NBC’s “Today” is under fire for airing a segment that shamed moms who post breastfeeding photos on social media.
During their “OK! Or Not OK” segment on May 21, hosts Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford discussed nursing mothers who share pictures of themselves breastfeeding on platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
Appearing in avatar form, Gifford said, “There are two types of people, Hoda — those who feel the need to share their most precious moments and those who’d like to keep it private like I prefer.” Kotb responded, “I say breastfeeding is beautiful and natural, but sharing it on social media: TMI.”
Kotb’s TMI comment incensed breastfeeding mothers across the country, prompting many to respond on Twitter and Facebook and share more brelfies (yes, that’s short for breastfeeding selfies).
— Manda Marie Rose (@acorrigan23) May 23, 2015
— Heather Ientile (@heatheraientile) May 21, 2015
— Aly Rosema (@alyrosema) May 24, 2015
“The content they aired is offensive to those of us nursing our babies,” she told The Huffington Post. “It is also dangerous to highly impressionable new mothers who are just beginning their breastfeeding journeys.”
Working with fellow nursing advocates Laura Delmonico and Vanessa Simmons, DeLorenzo rallied parents in the New York area to bring their babies to Rockefeller Plaza for a “nurse-in, peaceful protest playdate,” Simmons writes on her website, Normalize Breastfeeding.
“The purpose is to show that breastfeeding is nothing to fear or hide from, in contrast to the portrayal made by Kathie Lee and Hoda. Mothers will be nursing their babies peacefully and cheerfully,” states a press release for the event.
According to the press release, the moms staged the nurse-in with three demands for “Today”:
- Issue a public apology for the sentiments expressed on the Thursday, May 21 show that were targeted at humiliating breastfeeding mothers;
- Extend words of support for ALL mothers who choose to share pictures of themselves feeding their children, whether celebrity or not, whether breastfeeding or bottle feeding, and whether covered or not;
- Consider airing a segment with breastfeeding mothers who describe the importance of normalizing breastfeeding.
While DeLorenzo was able to make it on camera briefly, the moms at Rockefeller Plaza found the experience rather “disappointing.” DeLorenzo told HuffPost that many of the mothers’ pro-breastfeeding signs were confiscated at the plaza entrance. “It was very upsetting that we were silenced,” participant Lisa Maloney wrote in her recap.
Although the nurse-in was “not a complete success,” Maloney added, “we will continue to bring light to a cause that is so important. We made connection and will continue to support together.”
One way that the participants are continuing their work is through DeLorenzo’s Change.org petition, which asks NBC to “stop shaming and censoring breastfeeding moms.” With over 900 signatures, the petition is currently just shy of its 1,000 signature goal.
NBC has not yet responded to a request for comment.
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