Mayim Bialik, Big Bang Theory star and advocate for attachment parenting, defended herself and all mothers against critics who believe mothers should not breastfeed in public, proclaiming, “breastfeeding is not a sexual act.”

Mayim Bialik Nursed Her Son, Fred, Until He Was 3

Bialik is currently on a media blitz to promote her new vegan cookbook, Mayim’s Vegan Table, and recently confronted her critics during an interview with HuffPost Live. Bialik has made waves with her parenting style, which she presents to the public in her parenting blog for Jewish parents at Kveller.com. She wrote a book about attachment parenting and her personal parenting style in 2009, Beyond the Sling: A Real-Live Guide to Raising Confident, Loving Children the Attachment Parenting Way, and advocates for sleeping in the same beds as your children for as long as comfortable, though her sons, now 8 and 5, no longer sleep in the same room or bed as her. She also nursed her younger son, Fred, until he was 3-years-old.

Bialik received a lot of heat in 2011 after she wrote a blog post about nursing her then 3-year-old son, Fred. The post included a photo of Bialik breastfeeding her son on the subway, and many believed Fred to be 3 years old, though she says she never breastfed her three-year-old son on the subway. Now, Bialik laughs off the controversy, saying that she feels no shame breastfeeding in public.

“What I like to point out is that was the best way for that subway ride to be pleasant for everyone,” Bialik said about the ‘breastfeeding on the subway’ incident.

Bialik notes that, as a parent, she felt that it was her duty to take care of her child, despite the public setting, adding, “That was not a weak moment of parenting but a conscious decision of, ‘I have the best way to make this child happy and content right now.’”

This statement echoes her 2011 blog post, in which she wrote that she believes in child-led weaning and was as surprised as certain readers that she was still nursing her 3-year-old.

“I never ever believed that I would be nursing a child over the age of 3. But now that I am, I believe when he is done, he will be done. I believe that he will not need to nurse before he walks down the aisle to greet his bride under the chuppah, and I believe that nursing is natural and beautiful and wonderful. I believe in being conscious of where I nurse my toddler and I also believe that there is nothing wrong with nursing Fred,” Bialik wrote at the time.

Breastfeeding Is Not A Sexual Act. It's An Intimate Act.'

During her interview with HuffPost Live, Bialik points out how strange she finds the public’s rejection of breastfeeding in public, likening the act to feeding a baby a bottle in public. The only difference, she says, is that one might expose a breast or two.

“When I was nursing, I didn’t feel the need to be immodest, but I also feel like that’s going to vary from woman to woman. I would try to be absolutely respectful and conscious of the community I was in. But I don’t believe you need to cover up a baby eating anymore than you need to cover a baby drinking a bottle,” Bialik said.

Bialik notes that people who are offended by women nursing in public reflect the cultural taboo on breasts and the consequential sexualization of breastfeeding.

“Our culture has a very, very bizarre relationship with breasts. Breastfeeding is not a sexual act. It’s an intimate act, and that makes some people uncomfortable, but it’s completely normal to have all of the human hormones that are released when you breastfeed regulating your relationship with your child.”

Mayim Bialik touched on her parenting style and more in a revealing interview with Howard Stern on Tuesday, Feb. 25, in which she emphasized her ownership of her body while talking about the status of women in Hollywood.

“The red carpet doesn’t own my breasts,” Bialik exclaimed when describing her more modest red carpet style.

Olivia Truffaut-Wong

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