WATCH: More than a dozen women took part in a nurse-in at Oak Bay’s Willows Beach Wednesday to support a mom who said she was bullied for breastfeeding. April Lawrence reports.
Mothers and their hungry babies gathered at Willows Beach in Oak Bay.
But it wasn’t just a play date — the moms, and dads, were there to send a message.
“We won’t put up with the bullying, we want to normalize breastfeeding in public,” said Sarah Milbrath.
The nurse-in was organized in response to a disturbing interaction Milbrath had at the beach on Sunday.
She was breastfeeding her eight week old baby Amaya, when a couple, in their 20’s, took notice and loudly began discussing their disapproval.
“He couldn’t believe I was breastfeeding on the beach he couldn’t believe I was doing it in public, that he saw everything, that it was disgusting,” Milbrath recounted.
The discussion continued until Milbrath’s husband returned and the couple left the beach.
“My wife was in tears about it so I felt really bad, why didn’t I do or say something about it?” said Dan Milbrath.
Sarah, who said she already feels self-conscious feeding her baby in public, was crushed.
Looking for support, she turned to a Facebook group of local mothers and told her story — she was astounded by the response.
“It was overwhelming, how many people had good things to say and supportive comments and even shared their similar situations of them out in public being shamed as well,” said Milbrath.
Tashi Hofman, who had never met Sarah before Wednesday’s nurse-in, has experienced it herself.
“This is something that woman have done forever, and it didn’t use to be sexualized, and just because our society is sexualizing so many things this shouldn’t be one of them,” she said.
Jen Storey, who also saw the Facebook post, said being a mom is already hard enough without the judgement from complete strangers.
“When you have a new baby and you’re trying to get out of the house and interact with society, to be hit with shame or scorn or negative comments or negative energy, that’s really devastating I think,” she said.
With such an outpouring of support, Sarah’s friend Diana Hammond organized the nurse-in.
“I was just appalled and I wanted to support her in some way,” said Hammond.
The women here not just to show support for Sarah, but for any mom who has ever felt uncomfortable feeding their baby in public.
“If you’re able to breastfeed then great, breastfeed whenever, wherever you want,” she said.
Including at Willows beach.