How, when, and where to breastfeed is a personal choice for every mom. It really only involves a mother and her child, yet as Jennifer Mancuso can attest, there are unfortunately plenty of people who feel otherwise.
Mancuso is a mom of four who became a public breastfeeding activist after being asked not to nurse her 18-month-old twins in the main area of their daycare. Since the incident occurred back in August, Mancuso has made it her mission to breastfeed in public and share photos of herself doing so. Her efforts to normalize nursing have gotten some backlash—particularly online—but as she explained in an Instagram post on Friday, Jan. 25, the criticism is unfounded.
To begin with, Mancuso shut down the claim that she was an "EXHIBITIONIST – because I just want to show of my 'naked' body & 'private' parts." In response to that, she explained that a breast "is no longer a 'private' part" when it's feeding a child. And obviously, when a mom is breastfeeding, "there is never a sex act taking place."
"Honestly, with that concept, a mouth is much more VULGAR than a breast," she added. "Think about alllll the things you can put in your mouth and put your mouth into during a sex act…and do we have to cover up our mouths? No. A mouth is WAY more offensive and often hurtful than a beautiful breast feeding its child."
Valid points. Mancuso also responded to the critics calling her an "attention seeker" for sharing photos of herself breastfeeding twins Asher and Aria in public. "Yes, I am sharing my images for attention," she wrote. "There, I said it. No, seriously, I am! I do it for attention! I want the attention of other mamas so they can read my stories and see my portraits and hopefully find courage, comfort, inspiration, and empowerment in their own lives."
Mancuso wrote that she loves hearing "about women being out in public and thinking about a post of mine and found the inner strength to feed their child right there on the spot."
And those moms have every right to do just that. Breastfeeding in public is legal in all 50 states, yet women from all walks of life have been shamed for it. Like Mancuso, though, plenty of ladies have clapped back at the critics.
Ultimately, every mom should feel empowered to breastfeed in a way that's comfortable for her. As Brooklyn-based lactation consult Freda Rosenfeld told Parents.com, "People should always feel good about nursing their baby"—whether it's behind closed doors or in public.
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This article originally appeared on Parents.com