While Jennifer Luna breastfed her 10-month-old baby girl, she was actually working in her role as a professional photographer during a Big Latch On event (part of World Breastfeeding Week) when the pictures were taken. However, the first employee she ran into at her local Walmart said he couldn’t develop the photos, and even worse, he refused to give her materials back when she tried to retrieve them.
She also says that a manager got involved and backed up the employee, and both reportedly told her the photos were “obscene.” She says these Walmart staff members argued with her and said that printing these photos was against company policy.
Walmart has since contacted Luna and apologized on the company’s behalf. A spokesperson said to My Fox Boston that it is definitely not against company policy to develop or print breastfeeding photos and that this incident can be chalked up to poor training of a new employee. The company has reached out to the New Hampshire store in question to ensure that its staff is up-to-date on company policy and, hopefully, how to correctly interact with customers.
To be clear, breastfeeding is a legally protected act in 49 out of 50 states in the U.S. (we’re still waiting on Idaho). Breastfeeding is not an obscene act; it’s not indecent exposure; and it is in no way sexual in nature. When a woman breastfeeds her child, she’s feeding her child. She’s not whipping it out or being immodest, and she’s not classless for nursing her baby. And Walmart is definitely not alone when it comes to situations like this. Even Facebook has had its share of issues regarding photos of breastfeeding moms, most recently denying a paid advertisement because it depicted a baby breastfeeding.
It’s insane that in 2015 people are still horrified by the sight of a woman breastfeeding a child and that some people think it’s improper for other adults, husbands and wives and even children to see the horror show that is a mom nursing her kid. Nurturing a baby at the breast is not comparable to masturbating, performing fellatio or urinating in public, and those comparisons really need to stop. Teach your children that breastfeeding is not a big deal, and they won’t grow up to be inconsolable adults who harass nursing moms for doing nothing more than feeding their kids.