Breasts are a life source for babies, but they’re also heavily sexualized in ads and pop culture, so it can be extremely difficult for mothers to feel comfortable with breastfeeding in public. One recent meme nails the hypocrisy of the way society views breasts. People love to see them in commercials and media, yet often become squeamish when moms try to feed their infants in public. A lot of people are uneasy with the idea of breastfeeding and this makes it difficult for mothers to take care of their children in public places. Earlier this year, a North Carolina waitress named Brennan Atwell stopped receiving shifts at work after she requested proper breastfeeding accommodations. She was given an office with no door to pump milk for her kid, but because of the lack of privacy, her male colleagues were able to see her doing it. When Atwell saw that she wasn’t scheduled to work for several weeks, she confronted her boss about it. “And that’s when my manager said to me, ‘It’s not so much a matter of inconvenience as it is indecency. We have too many male employees here for you to be pumping at work,'” Atwell told NBC Charlotte at the time.


Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) went into effect five years ago, employers with at least 50 employees must provide breastfeeding mothers with a private space to pump as well as an unpaid break for pumping. This does not applied to salaried women, and those at smaller companies are at the mercy of their managers. A few months ago, birth photographer Melissa Jean Wilbraham was temporarily banned from Instagram for posting photos of breastfeeding women and women giving birth on the social media platform.


Wilbraham, who has more than 40 thousand followers on Instagram, had her account disabled on the first day of World Breastfeeding Week, which began on August 1. When Wilbraham tried to log in she saw the following message, “Your account has been deleted for not following our terms. We’re unable to restore accounts that are deleted for these types of violations. How ironic that the very day ‘World Breastfeeding Week’ began, my business was removed from Instagram,” she wrote, garnering more than 1,000 “likes” on her Facebook post.


“There will always be sad humans who report my images but I will NEVER let this stop me celebrating & normalizing the miracle of life…Instagram later reactivated her account, and the company told the Daily Mail Australia in a statement that deleting it was a mistake. “We allow photos of breastfeeding on Instagram,” said a statement from Instagram. “We looked into what happened here, and this was a pure mistake that we’ve now rectified. For context, our teams review content when it’s reported to us for violating our Community Guidelines. They review millions of pieces of content daily—and as much as we’d like to be free of mistakes, we do make them. We are sorry that this happened, but we use cases like this to learn and improve.


We have reached out to @melissajeanbabies and apologised for our mistake.” Los Angeles-based startup advisor James Shamsi decided to challenge Instagram’s nipple policy through an interesting experiment of his own. Shamsi posted a zoomed in Instagram photo of a male chest that closely resembled female breasts and asked his Facebook friends to report the image as inappropriate. Instagram removed the photo, but when he told the company that it was actually a snapshot of a male chest, the picture went back up. Shamsi’s project succeeded in further exposing the double standard behind Instagram’s nipple regulations.

By Laura Donovan from