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Image of Toddler 'Breastfeeding' Baby Ignites Controversy

The Short of It

An image of a toddler "breastfeeding" his baby sister is stirring up major controversy online.


Your kid might be breastfed when...

Posted by Breastfeeding Mama Talk on Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Lowdown

A meme shared in the Facebook group Breastfeeding Mama Talk shows a little boy pretending to breastfeed his infant sibling. "Don't worry mom I got you covered," reads the accompanying caption. To date, the image has been liked close to 21,000 times and shared more than 15,000 times, but reactions among viewers have definitely been mixed.

Some commenters jumped right in with images of their own kids in a similar pose or of a child pretending to breastfeed a doll. But other commenters voiced their disapproval of the photo. One comment read in part, "I just don't know how I feel about the child trying to breastfeed the baby. .. I have no qualm with breastfeeding at all ... that just seems wrong in a way. With a bottle or to a doll or whatever fine but to the baby isn't ok to me."

Here is a sample of some of the other critical comments:

"I think children need to understand that babies only nurse on THEIR MOMMY's breast. Just my personal opinion."

"This is disgusting to say the least. If it were the mother....that's different......I see no problem....but to allow a sibling...that is just sick. I see no humor in this at all!! But it got the attention that apparently someone wanted."

"I'm all for breastfeeding but there needs to be a line drawn.. This world is crazy at it is this is how there is such thing as 'gender confusion' now smh. Where is his father? I wouldn't think that he would be okay with this."

"Definitely gone too far with this picture. People will do anything for a like or comment or share. The little babies interests was definitely not top priority."

Others pointed out what was happening just didn't look safe. "As cute and funny as it looks I think it's dangerous for infant toddler can suffocate or injure little one with no intentions to do so just as accident," wrote one person.

But most commenters seemed to find the image endearing—and just plain adorable. One wrote, "He's gonna grow up to be a dad & husband who supports breastfeeding!"

Several responses also called out people for finding fault with the photo. One example: "To those that say this is sick, grow up! A child always wants to be like their parents. It's completely harmless. If you think it's wrong, you're what's wrong with this world, breastfeeding and children should never be sexualized."

The Upshot

We know by now any photo of breastfeeding is going to get a reaction, both positive and negative. I, for one, think any image of a baby eating, be it by breast or by bottle, is beautiful. Same goes for a sibling emulating an act of loving care he sees being demonstrated in his home.

What do you think of the photo?

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