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How to Handle Breastfeeding Judgement

And how your response sets an example for everyone looking.

How to Handle Breastfeeding Judgement

*We’ve partnered with Bravado Designs to help normalize breastfeeding anytime, anywhere.

The world of motherhood can often be filled with differing opinions - and that can be especially true when it comes to breastfeeding your baby. As mothers, in our hearts and heads, we know we are entitled to feed our baby wherever, whenever; yet those first public nursings can still come with fear, shame and incredible self-consciousness. But, what if you thought of every public breastfeeding session not only as a way to keep baby’s belly full, but also as an opportunity to empower another mother who’s watching? Maybe seeing you breastfeed in public will help her to be more confident and secure next time she’s feeling judgement that can sometimes come along with motherhood.

FEATURED VIDEO

In honor of all you tough mamas (and the tough mamas in the making), we’ve partnered with our friends at Bravado Designs to bring you some beautiful stories of breastfeeding in public. Meet Niurka Maldonado, mom of two, photographed in Brooklyn feeding her daughter Paulina.

“’Tough’. That was my response to my 4-year-old, who was whining and wailing over a toy I had refused to buy her TWO HOURS AGO. I tried to reason with her; I really did. But nothing worked. And so, I reached my limit. When she cried out, ‘I'll never hold your hand again if you don't get it for me,’ I closed my eyes, drew a deep breath in, and said what mothers before me have said for thousands of years, ‘Tough’.

A few days later I lost track of her at a playground. As I walked around looking for her, I heard a bullying older girl call her a baby, trying to convince her to vacate her playground toy of choice. I turned in time to hear my daughter respond with a cool, calm, and collected, ‘Tough’ and I swelled with pride.

I remember back to the days when she was a baby; I was anything but tough. I was petrified of nursing in public. What would people think? What would they say or do? How would they feel towards me and my baby?

Nursing came relatively easy for me. When each of my two daughters was born, they latched fairly quickly, and my supply never faltered. I've always been a rather small-busted lady, so having someone finally just want me for my breasts was a fairly new and exhilarating feeling. Still, I couldn't shake the fear that everyone was judging me when we were out, and I felt embarrassed for a long time about nursing outside of my home.

New motherhood can often feel like junior high, a time when you're convinced everybody is watching your every move and talking about you behind their back. In this state of mine, the briefest moment of eye contact with a stranger can feel like you're on the receiving end of snickering. We do this to ourselves -- does that guy think my son shouldn't be on an iPad? Do these folks assume I spoil my daughter because she's throwing a tantrum? Is that older woman disgusted at the sight of me breastfeeding? What I came to realize over time is, in reality, most people just don't have that kind of time for me. In real life, the only people alive who think of me that often are myself and, well, that little baby who will never again be so dependent on me.

I had to ask myself, what was the example I wanted to set? I made up my mind to get over what I assumed people were thinking, and just be.

In nearly five years of motherhood, I never once experienced a moment of unkindness over breastfeeding. That's not to say I haven't registered a few looks of surprise here and there and the occasional whisper, but overall, people just want to go about their day. And if they don't? If they want to run away or cover me up? … Well, tough.”

Photography by Belle Savransky for Well Rounded.

Niurka is wearing Bravado Designs’ Buttercup Nursing Bra in Bare, pictured below. Buy it here and get 20% off with code BRAVADO20 until JUNE 12.

We want to share your story about breastfeeding in public on Well Rounded! Post a photo on Instagram showing us where you breastfeed, tag us and use the hashtag #thisiswhereibreastfeed. Or email us your story and a photo at info@wellroundedny.com. Make sure to post by Thursday June 15!

These are the best bath time products you can get for under $20

These budget-friendly products really make a splash.

With babies and toddlers, bath time is about so much more than washing off: It's an opportunity for fun, sensory play and sweet bonding moments—with the added benefit of a cuddly, clean baby afterward.

Because bathing your baby is part business, part playtime, you're going to want products that can help with both of those activities. After countless bath times, here are the products that our editors think really make a splash. (Better yet, each item is less than $20!)

Comforts Bath Wash & Shampoo

Comforts Baby Wash & Shampoo

Made with oat extract, this bath wash and shampoo combo is designed to leave delicate skin cleansed and nourished. You and your baby will both appreciate the tear-free formula—so you can really focus on the bath time fun.

Munckin Soft Spot Bath Mat

Munchkin slip mat

When your little one is splish-splashing in the bath, help keep them from also sliding around with a soft, anti-slip bath mat. With strong suction cups to keep it in place and extra cushion to make bath time even more comfortable for your little one, this is an essential in our books.

Comforts Baby Lotion

Comforts baby lotion

For most of us, the bath time ritual continues when your baby is out of the tub when you want to moisturize their freshly cleaned skin. We look for lotions that are hypoallergenic, nourishing and designed to protect their skin.

The First Years Stack Up Cups

First year stack cups

When it comes to bath toys, nothing beats the classic set of stackable cups: Sort them by size, practice pouring water, pile them high—your little one will have fun with these every single bath time.

Comforts Baby Oil

Comforts baby oil

For dry skin that needs a little extra TLC, our team loves Comforts' fast-absorbing baby oil aloe vera and vitamin E. Pro tip: When applied right after drying off your baby, the absorption is even more effective.

KidCo Bath Toy Organizer

KidCo Bath Organizer

Between bathing supplies, wash rags, toys and more, the tub sure can get crowded in a hurry. We like that this organizer gives your little one space to play and bathe while still keeping everything you need within reach.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Life

Becoming a mother has been life-changing. It's been hard, tiring, gratifying, beautiful, challenging, scary and a thousand other things that only a parent would ever understand.

It is these life-changing experiences that have inspired me to draw my everyday life as a stay at home mom. Whether it's the mundane tasks like doing laundry or the exciting moments of James', my baby boy's, first steps, I want to put it down on paper so that I can better cherish these fleeting moments that are often overlooked.

Being a stay-at-home-mom can be incredibly lonely. I like to think that by drawing life's simple moments, I can connect with other mothers and help them feel less alone. By doing this, I feel less alone, too. It's a win-win situation and I have been able to connect with many lovely parents and fellow parent-illustrators through my Instagram account.

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