When Rebecca Wanosik was asked to breast-feed another woman's baby in an emergency, her immediate answer was yes. And when she nursed the stranger's baby in tandem with her own son, the two babies began holding hands — resulting in a pretty heartwarming photo. Facebook, however, seemed to think the photo was inappropriate, and the company promptly disabled Wanosik's account after she posted it to her account. Though Wanosik eventually got her account back, she was shocked — not only by Facebook's actions, but also by the nasty comments the post received from other users.
“The hand-holding got me,” Wanosik told People. “I shared it with the other mother, and she pretty much had the same tear-jerking reaction of, oh, this is so precious. She wanted to share it with her family, and everyone was so excited that they were holding hands and it was so cute.” However, other Facebook users weren't so keen on the photo. “Someone called me a pedophile, someone said, ‘Oh, can you feed me next?’" she said. "People said some really hateful things. It was awful." People were outraged, it seems, that she was breast-feeding another woman's baby. However, it's worth noting that a woman feeding another woman's child was common before we had the feeding bottle and baby formula — wet nurses were often employed for that very reason. And as long as the woman breast-feeding your baby is healthy, it's generally considered a safe practice. And all of this happened before Facebook made the questionable decision to deactivate Wanosik's account. The situation, she said, opened her eyes to how much stigma there still is around breast-feeding. "At first it wasn’t about making a statement, but after this outrage it’s clearly something that’s not normalized and we need to raise awareness,” she said. “Breast-feeding’s not easy for everyone. It’s not something that people can just start doing without support and help. Some people — yes. Others, no. And it’s so stigmatized.” She shared her story, she said, because "I don’t want any person to feel like they have to stop breast-feeding because someone around them is uncomfortable with what they’re doing." Wanosik is right; there's nothing inappropriate about a mother feeding her baby, nor is there anything wrong with one mom helping another mom out. We as a society need to stop shaming women who do so publicly. Breast-feeding can be difficult enough without the additional worry that someone is going to make rude, inappropriate comments.