We did the inevitable recently. We took the kids to Disney World in Orlando, Florida. They’re at just the right age… old enough to go on all the roller coasters, young enough to think it’s the greatest place on the planet. By the end of the trip, and hitting a park a day (Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios), we were wiped out. We also had a mountain of dirty laundry, so it was time to come home.
As we went through the parks, I was amazed to see so many toddlers and babies. When our kids were that age I think I was too tired to have enjoyed the trip. But maybe I should just embraced the exhaustion. In fact, the Disney parks seem designed with new parents in mind. Well located bathrooms, plenty of benches and food at every turn. But it’s not just that. The parks also have designated Baby Care Centers. I have a Flickr album with photos from each of the parks that you might want to look at.
You can of course breastfeed anywhere you’d like in the parks. But if you’re looking for a quiet, designated space, with soft lighting, the Baby Care Centers are a good choice. Some of the rooms even have signs welcoming breastfeeding moms. The only thing I didn’t entirely like, was that the Disney website indicates that the Baby Care Centers are sponsored by Carnation formula. This information isn’t anywhere in the parks. Nevertheless, as with just about everything Disney, you’ll find what you need at the Baby Care Centers, and move on to the next adventure.
As for the kids, they only have one question of course… when can we go back?!
Disclosure: Disney gave me some tickets for park entrance.
So, here we are once again. A mom goes to a restaurant. Takes her baby. The baby needs to eat. The mom proceeds to breastfeed. An employee asks the mom to cover up. And the brouhaha begins.
Crystal Everitt was at the Denny’s restaurant in Asheville, North Carolina when this very thing happened to her. In fact, when she refused to stop breastfeeding or leave, the police showed up at the restaurant and said she could be arrested for trespassing.
Here’s a video interview on the local news with Crystal.
Here’s a link to her story about what happened:
Everitt said she told the manager she had the right to breastfeed and thought the incident was over until she saw an Asheville police officer and the manager walking towards her table.
The manager told her she could not stay if she continued breastfeeding, Everitt said.
The officer told her she could be arrested, not for breastfeeding but for refusing to leave the restaurant, she said.
North Carolina law allows breastfeeding in any public or private place where the woman is otherwise authorized to be. But it does not forbid business owners from asking mothers to move or cover up, said Natalie Wilson, professional liaison for the Le Leche League of North Carolina.
So now, Everitt is planning a protest at the restaurant on February 22nd. A breastfeeding advocacy group called First Right is backing Everitt. And there is even a grassroots movement to organize protests at Denny’s outside North Carolina.
Here’s the link to a Yahoo Chat group about this nurse in.
Here’s the North Carolina law about breastfeeding in public.
And laws in every state about breastfeeding in public.
And here’s a link to Breastfeeding123 which has Denny’s corporate statement in response to this incident.
So here’s my take on this: Laws protecting women’s right to breastfeed in public are a good start. And a necessary one. But it’s just the beginning. And we see this over and over again when moms are harassed for breastfeeding in public. We are still a far cry from a society that truly accepts breastfeeding. We are so conditioned to think of breasts as sexual… boobs are used to sell everything from lingerie (think Victoria’s Secret) to restaurants (think Hooters!) to perfume (check out this Calvin Klein commercial with Eva Mendes). But breastfeeding isn’t sexual. Don’t forget… we’re mammals. And mammals breastfeed in order to nourish their young.
So… where does this leave us? In a place where moms like Crystal Everitt need to speak out, to make their voices heard, and ultimately, to protect babies’ rights to eat, wherever and whenever they need to.
Here’s the story from a South Carolina TV station:
(You can watch the video too). COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – A Midlands mother called us about something she says happened at a Richland County Wal-Mart.
Heather Silvis says she felt bullied when Wal-Mart associates told her she could not breastfeed her baby in the store on Two Notch Road.
“I sat down on the bench and put the baby on my lap. I had not even began to nursing when supervisor and four Wal-Mart employees who were standing in the area began to tell me ‘You can’t do that here,’” Silvis said.
Instead, Silvis says employees told her to go into a dressing room.
“Then one of them stood up and pushed my shopping cart with my 21-month-old baby in it and my purse around the corner and I was told, ‘If you want to breast feed, you’re going to have to go in there.’ So I followed my child who was in my shopping cart went into the dressing room and nursed my baby,” Silvis said.
Silvis says she wants an apology from Wal-Mart and hopes she and other mothers don’t have to face this type of discrimination.
State law does allow mothers to breastfeed in public.
Wal-Mart representatives say the dressing room was offered to Silvis as a courtesy and employees did not mean to offend her.
Visit US Weekly right now and vote in their poll. They want to know whether you, like actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, would breastfeed your baby in public. My nursing days are over, but I voted “yes.” As they say, been there, done that.
My grandmother called me this morning to tell me that GMA did a story today about breastfeeding in public and the challenges that some moms face. Unfortunately, I missed the piece on the TV, but you can read it on line. Click here. From what I’ve read, it seems like the piece was very pro-breastfeeding in public. So take the time to go to their site and leave a comment with your own opinion. Here’s a snippet from the story: ….46 states allow woman to nurse in public or at least exempt them from prosecution.
But, public opinion hasn’t caught up with the law. A recent study found 57 percent of Americans said women should not have the right to breast-feed in public. Seventy-two percent said it was inappropriate to show a woman nursing on television.
For many mothers, it may ultimately be a health issue. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends babies should be breast fed up to one year. It said the health benefits include fewer food allergies and a stronger immune system.
“The longer you breast feed, the better the health benefits, not only for the baby but for the mother,” said Baby Talk magazine editor Susan Kane.
Bruce-Low said it is important for more woman and people in general to see mothers nursing in public, calling it a natural thing.
Kane did have some suggestions for woman planning to breast-feed in public:
Use a cover up.
Feel comfortable while breast feeding. There are lots of products on the market that let moms cover up while nursing.
Wear a button-down shirt and nursing bra.
Ask permission if you are a guest.
As a courtesy, when at a private home or party, ask if it’s okay if you breast feed.
Stand up for your rights.
Don’t be ashamed of feeding your baby. In most cultures, it’s considered completely normal.
Here’s a new one…. Want to discreetly breastfeed your baby in public? Put one of these hats with an enormous brim on your babe’s head. She’ll be shaded from the sun and you’ll be completely covered.
The MoBoleez hats come with some cute sayings too: “Au lait, s’il vous plait,” “Milky Way,” or “Time to tweet.”
Now, I haven’t actually tried one of these hats, but I did sort of concoct my own version last summer. I put my fuschia and white hat on The Bear’s head while he was nursing. Of course it didn’t stay on. Too big. And he managed to swat it away. Details. So maybe a hat properly sized for a baby will do the trick. Though I must say, I’d love to see what the baby looks like when she stops eating and sits up. Can she even see out from under that brim?!
Thanks to Babble for the “heads up” on this one!
Roughly 150 people gathered at a Pennsylvania shopping mall this past weekend to support a mom who was forced to stop breastfeeding her baby in public. Leigh Bellini says a security guard asked her to put a blanket over her baby’s head, feed her baby in the bathroom or her car, and even threatened to call the police.
The nurse in got its share of media attention. To watch a new clip from a CBS affiliate, click here. (Make sure you go to the right hand side of the page that pops up to find the link to the video). The piece has an interview with Bellini who says her goal is to get Pennsylvania to enact a law that would protect breastfeeding in public.
Angela at Breastfeeding 123 reports that a Pennsylvania State Senator has introduced a piece of legislation that is moving things in that direction. The Right to Breastfeed Act would allow a mom to breastfeed in any public or private place that she is otherwise allowed to be.