SOUTH EUCLID, Ohio — There are so many joys that have come with motherhood, but there are those taboo issues that nobody really talks about, like breastfeeding in public.
Breast milk is often referred to as “liquid gold,” and it’s not just because of the health benefits breastfeeding provides to both baby and mom.
“The most natural way that a mother can connect with her baby. I’m such an advocate for it,” said mother Kristen Horvath-Broda.
Unfortunately, not everything about breastfeeding is always beautiful. Horvath-Broda is a mom of three and she’s currently breastfeeding her six-month-old daughter, Elowen.
“I have a situation I can remember when I was being shamed at a local museum with my oldest son and it happened just this past Friday with another museum with my daughter when somebody came past me and was like, are you kidding? You're doing that, like right here?”
“We’ve definitely gotten some glances and side-eye from people giving us looks," says Samantha Hatt Miller, who is breastfeeding her toddler.
These experiences are precisely the reason Las Vegas mom, Destiny Smith created National Breastfeeding in Public Day.
“Every time I looked up while feeding, there’s always somebody looking at me. Always somebody giving me a weird look, like ewww, what is she doing?” says Smith.
The mother of three took on the task of creating a day where breastfeeding moms can unite in public—in the hopes of eventually normalizing breastfeeding in public.
Smith says, “It’s sad to me. Because we all eat. We all eat at restaurants but I’m not seeing moms feed their babies because they’re feeling embarrassed or they’re lacking confidence. Or they’re lacking support.”
Dr. Ann Witt created "Breastfeeding Medicine of Northeast Ohio” in 2008 to help mothers get through the bumps of the journey.
She said about 85% of mothers with new babies, breastfeed, which she says has greatly increased over the last 20 years.
However, Witt says, “That is definitely an area where work needs to be done. I would think on some level it has to do with how we’ve sexualized our breasts.”
Only since 2018 has breastfeeding in public been a protected practice in all 50 states.
Smith says she's excited about making this day bigger and better in the coming years.
“I want moms to really enjoy it and not let society prevent them from enjoying it or severing their breastfeeding bonds with their babies. Whether it’s at the Starbucks, at the beach, or your favorite café or your favorite restaurant.”
Smith's National Breastfeeding in Public Day has gained so much traction online, it's now being turned into World Breastfeeding in Public Day.
Group breastfeeding events have been planned in at least 50 different countries for Tuesday, Feb. 22.
Breastfeeding Awareness Month is also celebrated in August.