— Paala Secor (@paalasecor) May 27, 2015
Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford got a lot more than their typical glass of wine while taping their show last Saturday. Instead, the women of Today received a pack of angry new mommies breastfeeding at their doorstep during what they called a ‘nurse-in.’
The hosts of Today came under fire after shaming mothers who post breastfeeding photos onto their social media accounts. During their “OK! Or Not OK” segment the women presented a few photos of mothers breastfeeding their children on social media and followed it up with a discussion about whether or not it was appropriate.
“There are two types of people, Hoda — those who feel the need to share their most precious moments and those who’d like to keep it private like I prefer.” Kotb answered with, “I say breastfeeding is beautiful and natural, but sharing it on social media: TMI.”
Apparently the “TMI” was TMI, because it sparked outrage in breastfeeding mothers watching the program all over the world.
— Christine Scannella (@cscannella522) May 21, 2015
— Lynn Johnson Pace (@RawFoodLynn) May 21, 2015
Leading the breast-bearing cavalry at Today was mother from Virginia and #normalizedbreastfeeding advocate Jill DeLorenzo. She created a Change.org petition — which only needs a few more signatures before it reaches its goal of 5 thousand — and she organized the peaceful nurse-in for the May 23 taping of Today.
“The purpose is to show that breastfeeding is nothing to fear or hide from, in contrast to the portrayal made by Kathie Lee and Hoda. Mothers will be nursing their babies peacefully and cheerfully,” said DeLorenzo’s press release said for the event.
— #NormalizeBFing (@normalizebfing) May 26, 2015
According to the press release, the moms staged the nurse-in with five demands for Today:
1. Issue an on-air apology for the sentiments expressed on the Thursday, May 21 show that were targeted at humiliating breastfeeding mothers;
2. Publicly extend words of support for all mothers who choose to share pictures of themselves feeding their children, whether celebrity or not, whether breastfeeding or bottle feeding, and whether covered or not;
3. Consider airing a segment with breastfeeding mothers who describe the importance of normalizing breastfeeding;
4. Cease the censorship of breastfeeding photos, as well as breastfeeding-supportive posters and social media postings;
5. Remove the May 21, 2015 “OK! Or Not OK!” segment from all future airings of this episode.
While the nurse-in might not have been an overwhelming success (many of the women’s signs were confiscated due to “language,” and the turnout wasn’t as large as they had hoped), the women were still able to make their message heard, and they received a lot of support on social media.
“We will continue to bring light to a cause that is so important. We made connections and will continue to support together. This is not only for us, but for our daughters and their children too,” one of the protesters Lisa Maloney wrote on BreastFeedingWorldProject.com
The women make it clear that this is only the beginning of the fight to normalize breast feeding, and that Today better get the picture (even pictures of women breastfeeding) if they want to keep up with their demographic.
“Sharing these images helps encourage future moms to breastfeed,” Laura Delmonico, founder of the Nationwide Nurse-In remarks. “Giving them confidence to be unashamed of what their breasts were designed to do. Why would anyone think it is okay to shame women for doing such a normal, beautiful thing? Why is the Today Show so out of the loop?”
The battle to breastfeed without shame has begun. What do you think about the #brelfie (yes, a breastfeeding selfie)?