When Elicia Binman, 21, of Maplewood, Minnesota, sat down in front of a table advertising infant formula to nurse her daughter, she had no idea that the photo taken of her would go viral. But it did. And there she was: A young mom, feeding her little girl in the best way she possibly can.
Accompanying the photo, she also said she didn't judge moms who choose formula, but it was actually just an attempt to raise awareness about nursing in general and trying to normalize it in public. And yet the question becomes: Is that actually what she did?
I nursed my daughter for one year and my son for three. I plan to nurse my new baby due in January as long as she wants it. But you know what? That's my private decision. Nursing was a great thing and it worked well for us, but never once, in all those years of nursing my babies, did it ever occur to me that it somehow makes me superior. Sadly, that is not always the case.
Binman may not have intended any judgment by the photo. She may very well have had great intentions. But sometimes even good intentions go bad, and in this case, it's actually a very insulting, demeaning photo.
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It may not seem like it on the surface. But if you look a little closer, its message is clear: There is one "right" way to feed your baby and anything else is subpar.
In many ways, it's true. Breast IS best. But you know what is also best? Being supportive of other people. Being sensitive to other people's feelings. Accepting that some people make different choices than us and being OK with that.
Look at any parenting website (even this one) and very often you will see commenters so full of themselves, so righteous in their own decisions that they feel like they can say whatever they want. Those people aren't only embarrassing themselves (because, let's face it, that attitude is very unsophisticated), they are also being very cruel, and only insecure people engage in that kind of cruelty. Now, Binman is probably not being cruel here. At least not intentionally. But those who get behind her and scream about how breast is better than formula might be.
These are the kinds of fights we American moms get into all the time and they are just so trivial and silly. They make us look stupid and I am ashamed to even be associated with it.
I happily breastfed my children and will do so again (assuming I can), but I will not be associated with this kind of public shaming. It doesn't make you a superior mom to breastfeed, cloth diaper, wear your baby, and stay home with them. It just doesn't. I would be embarrassed to be associated with that kind of thought.
Do you think this photo is rude?
Image via Facebook