Breastfeeding proponents are cheering a Texas mother for her clever response after a man criticized her for nursing in public.
While dining with her family on vacation, Melanie Dudley began discreetly breastfeeding her 3-month-old son as she sat in the corner of the establishment with her back to other diners, Today reported. She was then approached by a male patron, who asked her to cover up.
After initially feeling “kind of stunned” by the interaction, Dudley thought of a humorous way to acquiesce to the man’s request: She placed the nursing cover on her head.
A photograph documenting the moment was eventually posted on Facebook by a friend of Dudley’s mother-in-law, and has been shared over 211,000 times since July 31.
“A friend’s daughter-in-law was told to ‘cover up’ while feeding her baby, so she did!🤣 I’ve never met her, but I think she’s AWESOME!!!” the friend wrote, while asking other Facebook users to “please share” the post.
“I’m SO over people shaming women for nursing!!!” the friend wrote, later adding: “PS: To reduce speculation: it was a man who asked her to cover up, it was 90 degrees and extremely humid, and, no, she wasn’t in a Muslim country disrespecting traditions.🙄”
Dudley was initially wearing a breastfeeding cover inside the restaurant but decided to remove it due to the extreme heat, she said on Today.
“It was like, 95 degrees, and my little baby was sweating,” she remarked. “I said, ‘You know what? I’m on vacation, I’m taking this off.’ ”
“It wasn’t like a salacious fight or anything,” she continued. “I had no words so I thought, I’ll just cover my head instead.”
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Dudley, who also has 4-year-old twins, went on to share that she’s been moved by all the support she’s gotten for the photo.
“I just can’t believe it. It’s wild to me,” she told Today. “If there’s a larger message to this, it’s just be supportive.”
“I hope the momentum keeps growing. Let’s be supportive of women who want to nurse in public, with or without a cover,” she added. “I mean, just do your thing. It’s not hurting anyone.”