The year is 2018, but still, the unfortunate age-old trend of criticizing women for their breastfeeding choices remains alive and well. Case in point: Bachelor in Paradise alum Jade Roper Tolbert received backlash over an Instagram post this week of her breastfeeding baby Emerson. The photo in question was sponsored by ThirdLove, a bra company that offers designs specifically for moms who are breastfeeding.
Mommy PSA! Nursing Emmy has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life (I adore these after feeding snuggles, too). It’s so incredible how our bodies transform during and post-pregnancy. But all nursing mommies out there know how difficult finding a good, functional nursing bra can be! @thirdlove has created a comfortable, practical and beautiful nursing bra that FITS! You go on their site and take a quick fit finder quiz and they ship the bras straight to your door. Even better they offer a 100% fit guarantee! They have a wide range of styles and sizes for every woman. (I also got a beautiful lace bra). Use my code JADE15 for 15% off your first order! #mythirdlove
Sweet photo, right? We think so — but Tolbert received a shocking slew of critical comments from people who accused her of portraying an "unrealistic" depiction of what breastfeeding really looks like. On Monday, Tolbert responded to the haters in an Instagram story.
"The truth about that picture is I had a photo shoot the day before and I hadn’t taken my makeup off, so that’s literally the day before’s makeup," Tolbert explained, as reported by People. "And it was slightly staged — we positioned Emerson just right to make the picture [work], but that was literally right after I had fed her and she had fallen asleep on me and we do have those moments where we snuggle so I don’t get what’s so unreal about it."
Tolbert also shared that this isn't the first time she's been criticized due to a breastfeeding post. After posting a photo of herself breastfeeding Emerson at a restaurant table, commenters expressed disdain over the fact that she chose to cover up Emerson.
"People were telling me that I shouldn’t cover up and I was actually getting flack [sic] for putting a cover over my baby, which I just don’t understand. Why that would be something people would give me shit about?" Tolbert recalled.
Let's just get this straight: There's absolutely nothing wrong with public breastfeeding — with or without a cover-up of any kind. Tolbert and every other mom should be free to breastfeed in the manner that's most comfortable for them; in fact, most U.S. breastfeeding laws support this.
The silver lining is that Tolbert received an outpouring of support after posting her Instagram story, and she couldn't be more grateful for her fans. In her latest post, Tolbert explained that fielding the criticism was an unpleasant emotional experience because breastfeeding is one of her favorite things about being a mom.
"Thank you for letting me be myself and express how much I love being a mom and thank you for letting me express myself when I feel like I'm failing as a mom (or failing others) or I feel unsure of myself," Tolbert wrote. "All the moms out there that support each other, you're the best."
You guuuuys, thank you so much for all the support I've received about my Instagram stories earlier. It truly, truly means so much to me and I tried to read every kind and empowering message from each of you. I was very emotional earlier. and I think it's because my nursing relationship with Emmy is one of my most favorite mommy experiences (even though it's had its ups and downs, because it's an ever changing experience). Thank you for letting me be myself and express how much I love being a mom and thank you for letting me express myself when I feel like I'm failing as a mom (or failing others) or I feel unsure of myself. All the moms out there that support each other, you're the best. *This is my favorite post-feeding picture of Emmy and me, I can't believe she used to be this little.*
Moms supporting other moms — more of that, please. Less of the shaming stuff.
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