Saturday, May 28, 2011

Nurse-In! Nurse-In!

I have always wanted to be a part of a nurse-in. There's one next Tuesday at the Trumbull Mall at 12:30, but I have to work, darn it!

Last week a woman at the Westfield Trumbull Mall was told by a security guard that she had to cover up while nursing. That's clearly a violation of CT State Law, which reads, "It shall be a discriminatory practice in violation of this section: for a place of public accommodation, resort or amusement to restrict or limit the right of a mother to breast-feed her child." Unfortunately the woman felt intimidated by the guard and left.

I would have pulled out the little card I have that has the CT State Law written on it, told to guard to get away from me, promptly contacted management, and then called every media outlet in the area. It's absurd that nursing moms have to be so aware of their civil rights, but the incident at Trumbull Mall shows why.

I find it tragic that many people find the healthiest way of feeding a child* to be indecent. I know it impacts women's motivation to breastfeed, because it's inconvenient and just plain not fun to go hide in a corner if you need to feed your child. The CT State Law is in the "Human Rights and Opportunities" section. It is a human right to breastfeed.

I almost can't blame the security guard; we see breastfeeding done in public so rarely (first of all, people usually don't even NOTICE you are breastfeeding), so it makes sense that he'd be uneducated about it. It's his employer's job to make sure he and all staff are aware of the rights of their patrons, so I'm curious who holds the most responsibility for the guard's mistake. Was he properly trained?

To many people, the idea of a cover makes sense. What those people don't know is that once the kid hits 5 months or so, he realizes that having a sheet over his head while he's trying to eat is uncomfortable. He then rips the cover off, waves it around, and punches you in the face with it. Meanwhile, the whole restaurant, or airport, or park is watching the action. At a certain point, a nursing cover is way more attention-getting than uncovering your boob for 1-2 seconds, latching the kid on, and just using your shirt to cover your boob.

Anyway, if you are a nursing mom or know one who's free on Tuesday, and if she's a bit of a hell-raiser like me, please tell her about the nurse-in!

*PS- Hey, Forest Park, Georgia- notice I say CHILD, not baby. Your law limiting public breastfeeding to children under age TWO is ridiculous, unfair, and discriminatory. As someone whose two year old still nurses, I take personal offense to this arbitrary law which shows your ignorance of breastfeeding, children, and biology in general. You should be ashamed of yourselves. I state, once again, that is a human right to breastfeed a child of any age, and I'm happy I live in a state that recognizes that.

(Georgia's law is similar to CT but says it's a woman's right to breastfeed her BABY. When does a "baby" become a "child?" Who should decide that? Certainly not a bunch of strangers who don't know your kid, and certainly not a bunch of dummies who apparently care nothing about breastfeeding and its health benefits.)

There is also a school in Georgia that BANNED BREASTFEEDING ON THE PREMISES. Can you believe that? The real story is actually worse than it sounds, so you should read it. Not only was the teacher who wanted her baby brought to her during the day told she could not breastfeed her baby at school, this means that the teen moms at the school are banned from breastfeeding.


Many people also think women should just pump and use a bottle in public. Those people have probably never had cold plastic pulling at their nipples. They've probably never had to set a pump up, sit alone in a room for 10-15 minutes, break the pump down, store the milk, transport the milk, then wash all the parts and bottles that night and repack the parts in the morning. Also, decent breast pumps cost at least 200 bucks. Mine was 300. Pumping is not very fun, although I'm thankful to my pump for letting me keep nursing my kid full-time after I went back to work at ten months. Nursing your actual BABY, though, makes more milk, and is just way more comfortable. For that Georgia school to imply that breastfeeding is so dirty that it's banned on the premises... well, it makes me sick that breastfeeding moms are at the mercy of such morons.


Anonymous said...

Don't you know that our society is only ok with boobies for prurient purposes? God forbid they should be revealed in the non-sexual context of GASP! providing nourishment to a baby.

I guess that explains it. If you are a dude who only wants to see breasts in a hot and heavy scenario, and then...there's a BABY latched onto there, it either ruins the scenario a deeply disturbing "disparate worlds colliding" moment.

I nursed in public when I had my kids, and though I was fairly discreet and never got totally comfortable doing it, I think liked it better when people reacted with embarrassment and looked away (usually men) than when they were a little too curious. But I NEVER got banned from a place.

Anonymous said...

While we're on the topic... although Connecticut has had a breastfeeding law on the books for several years, a federal law was passed last year regarding break time for nursing moms at work. These laws don't really provide broad "rights," and just require certain employers to provide (unpaid) break time and a space that's not a bathroom stall for pumping. More info available at:

medha311 said...

That's CRAZY! And, to think, Westfield Trumbull has just spent all of this money to become family friendly with a whole remodel including family lounge, new playspace, family discounts and so much more only to have a security guard F it up by not allowing Moms to FEED their children while shopping?!