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Nicole Phelps takes up the cause of normalizing breastfeeding and pumping in public

Nicole Phelps, wife of local Olympian Michael Phelps, is pumping a virtual fist for mommies with a recent post about feeding her babies in public. And the response in mommy circles and from the public at large appears pretty strong.

Phelps posted her experience on Instagram two days ago, along with a photo of herself with the cup from a pump peeking out of a sequined top. It’s garnered 51,588 likes and many emojis of clapping hands and hearts along with comments.

Phelps wrote that “being able to breastfeed is a gift.” And she said she had no qualms about pumping for her son Beckett, born in February, at a recent gala for her husband’s foundation. She said she sat with her back to the room.

“Some won’t agree with where I did this and even worse if I was sitting there with Beckett nursing people might judge me,” she wrote. “But breastfeeding is NATURAL.”

She said she felt compelled to write about the events after receiving “so many comments” on the picture. She said she also fed the couple’s other son Boomer, now 2, in the stands at the Olympics. She ends the post with several hashtags: normalizebreastfeeding, milkmaker and breastfeeding.

“It’s hard enough to make it work,” one comment began. “Hiding for other people’s comfort isn’t worth it.”

“Yesss! Way to go mama!” read another.

Mothers such as Phelps are pushing back on critics of public breastfeeding. Exposed breasts and other breastfeeding-related confrontations have been increasingly making news, and perhaps reflecting changing norms, they often now end in an apology to the mom.

American Airlines is the latest to apologize for a flap earlier this month involving a mother who was challenged by an agent attendant for trying to board a plane in Los Angeles with her pumping equipment.

Phelps joins other celebrities taking up the cause, and in some cases posting pictures of themselves with their feeding tots, including actress Olivia Wilde, singer Pink and supermodel Gisele Bündchen.

meredith.cohn@baltsun.com

twitter.com/mercohn

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