A recent incident has brought to light a concerning trend of public shaming against breastfeeding mothers as online platforms become a battleground for divisive opinions.
Isabel Lomax, a young mother, inadvertently became the face of this struggle when a video of her breastfeeding her child at a beach surfaced on social media, sparking a heated debate about the boundaries of breastfeeding in public spaces.
Caught in the social media crossfire
Isabel's morning ritual of scrolling through her Facebook feed took an unexpected turn when she stumbled upon a video of herself breastfeeding at the beach. What made the video disturbing was not just the act of capturing her intimate moment without consent, but the accompanying caption that questioned her choice not to cover up.
The caption read, "I’m not shaming women who breastfeed their babies. I’m shaming the woman who breastfed in public with no respect to cover themselves up and just let their boobs hang out (nipple included) for everyone to see! COVER TF UP!!!" The post continued to implore mothers to be discreet and concluded with a pointed, "For real, cover yourself up. What the f**k is wrong with people?"
A Defiant Response to Unwarranted Criticism
Isabel's response was swift and powerful. Taking to TikTok, she shared her own video in which she appears topless, breastfeeding her child with a sense of pride and ownership.
In her video, Isabel questioned the logic behind the shaming, asking what was wrong with feeding a child naturally and without shame. She boldly confronted her shamer, highlighting the misplaced priorities of those who resort to public humiliation instead of open communication.
She also shared her disbelief at the choice to record her breastfeeding rather than approach her with concerns. She emphasised the importance of normalising breastfeeding in public spaces and urged empathy and understanding.
Supportive Backlash and Empowerment
Isabel's video struck a chord with a wide audience, garnering hundreds of thousands of likes and sparking an avalanche of comments in support of her stance. Fellow mothers, women, and allies rallied behind her, commending her for standing up against public shaming and advocating for the right to breastfeed openly.
“Beautiful! I teach my boys that it’s amazing that moms can do this, and they can see it but don’t stare because it’s impolite,” one woman said. Many commenters shared their own experiences of breastfeeding in public and the challenges they've faced. One mother exclaimed, “I always tell people to put a shirt over their heads so they don’t have to see me breastfeed, lol, or they can go to the bathroom to eat while she eats at the table.” “I nurse publicly and have for eight months now, and this is my worst nightmare. I can’t imagine how you felt; I’m so sorry,” stated a fellow mother.
Isabel's video resonated with their struggles and empowered them to continue nurturing their children without feeling pressured to conceal their actions.
Some users also pointed out the glaring irony of baring skin at a place like the beach. Someone mentioned that the beach was a fairly common place for people to wear little clothing. “She’s at the beach... Most people go half-naked with thongs or tiny tops. The woman can simply tell her son that babies eat that way or with a bottle,” they stated. “Complaining about nakedness at a beach is insane anyway." Everyone is practically naked, some more than others. Who cares?” echoed another user.
A Ripple Effect for Change
The incident involving Isabel Lomax serves as a poignant reminder that despite the progress made in normalising breastfeeding, there's still a long way to go in reshaping societal attitudes.
Her response has fueled a wider conversation about body positivity, autonomy, and the empowerment of mothers to feed their children as nature intended. While the incident began as a negative encounter, it has sparked an outpouring of support, united voices, and a determination to break down the stigma surrounding public breastfeeding. Isabel's courage has reminded the world that public shaming will not deter mothers from prioritising their children's well-being and their right to breastfeed without fear.
Suggested Reading: World Breastfeeding Week: Let's Stop Shaming Formula Feeding Moms