Another day, another breastfeeding mom facing backlash for nursing in public. But for Meredith Barnyak, it was a bit more complicated — she was nursing on a Disney Ride at EPCOT. But, as she points out in an interview with TODAY, we aren’t talking Splash Mountain here. It was a calm boat ride, she explains. To that point, her other toddler is right by her sitting on her husband’s lap as well.
When her cousin at parenting and lifestyle account cupofjo shared the image the ride photo team captured of her nursing, they didn’t suspect to have nearly 10,000 likes and hundreds of comments. She originally posted, “My cousin @meredithbarnyak being an absolute MOM on this Disney ride.” In the TODAY interview, Barnyak explains that she was simply comforting her child, and is an advocate of feeding her baby anywhere she needs to. She is mom to Graham, 3, and Poppi, 1.
One commenter wrote, “Not to be a stick in the mud but this seems…kinda dangerous?? Am I overestimating the thrill level on this ride? The rest of the adults seem to be clinging on pretty tight!” Another clapped back, “Holy s___, the need for people to automatically go to a negative place. Do you really think this woman would put her baby in danger? And then Jo would share it proudly? Do you really think a theme park would allow this to happen if it was a dangerous ride? Come on, guys.”
A commenter who claimed to used to work at a park said they never would have let an infant on a ride at all, but others chimed in that they’d nursed on calm Disney rides before, such as Pirates of the Caribbean. “Perfect distraction,” one said.
“I guess if you look at this picture, it might look like it’s an intense ride. But it’s a boat ride,” Barnyak told TODAY. “There’s no seatbelts. It’s a very nice relaxing ride except that there is a drop that you don’t see coming because it’s dark. And that’s what that photo was taken.” Though Disney hasn’t commented specifically on this event, generally they are quite supportive of nursing moms nursing wherever they want, and they offer multiple baby care centers equipped for pumping. And, as any breastfeeding mom knows, those little babies tend to hang on tight when they are hungry anyway.