Olympic Athlete Alysia Montaño Breastfeeds Son, 11 Months, on Live TV: 'Walking the Talk'
The mom of three breastfed her son Lennox during a virtual appearance on the Tamron Hall Show, recounting the experience after it aired
For Alysia Montaño, putting her kids' needs first is a must.
The Olympian — known for running an 800-meter race in 2014 while 8 months pregnant — shared on Instagram Tuesday a behind-the-scenes moment she had while making a live television appearance. Moments before she was set to appear virtually from home, her youngest, son Lennox Leonotis, 11 months, needed to be fed.
She proceeded to breastfeed her baby, telling the team on the other end that she wouldn't cut her child off to go on air.
"Especially now where suddenly motherhood is on full display at all hours of the day I have to tell you I was surprised and sorely disappointed with an interaction I had with an assisting producer," writes Montaño, who is also mom to daughter Linnea, 6, and a son named Aster, 3.
"After a 6:30am check in to a briefing and a background check that ran up to 7am before a 7:30 show. I ran to get ready for my on-air time, sprinting passed my kids to do normal preparations, including getting myself partially fed," she continues. "I was getting ready to sit in my chair and Lennox begins screaming his head off ready to nurse for his morning session."
"No problem my sweet baby, I'll get seated and nurse you while waiting for GO time. I'm on in two and the PA comes on and says ... Can you stop nursing your baby?" recalls the athlete, adding that she replied, "Absolutely Not."
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"PA: we can't air you breastfeeding. Me: Well then I can't be on the show. (PA connects with the Executive Producer and the host). The Executive Producer comes on and happily says, this is motherhood, mommas gotta feed her baby, you're on in one," continues Montaño, recapping the experience.
Montaño says the show's host "sets up my segment and without missing a beat after my intro applauds me for normalizing this aspect of the visibility of motherhood, saying this is the first time we have had a mother nurse on air."
"We go on to talk about my expanded advocacy work in taking a stand and destigmatizing motherhood and further helping show the visibility of motherhood with our non-profit or @andmother_org," she adds.
The talk show was the Tamron Hall Show, and in a clip from the episode, Hall, 50 — who welcomed her first child, son Moses, in April 2019 — says: "In the commercial break, my team was just going crazy in my ears going, 'She's breastfeeding right now and we're about to have a baby breastfed on live TV!' "
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"We got a break in the meal-feeding," continues Hall, "but it speaks to the juggle is real, you know? You're sitting here talking to me and you have to provide nourishment for your child. That's so much of what you wanted to stand up for."
In her Instagram caption, Montaño explains she "didn't purposely nurse my son on air" — "it's just what was because I am working and I am a mother who is also nursing!"
"Here is what I learned; we need women in leadership roles, we need mothers in leadership roles," she says. "So women can get there we need to break down these barriers that limit a woman's choice to pursue and thrive in career and motherhood. The moms are missing because their motherhood is forced to be invisible. Walking the talk. Show your motherhood. Share using #andmother."