These Vintage Images Prove Women Have Been Publicly Breastfeeding Since The Beginning Of Time

by Angela Andaloro

It’s hard to believe that women are still being shamed for breastfeeding their children in public.

An extremely normal, natural process is regarded as disgusting or inappropriate by people who think women should be required to cover up or remove themselves from public view when the need to feed their children strikes.

Shockingly, it’s only been a little over a month since breastfeeding in public officially became legal in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. (The details of these laws in certain areas do not specify whether a mother needs to be covered up while breastfeeding in public, or to what degree, which is still a topic of debate.)

One woman was so tired of hearing all the shaming that she decided to set the record straight once and for all.

Rene Johnson took to Facebook, where she outlined the place of public breastfeeding in American history in a now-viral post. She revealed that the idea of covering up wasn’t popular (or really even considered at all) until after the 20th century, putting yet another dent in the case that public nursing is somehow “indecent.”

Scroll through to read all about what she had to say.

Quoting an article published on Breastfeeding USA, Rene passed on some information to shut down those who say that breastfeeding without a cover while out in the open is a new thing.

“Nursing in public seemed to be a non-issue in colonial America. Our foremothers were expected to maintain a busy household, which included feeding the baby, and breastfeeding in the market or other public areas was not a cause for uproar.”

The article continued, “At that time, breastfeeding was the only way to feed a baby, either by the natural mother or a wet-nurse.”

“The Puritans believed breasts were created for the nourishment of children and strongly encouraged women to nurse their own babies.”

That’s right, guys. Even Puritans, one of the most notoriously chaste and proper groups in history, believed that’s what breasts are for.

“Breastfeeding in public was commonplace for colonial women because they lived in a society that supported breastfeeding.”

Imagine living in a society that simply understood your need to feed your child and didn’t question it.

It’s sad when you realize that this is an out-of-this-world concept to some people living in modern-day America.

Rene also made sure to point out that, legally, breastfeeding in public is now allowed in the continental United States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

Included in the post were pictures of women of various races and backgrounds at different periods in time — all of them breastfeeding in public.

The sexualization of the female body is often brought into the breastfeeding conversation. There are people who claim to find nursing women distracting. Yet men have functioned perfectly well throughout history with this common “distraction,” and look at us — we still exist despite that.

It goes to show that many of the arguments that are made against public breastfeeding today are matters of personal feeling and opinion, rather than reasoning with any factual, historical basis.

It also shows that there have been badass women all throughout history who have done exactly what they needed to do, when they needed to do it, and how they needed to do it.

Seeing public breastfeeding as just another part of your day — the same as stopping to tie your shoes, or buying something at the store — makes the politicization of it and the uproar around it seem all the more ridiculous.

While we may never overcome the fact that seeing breastfeeding in public bothers some people so much, it seems like the practice will continue on, as it has for ages before any of us were even alive.

Breastfeeding mothers who commented on Rene’s post felt solidarity with all the historical women depicted.

It’s wonderful to see generations of women inspiring each other to feel comfortable doing something so natural.

We hope that all the mamas out there can be as unapologetic as these strong ladies have been throughout history!