An Indiana mom was breastfeeding her son at TGI Fridays recently, when a man photographed her and posted it to social media. Her response has fellow moms cheering.
"I want to know if this is appropriate or inappropriate as I'm trying to eat my Fridays, there are little kids around," the unnamed man wrote on Facebook of Conner Kendall feeding of her 4-month-old son Carter. "I understand feeding in public but could you at least cover your boob up?!"
Kendall soon found out about the post—and the man's identity—and wrote him a lengthy Facebook message that she then posted on her profile.
"While I in no way, shape, or form owe you any explanation I would like to clarify a few things," she wrote. "I did nothing wrong, I turned away to latch my son and pulled my shirt back up when he was finished out of respect for others in the restaurant. I do not use a cover, because my son fights them, screams, and doesn't eat at all while under them. If he had been screaming because he was hungry then I would be a bad mom for not feeding my hungry child. I did not pump before leaving home, A. Because my son does not like to take a bottle and B. because it is my right to feed him any way I see fit wherever I see fit."
Her post quickly resonated with moms around the world who posted their support.
"I have always agreed that until people start eating in the bathroom, a baby has the right to be breastfed in a restaurant," wrote Jennifer Stewart.
"I applaud you for being the kind of mom that feeds her child in this special way, ESPECIALLY in public," added Krisi Lechien Clayton. "You are so right about society sexualizing the breast. And you are spot on that it IS the VERY BEST WAY to feed your child and better than formula."
Kendall and her supporters join a growing movement of breastfeeding mothers—and those who recognize the importance of breastfeeding mothers—who are (rightfully) unwilling to go to the bathroom or a car to feed their children. Some moms are showing their solidarity through social media by posting snaps of their breastfeeding babies with the hashtag #normalizebreastfeeding, while the women behind the Breastfeeding Mama Talk Facebook group is "complying" with a request to cover up in the best way possible:
Though the fight is getting louder, experiences like Kendall's shows that there's still plenty of stigma left with public breastfeeding. However, she's turning the negative experience into her own opportunity to educate others.
"You have given me a platform and a drive to advocate breastfeeding ferociously. You've inspired me into a call of action. Rest assured, there will be action," Kendall continued in her letter. "Not only by me, the one you violated, but others like me who feel you violated them and their rights. Those that you are degrading by shaming the act of feeding their child. How I pity those who would actually belittle a mother for taking care of her child."