Busting Stereotypes: Breastfeeding Mom Discovers Her Greatest Ally Is a Teen Boy

photo by elvert barnes

What happens when a teenage boy is told that a breastfeeding mom is grossing people out in a Starbucks? Probably not what you think.

In today’s “stereotype-busting” news, an awesome teenaged boy, a barista at Starbucks, stuck his neck out in honor of a breastfeeding mom.

Huffington Post reports:

Ottawa mom Julia Wykes was running errands with her 5-month-old son one morning when she decided to stop at Starbucks to grab a coffee to go. While waiting in line, however, her baby became cranky, so she sat down to nurse him.

Suddenly, a middle-aged woman marched up to the counter and loudly complained to the barista, “Could you get that woman to stop doing that in public? It’s disgusting.”

The barista, a young man in his late teens, said he would “take care of it” and walked over to Wykes. But instead of heeding the complaining customer’s request, he did something else: He offered the nursing mother a free refill, handed her a voucher for a free drink, and said, “I’m sorry you had to deal with such unpleasantness today.”

So there you go, world. The stereotype of the sex-crazed, self-centered teenage boy who would rather chase girls than take care of kids has been proven false!

About Joanna Schroeder

Joanna Schroeder is a feminist writer and editor with a special focus in issues facing raising boys and gender in the media. Her work has appeared on Redbook, Yahoo!, xoJane, MariaShriver.com, TIME.com, and more. She and her husband are outdoor sports enthusiasts raising very active sons. She is currently co-editing a book of essays for boys and young men with author and advocate Jeff Perera. Follow her shenanigans on Twitter.


  1. I can’t help but think that it is women who have the biggest problem with other women breastfeeding.

  2. If my 18 year old son did that – I would faint away with pride.

  3. Take away my mammal card if this is how people treat breastfeeding moms

    Um, hello? We see more boobs than a nursing mother on television commercials, internet ads and magazine covers in the grocery check out line. No one seems to care then!

    Oh, wait, are you only offended when breasts are used in a non-sexual way, like in the nourishing of children? Well, that might be it. We really don’t see boobs used in that way on the cover of People Magazine or on TMZ. That would be downright disgusting, I’m sure.

    We see them squished into fabric triangles or hiked up in corset-style wedding dresses. We see them draped in expensive silk or harnessed into sports bras. We see the outline of them under a t-shirt or seductively encapsulated in a halter top.

    But, people freak out when they see them attached to a baby’s mouth. If we’re going to treat nursing moms like this in public, I don’t want to be a mammal anymore. I’d like to be a reptile, please. Just hatch me and my offspring from now on.

    Article continues on my blog: http://janacraft.blogspot.com/2014/07/take-away-my-mammal-card-if-this-is-how.html

  4. Hmm. This is a very sweet story, and sweet stories are really valuable, but it sounds an awful lot like the story about the racist woman sitting next to the black man on a plane, which is generally considered apocryphal. Not sure that blogger Anne Urban’s “PhD in Parenting” was a sufficient credential for The Huffington Post to pick up her story, and not sure that I would want to pass this around as a true story just because they did, nor give it the upgraded credibility of “Huffington Post reports:…”

  5. Well now. That’s a flip on the usual spin that complaints of breastfeeding mom gets. Complaints of it are often stereotyped as men being the ones that don’t want women do breastfeed in public.

  6. trey1963 says:

    “Suddenly, a middle-aged woman marched up to the counter and loudly complained to the barista”

    Age,Gender and Status issues….that the complainer had. The teen boy was not threatened by a breastfeeding mom, generational changes in what is seen as publicly acceptable have mostly fixed that………But, for a share of the middle aged and older adults,……. “PROPER PEOPLE” just don’t do such things especially in PUBLIC……..

    My Nieces and nephews from my much older sibs, My own kids, were breast fed ……… My reaction is one of ohhh cute baby and move on to avoid interfering with a familial intimacy ……..while having warm memories of my own kids as infants.

    • You’re exactly right. When I decided to breast feed, my mother nearly fainted. When I did it in public, out shopping with her, she nodded when the angry store clerk tried to shove me into a dressing room filled with cardboard boxes to the extent I couldn’t sit down and to her, I was the bad guy. She asked, “Why? Why breast feed? That’s for the poor. You can afford formula. Gerber did a good job of convincing post WWI moms their product was superior, didn’t they?

  7. I don’t get why people even get bothered by the sight. It’s not disgusting.

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