeed in public areas of the store are welcome to do so without being made to feel uncomfortable.”
Now, Maher has posted the video she recorded that day in hopes of bringing awareness to breastfeeding shaming. And it looks like it’s working. More than 7.6 million people viewed the video in its first three days online.
“I really do feel like this needs to be talked about,” said Maher. “People need to know that I’m not the only mom that’s been attacked for breastfeeding. He’s not the only man who has attacked a mom for breastfeeding… There’s too much shaming of women for all of their choices — too much attacking of moms.”
Watch the video of the incident by clicking the photo below.
We hope that Maher’s video brings awareness to this issue so that women stop judging one another and instead show support for each other.
As Maher says, “If you see a mom being attacked for anything—even if it’s just a choice she’s making about how she will feed her baby or where she will give birth—stick up for her. She’s made a choice and it has nothing to do with anyone else… Mamas have to stick up for each other.”
Please show your support for Maher and breastfeeding moms everywhere and share this video!
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