Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Public Nursing Soapbox

This is me on my soap box. You have been warned.

So, I learned about a nurse-in on Twitter this morning. I guess Target has been harassing customers who breast feed in their stores. Not cool, Target. Not cool. When I first searched for this story, I found others that took place in 2009 and 2006, so I guess this isn't the first case. Here is another story about this same incident.

Here are my issues with this....

Briefly I will say that 2 female employees came and verbally asked me to move. The 2nd one told me that Target employees had been told/trained to interrupt nursing and to redirect mothers to the fitting rooms. Even after I informed the 2nd employee of my legal right to nurse in public she still suggested me moving closer to the jean display, turning to face another direction, and also turn my basket a certain way which would have put me practically underneath the jean display and totally barricaded me in. Employee #2 even hinted in a threatening way 'you can get a ticket and be reported for indecent exposure.'"
Um, first off, BF is not "indecent exposure". When I BF my son, you can not see any more of my boob than you can see in a low cut shirt. I would even venture to say that you can see less than most women show off in what society deems "acceptable" clothing. Also if employees are being trained to "interrupt nursing mothers" that makes me want to interrupt your day with a punch in the face. Would anyone interrupt a person eating a bagel from Starbucks? If not, then leave my baby and me alone.

And when she called Target corporate to complain, Hickman says the representative she spoke to -- she didn't get a name -- said "just because it is a woman's right to nurse in public ... doesn't mean women should walk around 'flaunting it'".
What would it look like to "flaunt" BFing? What does that even mean? When I am BFing, I'm not shouting and causing a scene. I'm simply meeting the basic needs of my child. Oh, and while I'm on the subject, I don't use a nursing cover. You don't eat with a towel over your head, why should I expect my child to? And if it is my right to do something, I can do it.

I just don't get it. A woman should be praised for doing what is healthy for her baby, not harassed and made to feel uncomfortable. Alaska is one of the states that BFing in public is protected. The law basically says that BFing is allowed anywhere where a woman and child would normally be allowed. So, if you wouldn't kick me out of Target for shopping, you can't kick me out for BFing. I have luckily never had anyone say anything negative to me about BFing in public.  One time, a mother came up and told me how great it was to see me BFing is public and that I was doing a great job.  That made my whole week.

Alright, off my soapbox. Back to life. Where I gladly BF my child when and where he wants. Because that is how it should be.

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