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Why moms breastfeed in public: The truth and nothing but the truth

Jeanne Sager is parenting and living editor for SheKnows. A photographer, social media junkie, and crazed mom to an even crazier kid, she's strung words together for TheStir.com, Babble.com, Parents, Kiwi Magazine, and others.

Shockingly candid illustration of what breastfeeding in public is really about

It happens all too often. A woman breastfeeds her baby in a public place, and suddenly... Headlines!

More: Gorgeous photos of moms feeding their babies remind us to 'judge less'

She's been done wrong by some jerk who doesn't know the law (which, by the by, ensures that nursing a hungry baby is protected in this country... even when moms leave the confines of their own homes). She wants answers, and rightfully so.

But then come the Internet comments.

More: Even Disney princesses can't breastfeed in public without harassment

"Moms need to stop looking for attention."

"Moms should go find a bathroom to feed their baby."

And the ever popular "That's pornographic."

And on and on it goes. Is it any wonder a recent survey found a full third of moms feel embarrassed to nurse their babies outside their home? An estimated 6 in 10 actually take steps to hide away if they're forced to feed in a public setting. What's more, 10 percent of moms who opted against breastfeeding cited a worry about breastfeeding in public as part of their reasoning.

But ask a mother why she's breastfeeding in public, and chances are she will have one answer for you: "My child was hungry."

Ask the teeming hordes of judgmental Internet commenters, on the other hand, and you'll get everything from claims that she's flaunting her breasts to she's making a cry for help (yes, really, we've seen that one more than a few times). So we thought we'd settle this one, once and for all.

More: Life-sized breastfeeding signs promote acceptance of nursing in public

What is a mom really doing when she breastfeeds in public? Here's a handy guide that explains it!

Shockingly candid illustration of what breastfeeding in public is really about
Image: Design via Becci Burkhart/SheKnows

What do you think a mom is doing when she breastfeeds in public?

Shockingly candid illustration of what breastfeeding in public is really about
Image: Brand New Images/Getty Images

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