Photo of mom breastfeeding infant at graduation ceremony reignites debate

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A picture of a mother breastfeeding at her graduation ceremony from Long Beach State University has provoked a storm of online debate.

25-year-old Karlesha Thurman got pregnant in her last year of college. She completed her accounting degree and graduated last month.

At her graduation ceremony, she brought along her three-month-old daughter Aaliyah.

After the ceremony, Karlesha was proudly showing off her daughter to friends when Aaliyah became hungry. Still dressed in her cap and gown, Karlesha decided to feed her baby and a friend snapped a picture, according to the Daily Mail.

Although Karlesha deleted the photo from Facebook, the group Black Women Do Breastfeed shared it and spawned another round of debate online about breastfeeding in public.

What do you think of the photo?




    It was AFTER the ceremony, the child was hungry – go for it mom! Congratulations and best wishes for both of your futures.

  • Lisa Wagner

    People need to get over it. Why is it “okay” in our society for women to walk around all the time with their breasts and cleavage exposed but it is not okay to nourish her baby? A cover up would have been nice, but the bigger picture here is that this lady not only GRADUATED but is doing the best thing possible for her daughter. People, get off of your soap boxes and chose JOY! Goodness!!

    • Amber Powell

      I agree. Why is it okay for people to go around barely clothed but not okay to be a mother? In my culture the unwed ladies where covered but the mothers and wives went around half naked because back then men didn’t look at another men’s wife. If you did look at her the wrong way there where consequences. You fed your child and people didn’t blink an eye. I wish people went back to the old way of life, this wouldn’t be an issue and a lot of other things wouldn’t be an issue if we did.

  • Pam

    I am all for breastfeeding and have no problem with those doing it in public, but this one is more revealing than I think is necessary. See the gold in the picture. It could have easily been used as a slight cover for the picture. It’s not necessary to hang all out there to breast feed in public. Great accomplishment graduating and having a new born.

  • cassandraclaarla

    I think that there should be no shame in a mother feeding her hungry baby. . I personally would have had a blanket over me but it would have been much worse to have let the baby be hungry than to be exposed

  • Whitwhitwhitwhit

    I never was able to breast feed my daughter, didn’t have the support system!!! So everytime I see a momma feeding her child wherever she may be in my head I’m like way to go new momma!!! Amd if I’m able to speak to her I tell her that too!!! People nowadays just don’t get it!!!

  • Jean

    Breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world, however most mothers do not expose themselves to the world while breastfeeding, this woman has not dignity!

  • Lulu

    I believe breastfeeding is an amazing part of being a mom and bonding with her infant, but if you breastfeeding you should definitely cover up. I believe it is very inappropriate to have your chest out showing your breast while feeding.

  • Yvonne

    Breastmilk is better for the infant and I have nothing against breastfeeding. She should have had a cover-up though. Knowing she was going to a graduation ceremony, which we all know are long, she should have planned ahead and used the pump and had them ready for the baby. Really glad she finished her degree as that was very important. But she apparently has not learned planning and forethought.

    • Amy

      Just to let you know many babies refuse to take a bottle so it may not be possible for her to have pre-pumped. And some do not like to be covered while they are enjoying their meal . Especially when it is hot. To be honest none of that matters because a mother feeding her baby is the most natural thing and should be completely socially acceptable. No excuses needed.

  • Sandy

    I see much more breast exposure at the grocery store, the mall, and even, sadly, at church. Our culture is in a transition. My father, who would have been 94 this year, told me that seeing women breastfeeding their babies was very common when he was young. It is becoming common again. Some moms prefer to use a nursing cape, etc. Others leave the event to go to a private place. Others simply feed their babies when and where they are hungry. If you don’t want to see it, look the other way.

  • Mercy

    HATERS GET YA LIFE, WHY YOU MAD!!!!! YOU GO GIRL. THIS PEOPLE WHO DONT WANT US WOMEN TO breastfeed our children mad because they chlild has problems. I bet her child will grow up with a 4.0 average.

  • Mercy

    Everybody who is telling her to cover up. I guarantee, YOU WEARING YOUR TITTIES OUT!!!!!!! seducing everybody else’s husband in men

  • lynn

    Ppl just need to get over them self. They think its easy to hide or cover up. Depending on what a woman is wearing and her baby needs to feed some thing are easy just to whip it out and something are out. Dont judge or put her down. She never gave up on school with a baby. And i know that had to been hard but she did it. WAY TO GO SWEETIE!!!

  • Debra

    I do not have a problem with what she did, however, as a mother who also nursed her children, maybe she could have tried to be a bit more discrete? I don’t know what the big deal is with everyone and mothers nursing her children, what do you think our grandmothers did?

  • Amy

    I am really disappointed in at the evening new anchors comments on this photo saying that she should have “fed the baby before she came” and that she was looking for attention. Obviously none of them are very about breastfeeding. Baby’s eat when they are hungry and not when it is convenient for mom or for her graduating class. Totally changed my opinion of them and my choice of news stations.

  • Amy

    Oops! My last message should have said that they are not very educated on breast feeding. I left out the educated.

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