A mom was caught breastfeeding her baby on a Disney ride. Pediatricians say it's safe.

  • Meredith Barnyak was nursing her daughter, Poppy, on a Disney Epcot ride.

  • A photo was posted online and received backlash.

  • Pediatricians say it was safe because the ride is much less intense than the picture made it look.

Meredith Barnyak was on a ride at Disney World when her 1-year-old daughter, Poppy, started getting fussy and wiggly. So, Barnyak did what many moms would do: she started to breastfeed her.

"We're all honestly going to enjoy the ride a lot better, and [she'll] be happier being fed," Barnyak told TODAY.

Barnyak posted the photo that Disney snapped during the ride, then shared it with her cousin, Jo Goddard, who runs the CupofJo Instagram account. After that, the photo took off, with many people remarking that it looked dangerous. Yet two pediatricians who spoke with Insider said Barnyak's setup was perfectly safe.

"I thought it was a beautiful picture and a very normal thing that many breastfeeding moms do," said Andrea Braden, an OB/GYN, lactation consultant, and mom of five who has been breastfeeding on and off for 14 years.

Pediatricians say it was perfectly safe to nurse on this ride

At first glance, the photo of Barnyak seems jarring. The other passengers have exuberant faces and are holding on, which initially made Braden think that Barnyak was breastfeeding on the log flume or another inclined ride.

But that's far from the truth: the family was on "Frozen Ever After," a slow-moving boat-style ride that is relatively harmless and is open to all ages, including infants.

That simple fact makes all the difference in this story, said Leah Alexander, medical consultant at Mom Loves Best.

"This mother seems to hold her baby securely while breastfeeding, so it does not look like the baby would fall out of the boat," or otherwise get injured, Alexander said. In fact, Barnyak's son is sitting on his dad's lap just next to her — something no one criticized.

People often comment on breastfeeding, said this mom and doctor.

The difference in how people reacted to the mom versus the dad stands out for Braden.

"Would they have said anything about it if she were just holding the baby on her lap or feeding the baby a bottle?" Braden said. "It seems like any time anyone is breastfeeding publicly, people make comments on how people are feeding their babies."

Braden added, "It's the same as giving the baby a little applesauce packet on a ride."

Ultimately, the photo and the discourse around it "shows how far we still have to go with people making comments on women's bodies," Braden said.

When it comes to breastfeeding in motion, common sense goes a long way

Some people — particularly other breastfeeding mothers — praised Barnyak for stepping up to the job even while she was on the ride. However, doctors say that there are some places where it wouldn't be safe to nurse. The general rule of thumb is that if a child should be restrained for safety purposes — like in a vehicle or on faster-paced amusement rides — it's best not to nurse, Braden said.

For slower-paced situations, parents can use their best judgment.

"If on an amusement park or playground ride, the movement should be gentle enough to allow the mom to properly hold her baby and for the baby to latch onto the breast," said Alexander.

Braden — who recently nursed her baby on the bench at the rear of a small airplane while flying over Belize — said the photo is a touching testament to motherhood. "I applaud this woman for being a good parent," she said.

Read the original article on Insider