Katrina Bolduc would never have been able to take such a photo even just a few months ago.
Less than a minute after completing her fifth triathlon — her first since giving birth — the California mother began nursing her 7-month-old son just a few feet from the finish line.
Bolduc said she used to feel “terrified” about breastfeeding in public because of all the negative experiences her friends had shared. But last Sunday, about “30 or 40 seconds” after finishing her race, she met up with her husband and their son.
“After I came through the running chute, I got my finisher’s medal, grabbed some water and came right out to say hello to them. My husband said, ‘Oh, he’s hungry. He missed you,’ so I just grabbed my son and started feeding him,” she told TODAY.
Bolduc, 28, said she didn’t notice any nasty looks from spectators or fellow athletes. Many people who walked by didn’t even seem to notice, while several actually stopped to congratulate her.
“People were saying, ‘Good job, mama,’” she said. “It was a huge relief for me. It was great to complete the triathlon, to be acknowledged for completing the race and also for being a mom. I feel like it was an all-around positive self-esteem booster.”
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Bolduc posted a photo of the moment on the Facebook page, “Breastfeeding Mama Talk," where she received an equally enthusiastic response from people who shared similar stories of feeding babies at judo tournaments, races and other sporting events.
“I never really thought of myself as a public breastfeeding advocate, but now I’m like, heck, yeah, I’ll stand up for women everywhere, the athletic community and just moms in general,” Bolduc said. “I think there needs to be more positivity and encouragement so we can continue to live our lives and feed our children and not feel like we need to run away and hide in a car or bathroom.”
A full-time yoga teacher who taught until she was just weeks due from delivering, Bolduc said she found it “extremely challenging” to get back into shape after giving birth to Grayson, the child she initially was told she wouldn’t be able to have because of her endometriosis and various surgeries.
Still, she signed up for a handful of sporting events to help motivate her, starting with a 10K “mommy and me” race she completed when her son was 3 months old.
Bolduc has built up to her current physical routine just as she has worked up to feeling comfortable nursing in public.
“It’s definitely something I wouldn’t have been able to do a few months ago but I felt completely confident doing it at the race,” she said.
Bolduc asked her husband to capture that milestone with the photograph that she then shared on Facebook.
“My intention was just to share it on the page and say, ‘Look ladies. This was a really positive experience for me, for my overall wellness — emotionally, physically, spiritually,’” she said. “I just finished a triathlon, my first one postpartum. I’m feeding my child. Everyone is friendly. The world is great. Here’s some positive light to balance all the negativity.”