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What's So Offensive About This Breastfeeding Photo?

breastfeeding mom
The other morning, Elisha Wilson Beach went to the bathroom and stayed a few extra minutes for some a little quiet time before her 4 1/2-year-old woke up. But before long, Beach's 11-month-old baby daughter, Nolan, wandered in to nurse. The LA mom did what many of us would do: She fed her baby while finishing up her own bathroom duties. Struck by the humor of the situation, she asked her husband, actor Mike Beach, to take a photo of her mommy multitasking. "I thought it was a cute moment to remember," she told "It was funny. I loved it."

So she decided to share it on Instagram, writing: "This is motherhood and it ain't always pretty. What's your #momtruth? #motherhood #motherhoodaintpretty #tmi #confessionsofamom #ididthat #iamnotsorry."

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Despite the awesome hashtags, not everyone appreciated the post. Commenters lashed out, calling the photo "distasteful," "unsanitary" and "disgusting" because it took place in the bathroom. (Meanwhile, the ladies room is exactly where people expect breastfeeding moms to hide out when baby wants to eat in public!) They told Beach to "stick your kid in the crib until you're done, or pump it and give it to them." They said it was TMI, a wannabe zinger I find particularly ridiculous considering the flotsam and jetsam of junk floating around online.

But for all the haters, there were plenty of moms who could totally relate to the multitasking. "When breastfeeding gets real!" one mom wrote on Beach's Instagram page. "Been there, done that," wrote another. Several others reassured the mama that they too gave up privacy in the bathroom when they had children.

I'll happily add my voice to the chorus of supporters. Because if parenthood teaches you anything, it's how to multitask like a boss. Just today, I was taking my son to the pediatrician's office and saw a fellow mom crossing a very busy Park Avenue. Amid the honking cabs and speeding cyclists, she had tucked her screaming toddler under one arm, and under the other a stroller, scooter and half-opened purse. Add a couple of shopping bags and an iced coffee, and she'd look like every mama in my neighborhood. Pulling double-duty is just part of the gig. What Beach showed is simply a reality for many parents, and it's anything but distasteful.

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Bonnie Gibbs Vengrow is a New York City-based writer and editor who traded in her Blackberry and Metro card for playdates and PB&J sandwiches—and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch her feisty, funny son grow up.Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.

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Image of Elisha Wilson Beach via Instagram