ST. CATHARINES, Ont. – An Ontario woman behind the viral photograph of herself breastfeeding her child while sitting on Santa’s lap says she’s disappointed with the public reception she’s received.
Speaking with Global News, Dunbar said the moment came out of necessity.
“Honestly, we were just in line and my little guy, who has the patience of nothing, decided he was hungry in about two seconds,” Dunbar said. “He would have just screamed the entire time so I started nursing him. And we were next in line.”
Dunbar joked to the staff that it would be funny to carry on the act on Santa’s lap.
“We joked about it but then thought, ‘Why not?’ So we asked the photographer and he was comfortable with it because he has two children and they both nurse.”
“Santa said ‘I’ve never been asked that in 40 years so why not?’ So we took the picture.”
Dunbar posted the photo on her Facebook page but in no way expected the reaction it would receive online.
“With my friends it’s been very positive,” she said. “But I’ve seen a lot of negative comments on social media which is disappointing for to see.”
She says about 75 per cent of the feedback she’s seen has been negative, with many posters complaining the picture is “trashy.”
Dunbar says the shot is less revealing than many pictures of scantily clad woman — commonly seen in advertising or on TV — and laments the fact that public breastfeeding is frowned upon.
“Breastfeeding is still such a hot topic and it shouldn’t be. I think people should just accept that it’s a healthy thing.”
She says she resents the fact that women can be made to feel shame for pursuing an activity meant to promote the health of their children.
“I think breastfeeding should be made more acceptable in all ways,” she said. “It shouldn’t deserve a comment one way or another because it shouldn’t be seen as abnormal.”
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Asked if she would have posted the picture online knowing the attention it would receive, Dunbar is unsure.
“I don’t think I would. I would take the picture again though a million times. I would take the picture and keep it,” she said.
“I think breastfeeding is absolutely beautiful and I was very positive about it. The fact that people have been so negative is a little upsetting. But everyone has an opinion.”
*With files from The Canadian Press