Debate over breast feeding at graduation

DOWNEY, Calif. — A Cal State Long Beach student is sparking controversy over her decision to post a picture of herself online breastfeeding her daughter during her graduation ceremony, reports CBSLa.com.

The photo of Karlesha Thurman, 25, nursing her 3-month-old daughter has gone viral.

Thurman’s sister said her niece began to cry right after the 25-year-old mom received her degree in accounting.

“You know when babies cry when they’re hungry. When your baby’s hungry, you feed them. And Karlesha is not afraid of breastfeeding Aaliyah in public,” Karla Thurman said.

The photo was posted on the Facebook page, “Black Women Do Breast Feed,” and it has received hundreds of comments, including negative feedback.

“Career ruined. It’s gonna be hard for Karlesha Thurman to get a job,” one person wrote online.

“She could have pumped before her ceremony… and there’s no reason that she could not have used a very small and modest cover,” another user posted.

Thurman said the posts do not bother her and that she shared the photo to encourage more young black women to nurse.

“It makes me sad if anything else that society doesn’t view breastfeeding as a good thing and they have such a negative outlook on it,” she told CBS2/KCAL9 by phone.

Under California law, breastfeeding in public is protected.

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