Just like many places around the world, including parts of the UK and the US, Mexico is one of those places where a public breastfeeding mom is still considered taboo to many. As of 2014, the country had one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in all of Latin America, with only about 14% of mothers breastfeeding their newborns exclusively for the first 6 months . However, current figures from UNICEF show rates at around 30% , which is still below the world average of 41% .
Following the country’s ban of free baby formula giveaways in hospitals in 2015 , it was expected that breastfeeding rates would increase over time. With increased breastfeeding, undoubtedly there will be an increase in mothers feeding in public. With stigma still fueling this ‘taboo’ in many places around the world, there will no doubt be some increased indices of friction between some mothers and those who say you should ‘cover up’ or to ‘do it in private’. Without saying, shaming women for this is never ok. Luckily this time it was actually pretty funny.
Blanketed heads and nursing babies… what’s cooler?
Melanie Dudley is one witty woman you do not want to mess with. The mom-of-three was on vacation in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, when someone rubbed her the wrong way. According to her, the weather was 90 degrees outside, and while she was breastfeeding her baby in a restaurant, a man walked up to her and asked her to “cover up” . She didn’t state whether he was the manager or not. However, she respectfully “covered up”.
Dudley’s reaction deserves a motherhood award. She just picked up her baby’s blanket, draped it overhead, and continued her nursing business. Legend!
Speaking to News Channel 9, the mom said, “I was on vacation in Cabo San Lucas with my entire family and a man asked me to cover myself,” said Dudley. “I’m usually discreet, but we were seated in the back of the restaurant.”
Dudley went viral when a photo of her with her blanketed head and nursing baby was uploaded on Facebook on July 2018 . Since then, it has garnered 138, 000 reactions, 40,000 comments, and 226,000 shares. The picture certainly gave a lot of nursing mothers confidence in themselves. They don’t owe anyone any discretion because their boobs aren’t handing out for fashion sake.
A lady commented, “Well done mom. Your baby is safe from suffocation. Breastfeed your baby naturally anytime anywhere whenever your baby needs it for nourishment.”
A man’s comment read, “If you don’t like seeing mothers breastfeed their babies, then look away, close your eyes, or mind your business!”
Melanie served that man up with one simple motion that wouldn’t be forgotten in a long time.
Shaming breastfeeding moms in public should be illegal
Even though public breastfeeding has been legalized in all 50 states since July 2018 , women are still getting shamed and embarrassed for nursing their newborns in public. As the saying goes, legalization is NOT normalization. The latter would usually take a lot of time and effort, but this is just plain annoying because breastfeeding is such a natural and important requirement. If women breastfeeding their kids in public is now within the protection of the law, then getting shamed or embarrassed for doing it should be prosecutable. A little extreme maybe, but it would get the point across, right?
What’s so morally and social wrong about a nursing mother nurturing her young one in public, even when she’s trying to be discreet? Some people may argue that it’s indecent and inappropriate, but seriously? All she wants to do is feed her baby. Why don’t they start with banning people from wearing bikinis at the beach or non-bum-covering bum shorts in the summer? In many restaurants, nursing mothers would be shamefully escorted to the bathroom to feed their children. Ew. No one should have to eat in a bathroom, let alone an innocent child.
It’s time to normalize breastfeeding fully. No more taboo. Just acceptance.
- ‘Mexico City’s Campaign To Encourage Breast-Feeding Backfires’ NPR Carrie Kahn. Published May 26, 2014
- ‘Mexico’ Unicef
- ‘Enabling women to breastfeed through better policies and programmes’ World Health Organization
- ‘Mexico bans giveaways of baby formula at hospitals’ BBC Published August 12, 2015.
- ‘Woman told to “cover up” while breastfeeding responds, and the photo has gone viral’ CBS News Caitlin O’Kane. Published August 9, 2018.
- ‘Post by Carol Lockwood’ Facebook Carol Lockwood. Published July 30, 2018.
- ‘Finally! In 2018 it’s legal to breastfeed in public in all 50 states’ USA Today Sonja Haller. Published July 25, 2018.