Toronto mom suspects her Instagram account was shuttered over breastfeeding photo
Published Monday, May 12, 2014 5:42PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, May 13, 2014 12:33PM EDT
A Toronto mother says she's "heartbroken" and "raging angry" after her Instagram account was shut down -- possibly because some users were offended by a photograph recently posted of her breastfeeding her young daughter.
Heather Bays, a photographer who specializes in child birth and newborns, says her account was shut down on Mother's Day weekend.
She said a black-and-white photograph of her breastfeeding her 20-month-old daughter had sparked a number of complaints. One user, she said, commented that the photo was "not cool."
Bays -- who says she is "not ashamed to public breastfeed" -- responded to the comment, saying "you mean so cool."
"I guess that ticked him off," she told CTV News Channel on Monday.
Shortly after, Bays said she received a number of emails from Instagram that her photo had been flagged as being inappropriate by some users.
"That caused my Instagram to be automatically deleted," she said.
According to Instagram's rules, overstepping certain "boundaries" may result in a user's account being disabled "without warning." One of those boundaries includes not sharing "photos or videos that show nudity or mature content."
Bays said when she decided to post the photo of her breastfeeding her daughter, it was because she wanted to document a special moment.
"I posted it because my daughter is 20-months-old, so she's weaning right now," she said. "These days are very sentimental."
She added that posting the photograph was also meant to help her business.
"I'm super, super heartbroken and I'm raging angry because that was three years of my motherhood that I documented for myself, along with my business."
Since having her account shut down, Bays says she has tried to contact Instagram on its own photo-sharing account or Facebook page, but has not received a response.
"They've deleted some of my comments but they don't respond," she said.
Fellow public-breastfeeding advocates have also been supporting the Toronto mother on social media, using the hashtag #saveHeatherBays