Promoting breastfeeding with social media is a positive way to encourage mothers to engage in a natural facet of human life.
Social media captures every aspect of daily life. From Snapchats of the food we consume to tweets about picking children up from school, up-to-the-minute public posts about location and activity are the norm in the 21st century.
Breastfeeding is a normal, daily activity for scores of mothers with young children. Why, then, should anyone have the right to claim that this life-giving activity has no place on social media?
For years, society has questioned the appropriateness of breastfeeding in public. Time magazine contributor Darlena Cunha says that the reason for the public shaming that comes with breastfeeding is “all tied up in how society views women and their bodies, still bent on objectifying us and seeing us as vessels for sexual gratification before seeing us as human beings.”
Because of the shame associated with public breastfeeding, many women hesitate. Leilani Rogers said, “I feared shame. I feared judgement…and it wasn’t until my fourth baby that I worked up the courage to breastfeed openly outside of my house.”
Rogers’ experiences inspired her to begin the Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project in 2014. Rogers explained to The Huffington Post that the mission of PBAP hinges on the idea that “the more you see something the more normal it becomes.”
For this very reason, mothers and advocates of public breastfeeding should use social media as a tool to normalize unrestricted nursing.
Mothers posting photos to Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook receive mixed reviews from followers.
Julia Prudko runs a successful PR agency in Moscow, Russia. In order to express her beliefs about the normalcy and beauty of breastfeeding, Prudko posted a photo of herself -- nude but strategically covered -- nursing her newborn child on Instagram.
After one week, the photo received 2,400 likes and 239 comments.
Some of the comments were negative, including one follower who responded, “Never understood women like this!”
Other users, however, were positive and joined in Prudko’s fight for the normalization of public breastfeeding.
Prudko said, “You don't have to turn into a recluse, not leaving the house. You can and should live a full life and share this colorful life with your child.”
She added, “'I'm happy to join the army of militant supporters. I absolutely do believe it is very, very important to explain to the public that you need to feed your baby, when and where he wants to be fed.”
Other soldiers in the “army of militant supporters” should follow Prudko’s example and use social media, a far-reaching tool, to promote awareness and continue to normalize women’s right to feed their children in public.