As a mother I have experienced many incredible moments with my beautiful daughter, and among the most special were the hours spent snuggled up with her on the couch as she nursed. Breast feeding has gained in popularity over the last few years, but for many of our parents and grandparents breast feeding holds a stigma that it seems we are still trying to move away from. And so it came as no surprised to me when I opened my morning news sites to learn that another mother had been approached for her choice to breastfeed in public.

Stephanie Whitmore of Lewiston took action this week after feeling discriminated against by an employee at a Fusion Restaurant on Saturday. Whitmore was breastfeeding her 7-month old son, when she says a waitress approached her and asked her to be more discreet. "I was floored, I was humiliated,” she said.

So on Monday Whitmore, accompanied by nearly a dozen moms, staged a sit-in at the restaurant where the women gathered to eat lunch and nurse their babies. According to the Maine Human Rights Act, not only does Whitmore have the right to breastfeed, but the law also prohibits anyone from interfering or intimidating someone exercising those rights. "Breasts are made to feed our babies, not for pornographic material, which is what society has made," one mom stated.

Naturally I felt inclined to comment on the air about this story and convey my feelings about breast feeding, and it came as no surprise that many of you also had strong feelings on the subject. As each call came in I felt immense gratitude to everyone for their willingness to share their perspectives, male and female alike, on the “Hashtag Free the Boobies” subject, because simply having the conversation felt like winning.

As a woman and mother I feel so strongly about the benefits of breastfeeding for both the mother and baby, and I truly hope that any stigma or shaming associated with this continues to fade. Thank you for all your thoughts and comments, and please don’t hesitate to share your own perspectives with us on our Facebook and Twitter pages with #FreeTheBoobies!

hashtag, free the boobies, breast feeding, public, Stephanie whitmore, fusion, lewiston,

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