I was checking out the latest on one of my fave celeb news gossip sites, when I saw this: model and actress, Yaya Dacosta posted a picture of herself breastfeeding her infant son on Instagram—and I was shocked at just how many comments condemned her for publicizing what some still feel is a private practice. People said things like, “posting your breasts on Instagram is just asking for attention”, and “nobody needs to see this”; one person sarcastically concluded that she should post pics of herself on the toilet because “taking a dump after all, is natural, too.”
I think, what’s the big deal? What I’ve seen so far of the celeb breastfeeding pics (Giselle Bundchen, Miami Dolphin Phillip Wheeler’s girlfriend, Ashley Nicole, and now Yaya), none of them are lewd or overexposed at all, in my humble opinion. And honestly, I’ve seen way more side-boob on the red carpet at The Oscars.
As a pediatrician, I welcome all the attention that celebrity women are bringing to breastfeeding. The list of benefits go on and on- breastfed babies get sick less, have a lesser risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and even childhood leukemia1- and the list can continue.
I’m particularly glad to see Black or African-American celebs being more open about this. While breastfeeding rates in the Black community have risen (between 2000-2008, rates for Black women went from 47 to 59%), they could be much higher. Compared to other groups, Black women continue to have the lowest rates.2 I’m not saying that celebrity Instagram photos are the answer to this complex issue, but I think it helps when images like these become normalized in an open, but tactful way.
Ultimately, reaction to pics like these speak volumes about the still widely held taboo about breastfeeding in this country—and they’ve triggered an interesting conversation.
So, What Do You Think? Sound off in the Reply section.
- Is the Instagram breastfeeding photo “scandal” really a scandal? Or could the pics I mentioned shape a more positive opinion about breastfeeding in general?
- How do you think we could de-stigmatize and support breastfeeding more in this country?
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