It's the time of year when we all love being spooked, but this mom's viral photo of a breastfeeding pumpkin shouldn't frighten anyone.
Virginia Mom Taylor Rose Tignor is making headlines this week for a photo of her Halloween "pump"kin that she posted to popular breastfeeding Facebook page, "Breastfeeding Mama Talk." In it, a smiling mama pumpkin breastfeeds a baby pumpkin on one breast and pumps pumpkin seeds into a bottle from the other — a scenario about as real as it gets for breastfeeding moms.
"This is my 'pump'kin. She is so happy to give her baby the perfect seed nutrients. I'm very passionate about breastfeeding. Just wanted to inspire other mamas to be creative for Halloween," Tignor wrote in the post on Saturday, which has already been shared over 6,000 times and generated more than 2,000 comments.
Tignor, a mother of two, shared her photo to help normalize breastfeeding, she told ABC News.
I'm very, very adamant on breastfeeding," Tignor said. "I don't want to push it on people, but for those who do breastfeed, I wanted to normalize it while inspiring people to do something cool for Halloween."
Her post inspired other moms to create their own "pump"kins, and post photos in the comments. Many women still pump while breastfeeding, whether it's to help clear a clogged duct, store milk for later, or to keep their milk supply up — especially if their baby prefers a certain breast.
"This is seriously my life right now," one woman commented on the post.
"My baby girl is 4 days old and refusing my left boob," the user said. "So officially pumping it... And giving her my right. I've been going crazy all day. But man, this here has me dying!!! I love it. It's made me feel so much better. Thank you to whoever did this!"
"This pumpkin was me, four years ago," another user wrote. "I was recovering from an abscess in my right breast, pumping, and nursing on the left side!"
But not everyone supported Tignor's Facebook post.
Some users expressed disgust (one man said he needed an "hour-long hot shower" after seeing the photo), and others pointed out how sad they were when they were unable to breastfeed or had to stop after their supply dropped.
"This is not 'normalizing breastfeeding' ... women have breastfed since the dawn of time. This is sensationalizing breastfeeding," one woman wrote.
Stigma exists either way
In Canada, 89 per cent of mothers breastfeed their babies, according to Statistics Canada. The Canadian Paediatric Society recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of an infant's life.
But stigma also exists for women who don't breastfeed, whether it's by choice or because they are unable. A 2017 study of mothers who reported feeling judged for their parenting choices found that breastfeeding versus bottle-feeding was one of the main finger-wagging topics.
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