Graduating Mom Shares Breastfeeding Photo, Internet Trolls Forget To Shame Her

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An image of a woman breastfeeding her child in a cap and gown has gone viral. We’ve seen what happens in an internet space when a photo of a mom breastfeeding is shared; it usually involves a lot of dudes complaining that they can’t pee in public and a lot of women insisting they were able to breastfeed without showing any boob at all. For once, that didn’t happen. An overwhelming majority of the comments are positive and encouraging. Is Mercury finally out of retrograde? Are pigs flying? What is going on?


From the University of the Sunshine Coast Facebook page:

Something that had to be shared (and yes we got permission don’t worry)

From her recent graduation, this amazing photo and message was sent to us by inspiring mum Jacci Sharkey:

“Just wanted to share a photo from the most recent graduation that I am proud of. I’m extremely proud that with the support of the Uni, during my degree I was able to have 2 babies and still finish my degree. Thanks USC!”


I was fully prepared for the usual barrage of comments shaming this mother for feeding her child in public. And then I found myself scrolling and scrolling and scrolling. Apart from a few dumb comments, the reaction was overwhelmingly positive. I’m impressed. And there were a ton of men sticking up for her right to breastfeed and commending her for doing so:



breastfeeding-facebook-commentsScreen Shot 2014-11-04 at 7.05.57 AMbreastfeeding-facebook-commentsOkay, I’m impressed. We seem to be evolving a little. And it wasn’t just the school’s Facebook page that had a huge amount of positive commentary – it was many, many news stories that covered the photo, too. Maybe we are finally turning a corner.

Of course there’s this guy:

Screen Shot 2014-11-04 at 7.07.35 AM

But, for once, the idiot is in the minority.


  1. Jen TheTit Whisperer

    November 4, 2014 at 8:04 am

    I’m glad a photo was finally not bashed. It’s just a shame that the last time a woman graduating school who was photographed breastfeeding her child was roasted.

    • Rachel Sea

      November 4, 2014 at 12:50 pm

      I’d be willing to bet it has a lot to do with the last one being a black American, whereas this one is a white Australian. I’ll be watching to see what happens if any American grads post a similar picture this spring.

    • Jen TheTit Whisperer

      November 4, 2014 at 1:00 pm

      That was my thought. Which is really sad.

    • ohladyjayne

      November 4, 2014 at 1:08 pm

      That’s my thought as well. sigh.

  2. Amber Starr

    November 4, 2014 at 8:11 am

    I have a question, and I am not asking to be snarky or anything (I promise)… I am genuinely curious…. Breastfeeding is great if you can do it. It is healthy and natural and a woman should be able to feed her child anywhere she damn well pleases………… But, since we are trying to show that breastfeeding IS normal and natural, why do we put it on a pedestal with words like “amazing” and “inspiring”? Doesn’t that make it sound like it is something that isn’t a natural part of motherhood?

    I just feel like we are putting SO much emphasis on breastfeeding that it’s almost opened up to the comments of idiots who compare it to pissing in public (which is moronic to say the least).

    In other news: Congrats to this woman for graduating while caring for a newborn… I sure as hell couldn’t do that and I do admire her for it.

    • keelhaulrose

      November 4, 2014 at 8:26 am

      I get what you’re saying. I don’t think I’d ever call the act of breastfeeding itself amazing or inspiring. Add it to a woman who worked and raised two kids and still managed to graduate and I’d be singing a different tune, but not on its own.

      I think it’s a serious case of going a bit overboard to gain visibility. And trying to encourage those on the fence about breastfeeding. Whether or not that works is up for debate, and there will always be the hardcore set who seriously do think that a woman using her breasts for a biological function is awe inspiring, but they’re a little off the deep end.

    • Liz

      November 4, 2014 at 8:30 am

      I don’t see that anyone is saying that about breastfeeding itself – I see people reacting more to the fact that she managed to graduate while having two kids (and I think the image of her breastfeeding in her graduation gown is a powerful statement about how much work that must have taken, how many demands there were on her time, rather than being about breastfeeding itself). I do think there are people out there who go way overboard about breastfeeding, I guess I just don’t see it here.

    • SunnyD847

      November 4, 2014 at 9:05 am

      Yeah, I do feel like the reverence for breastfeeding can make parents who don’t breastfeed for whatever reason feel denigrated. However, until people stop giving women sh*t for breastfeeding in public, it’s necessary to show support.

    • Tara

      November 4, 2014 at 10:52 am

      I think it’s all trying to counter the huge pro-formula movement that was the 70s and 80s. We reached a point where formula was so much more main stream than breastfeeding that people started acting like it was weird to nurse your child.

    • Rachel Sea

      November 4, 2014 at 12:46 pm

      It goes farther back than that. When my grandma-in-law had her babies, the doctors where she gave birth gave new mothers recipes for formula made from cows milk and Karo syrup and gave them hormone injections to prevent lactation.

    • Ashley Austrew

      November 4, 2014 at 11:36 am

      My take on this, for what it’s worth: I tried to breastfeed both of my kids and “failed” both times. I’m a happy formula feeder, but breastfeeding is HARD. It’s much harder than formula feeding. So, even though I hate the shaming that goes on, I do understand why some women seek so much support and encouragement for BFing and make such a big deal about doing it. The pendulum has swung way in the other direction from the previous pro-formula movement. My hope is it can rest somewhere in the middle. There is definitely a need for more awareness and support for BFing, as I found even in the hospital I was met with a lot of ignorance. Women shouldn’t be shamed in public for whipping out a boob OR a bottle. But I can see why such a big deal is made about BFing because they’re doing a really difficult thing and they’re making up for a lot of years where breastfeeding was made to seem weird and wrong to the general public.

    • Amber Starr

      November 4, 2014 at 12:39 pm

      I honestly never thought of it that way…. I too tried to breastfeed my daughter and ended up “failing”. She has been formula fed ever since. So, in that respect, I do see it as something to celebrate. Thank you 🙂

    • Chewie Bec Ridge

      November 5, 2014 at 4:09 pm

      Thank you Ashley. I also ‘failed’ with breastfeeding my son. He was formula fed from 1 month old, while with my daughter I had success and I am so happy about that. I do put my success down to people mainly on breastfeeding groups on facebook giving more support and celebrating their successes with breastfeeding. You are right, we need the support for both breast and bottle to be equal though.
      I had to sign up just so I could agree with you and say your comment has made so much sense! 🙂

    • Rachel Sea

      November 4, 2014 at 12:40 pm

      People say that because we’ve practically had to relearn breastfeeding from scratch, after a couple generations of women were largely forced not to breastfeed, and with breastfeeding publicly having been illegal in a lot more places. It’s really only the last decade that women attempting breastfeeding has become more common than women exclusively bottle feeding. As many women have learned the hard way, just because something is natural, doesn’t mean it comes naturally. A hundred years ago most of us would have seem our mothers, and aunts and neighbors breastfeeding for almost two decades before we tried it ourselves. In the last 70 years it’s been more likely that a woman could become a mother without ever having seen it done.

    • mamaduck_75

      November 5, 2014 at 12:14 am

      I agree, how to feed your child has gone back and forth over the centuries, and especially over the past several decades. My MIL remembers nursing being discouraged with her mother (in the 40’s and 50’s), and then when she had her kids in the 60’s and 70’s. Now it is gradually shifting. The problem I see is that there are sanctimonious people on both sides who believe you MUST breastfeed or you MUST formula feed, and it creates confusion and stress and worry among mothers who so desperately want to do the best thing for their child. I always say, the best thing you can do is what’s best for YOU and your child. don’t worry about the folks trying to push you one way or the other.

  3. keelhaulrose

    November 4, 2014 at 8:28 am

    Because fucking someone serves the same natural function as feeding them, right, Pete? Because that guy’s wife is going to die without a regular application of Vitamin D (these poems euphemisms are getting out of hand), isn’t she?

    • SunnyD847

      November 4, 2014 at 9:01 am


    • LA Face, Oakland Booty (and

      November 4, 2014 at 9:11 am

      As much as I hate the offensive-ish t-shirt thing, I really kind of love this.

    • jane

      November 4, 2014 at 11:22 am

      I would like to order three of these, please.

  4. Liz

    November 4, 2014 at 8:32 am

    A cynical part of me thinks the good response is because this was outside of the U.S. But it’s certainly a good thing to see.

    • noodlestein's danger tits

      November 4, 2014 at 9:38 am

      Or because she’s white, and the last woman wasn’t. 🙁

  5. AnotherMel

    November 4, 2014 at 9:46 am

    Having gone to grad school with an older infant – I can tell you it’s crazy hard and I stopped breastfeeding before I started (son was 8 months old). So I have a decent idea how much dedication this took. Anyone who manages to go to school, have kids and work deserves all the respect regardless of whether or not they choose to breastfeed. The picture really reinforces just what an accomplishment this was.

  6. Marisa Quinn-Haisu

    November 4, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    I have just finished a semester at university while also looking after my now five month old and it was hard as HELL! so as a fellow new Mum and university student you go girl!

  7. tk88

    November 4, 2014 at 8:46 pm

    I’m not saying it’s wrong or obscene or anything bad, but am I the only one who thinks the cap and gown breastfeeding pictures are odd? They just don’t seem like things that fit together.

    • mandi

      November 5, 2014 at 3:58 pm

      Why don’t they fit together?

    • tk88

      November 5, 2014 at 4:07 pm

      Personally I think it’s odd to always put babies or children in every part of your life–there’s academjc/professional, personal, romantic, and then the ‘mom’ part. Of course many people like to mush them all together and that’s fine. But I think it’s weird that breastfeeding moms in cap and gowns seem to have become a ‘thing’ like pictures of newborns wearing silly hats. Again, nothing wrong with it but I just think it’s an odd choice.

  8. mamaduck_75

    November 5, 2014 at 12:17 am

    Beautiful photo (I’m a sucker for sweet nursing photos, brings back good memories of me nursing my daughter), and good on her for showing how she succeeded in going to school while raising kids. I have to say though, if it were me, I’m just selfish enough that I think I’d want my moment in the spotlight to be just mine, my picture to be just of me. For me, it’s about separating a part of myself and having that one thing I achieved on my own separate from my being a wife or a mother, something just for me. But everyone’s different, and that’s ok.

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