NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne was walking through a supermarket when he spotted a mother breastfeeding her child. "See a mom breast feeding little kid,'' he tweeted. "Don't feel like shopping or eating anymore.'' While many of his fans were outraged, others openly agreed with the driver's comments.
Breastfeeding mothers -- like Kylee and Jena below -- often face harassment from people who don't understand a woman's privilege to breastfeed. Find the courage to stand your ground and maybe even change a few minds.
Even before her daughter was born, Kylee knew she would breastfeed her. After tons of research -- and some inspiration from a friend who did it before her -- Kylee planned to breastfeed on demand for six months: no formula, bottles or pacifiers.
"It was really hard,'' the new mom admitted of breastfeeding exclusively. "Feeding her every two hours around the clock was exhausting, but I knew I was doing the best thing for my baby.''
Her husband's family was unimpressed... and critical. "They told me that 'nursing was out of fashion,' and that I would 'be a slave' to my baby's needs. I was really hurt."
Things got worse when Kylee's daughter developed colic. "My mother-in-law insisted that my breastfeeding was the cause of my baby's crying," Kylee remembers. "And she took every opportunity to tell me that my daughter needed formula."
Kylee bit her tongue for awhile but finally blew her top when she left her baby with Grandma to run a short errand. "While I was gone, my mother-in-law tried to feed my baby a bottle of formula!" The outraged young mother finally put her foot down.
"I let her have it. I reminded her that my breastfed baby was growing beautifully and had never been sick -- unlike my sister-in-law's formula-fed baby who endured one ear infection after another."
Kylee is proud that she was able to breastfeed for 18 months and says, "I would do it again in a heartbeat."
Jena, a self-assured, educated fashion designer, opted to breastfeed all three of her children. She was horrified by the way some have reacted to her decision to breastfeed.
Like Kylee, Jena faced remarks from her own family. "There were certain ignorant relatives who even made sexist and dirty remarks,'' she recalled with disbelief. Total strangers were even worse...
Total strangers react
"I have been taunted, harassed and even thrown out of a dark and noisy theater show at Disneyland," Jena said. "The usher was trying to be polite yet firm as he escorted me and my baby out of the theater, saying...'Nursing is not allowed here!' I was in shock as I always used a blanket to cover myself and the baby, thinking that surely nobody would notice!''
Jena was once approached in her own car! "I was nursing my child with the windows rolled up in the mall parking lot,'' she said, "when an elderly woman began knocking on my door and shaking her finger at me.''
The woman continued her tirade telling Jena, "I think what you are doing is disgusting! You should be ashamed of yourself!" Jena remembers that ugly experience like it was yesterday.