A Mom Is Trying to Normalize Breastfeeding in Public Amid General Criticism
In 2019, Jennifer Mancuso, a 38-year-old mother of four, dealt with personal conviction and societal norms as she navigated the challenges of breastfeeding her 18-month-old twins in public. Facing prejudices, she now advocates for the right to public breastfeed and empowers other women to follow her lead.
Jennifer Mancuso, a mother of four (Parker, Piper, and the twins Aria and Asher), breastfed her elder daughters until they naturally stopped. Wanting to continue this practice with Aria and Asher, she first encountered difficulties when trying to breastfeed both babies at the same time, but when she found her way around it, nothing could stop her. But she wasn’t ready for the stigma she encountered around double breastfeeding.
Jennifer, a professional photographer, juggles her schedule and the needs of her children, requiring her to breastfeed the twins during drop-off and pick-up times at the nursery. Recently, during one such instance, she was approached and asked to relocate to the staff room—a space no larger than a wardrobe and shielded from view.
She battled for her rights.
Instead of immediately relocating her children to another nursery, Mancuso opted to stand her ground and confront the issue. It wasn’t an easy battle. They engaged in several back-and-forths, but neither side was willing to back down. Jennifer recalls that she couldn’t abruptly pull the twins out and secure alternative childcare.
Jennifer mentioned that the center was committed to revising their handbook to prevent similar incidents in the future. They even sought her insights on double breastfeeding.
It wasn’t the first time it happened
Jennifer often uses her social media to vent and to reveal prejudices she faces. The first time she double-breastfed her twins in public, she saw a mother with her tween daughter walking by them, telling her daughter not to look and whispering, “Disgusting.” Another time, at a water park, when she decided to double breastfeed her babies at the lazy river, she heard the lifeguard exclaiming, “What the hell is that lady doing over there?!”
These situations could have made her give up breastfeeding in public, but for Jennifer, they just ignited her fire to keep advocating for the cause.
She still faces criticism.
Jennifer is firm on her decision to keep breastfeeding her babies in public. Still, to this day, she constantly publishes photos of this moment on her social media. But this doesn’t stop negative comments from coming. The most common feedback she gets is that she wants attention and that she wants to appear nude in public to exhibit herself. People tend to say that Jennifer is trying to shock by being photographed in this situation and posting on social media.
But Jennifer believes this kind of comment keeps appearing because people don’t get to see women breastfeeding regularly. So now, Jennifer aims to normalize breastfeeding, empower other mothers, and challenge societal norms. Jennifer, now confident in her right to breastfeed openly, believes that her experience could help other women breastfeed without fear of judgment or criticism.
Jennifer Mancuso’s struggles open up a dialogue about the need for greater awareness and acceptance of breastfeeding practices. This is a natural and essential aspect of maternal care that contributes to the well-being of both the mother and the child.