"Breastfeeding Policy" Bride Speaks Out: "We Did Nothing Wrong"

Photographed by Nicole Maroon.
Update: The bride and groom, whose names are Shelby and Garrett, told their side of the story on wedding planner Sandy Malone's blog. Malone publicly supported them, decrying Ceara's (the breastfeeding mom's) "penchant for popping out a boob to breastfeed wherever and whenever she happens to be." (This is despite breastfeeding being the logical way for a breastfeeding parent to feed their child while in public, and the fact that it is legal in 49 states — including Texas, where this all went down.)
Shelby said that, while she's "over it," she did want to clarify that they sent the "breastfeeding policy" to five other couples and didn't mean to single out Ceara. She and her husband don't regret making the request, because it was "our wedding," but she wishes Ceara had approached her to discuss it rather than going public.
While Shelby's husband Garrett is best friends with Ceara's husband, Shelby and Ceara are casual acquaintances. "We used to go out to dinners together, spend Halloween together... We always got along until she started having kids and shoving breastfeeding down everybody's throat," said Shelby. "And it's not that we have a problem with breastfeeding, but we have a problem when we see her boob, see her nipple. That's where we have a problem."
She added: "It's just crazy to me that they would expect us to still be friends with them after what they did to us. I'm sorry, but friends just don't do that."
This story was originally published on September 27, 2017, at 4:20 p.m.
A word of advice: If you ever plan a wedding, don't make your guests who are breastfeeding feed their children in the bathroom. Actually, don't have a "breastfeeding policy" at all because it's 2017 and parents should be able to do so in public if they want. For crying out loud, a photo of a bride breastfeeding while getting her makeup done at her own wedding went viral earlier this year. An Australian senator breastfed on the floor of Parliament. And, public breastfeeding is legal in 49 states (the exception is Idaho) and the District of Columbia. We're making strides in this arena — but also, apparently, taking steps back.
Unfortunately, one couple has become the internet's example of what not to do when it comes to accommodating nursing parents at your wedding. According to a recent post made by a mom on the Facebook group Breastfeeding Mama Talk, they attached a note to their wedding invitation that read:
"To all our mommies who are breastfeeding, we are thinking of you; we are sensitive to the fact that you may need to breastfeed during our event, therefore we have designated an appropriate place for you to feed your baby so that you do not have to do so in public in front of our Family and Friends. For your convenience, we are accommodating you with a comfortable and private area with chairs and baby blankets in the ladies' room. We request that you use this area when you are breastfeeding. Thank you."
Um, yep, they italicized "our Family and Friends." And, yes, they asked people to breastfeed in the bathroom. The mom who posted the note on Facebook, who said she was invited to this wedding (her husband's best friend's) when she was nursing both a 3-month-old and a 2-year-old, at first said she didn't know what to do — leave her kids with a friend or stand her ground.
"This is disgusting, but unfortunately this is not surprising," she wrote on Facebook. "It's never okay to expect or demand that a mom breastfeed in a private area." She added: "I don't eat in the bathroom — I'm not feeding my child in there!" She also mentioned that she and the couple have had several arguments about her public breastfeeding, and that she felt the note was targeted at her.
The Facebook group's administrator said that the mom ended up leaving both of her children with a friend and a grandparent.
But even though she found someone to watch her kids, she still says the breastfeeding-shaming is unacceptable — and that there's nothing inappropriate about a mother feeding her child.
"I still can't see why a nursing mom is 'banished' to bathrooms or other areas unless she chooses to go there for her and baby's comfort," she told Babble. "If I as a nursing mom have to go to a bathroom or other room to nurse, then I think moms who bottle-feed should have to go, too."
Welcome to Mothership: Parenting stories you actually want to read, whether you're thinking about kids right now or not, from egg-freezing to taking home baby and beyond. Because motherhood is a big if — not when — and it's time we talked about it that way.
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