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Rugby player praised for breastfeeding during game

·3 min read
Rugby player praised for breastfeeding during game

A rugby player in the U.K. is being praised for stopping during a match to breast feed her baby. A photo from the Stanningley Ladies Rugby club showed 29-year-old Emily Brierley breastfeeding 14-week-old Arabella on the sidelines.

Like any usual sideline shot, Brierley is surrounded by water bottles and a rugby ball, but her baby girl is tucked under her shirt. "Brilliant image from the weekend. One of our Ladies team juggling playing with that of motherhood. Well done Emily - great to see you back in action," the photo caption reads on Twitter.

Brilliant image from the weekend. One of our Ladies team juggling playing with that of motherhood. Well done Emily - great to see you back in action 🖤🤍👏🏼👏🏼#oneclub #WomensRL #thisgirlcan #rugbymum #rugbyleague pic.twitter.com/mNFmqTduWz

— Stanningley SARLC (@StanningleyRL) June 14, 2021

Brierley, who is also mom to 9-year-old Scarlett, said Sunday's game was her first since giving birth. She had not played for six months and was eager to get back to it — even asking her doctor if she could train just days after giving birth.

"I listened to my coach and manager and waited until the doctor said it was ok," she told BBC News. "I found out on a Tuesday so went back training on Wednesday. That was a couple of weeks ago."

"To get my first game on Sunday was absolutely amazing, it all came back and felt like home again," Brierley said. 

On Facebook, the rugby team said Brierley came off the field as a sub, breastfed, then went right back into the game.

The post was flooded with comments praising Brierley. "Just want to say what a lovely post to see," one woman wrote, adding that her young daughter plays rugby. "As a mum who breastfed all 3 of my children how nice it is to see this post and the positivity too."

"Great work Emily! It's not an easy thing to do! I've recently had a baby too! Kudos to you, women are unreal! You are unreal," another commenter wrote. 

Brierley told BBC News the response has been "unbelievable" and the comments are "really touching."

"A lot of parents with young girls are saying how encouraging it is to see a woman playing rugby and able to still get on with feeding and doing what she loves," she said. 

She sharing the photo had "opened up a lot of people's minds" about breastfeeding in public, BBC News reports. 

While breastfeeding in public in the U.K. and U.S., sometimes it is stigmatized. 

In 2014, thousands of people in the U.K. attended protests in support of Emily Slough, who was labeled a "tramp" for breastfeeding in public. Slough organized a demonstration, where moms breastfed their babies in Rugeley town center, BBC News reports.

Several so-called "nurse-ins" have taken place in the U.S. In 2020, a mom in Georgia organized a demonstration at Chick-fil-A after a manager there said they'd had a complaint and asked her to cover herself.

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