You'd think a place that has its own "nursing room" for moms would be a pretty chill place to hang with your baby, wouldn't you? I'm betting the North Carolina mom who was breastfeeding her 2-month-old in the public library computer lab thought so. At least until an employee tried to banish her there.
Kelle Perkins had her son inside her shirt so he could eat while she finished her work on the computer at the local library. But when patrons complain, she said a library employee told her she'd have to move to the nursing room if she wanted to continue breastfeeding. Say what?
The good news is there's no need for a nurse-in at the Mecklenburg County Library, ladies. The library is apologizing for what they call an employee misunderstanding, and they say they've retrained staff. They're to let moms know the library's nursing room is available to them, not a place where they "must" go to feed their kids.
But the fact is, this is a "misunderstanding" that keeps happening. Nursing rooms are supposed to make moms' lives easier. They're not supposed to make it easier for prudes to push women out of the public eye and make them feel like they're doing something wrong when they're feeding their kids.
I need to be careful here because I don't want to discourage businesses from creating designated nursing spaces. There is a place for these rooms, and the fact that they're cropping up at facilities moms frequent -- like libraries -- is a good thing. I remember being highly uncomfortable breastfeeding around people, and I know there are plenty of women like me who would prefer to have a place to go instead of being forced to sit in their cars or hide in a bathroom. They're also great for moms who have to pump or moms who just want to get a noisy kid out of the way to calm them down.
But as long as nursing rooms are being used against moms, they aren't making our lives easier. They're just adding to our headaches!
Breastfeeding is normal. It can be done in public by women who ARE more comfortable with it than I was with no problem. And the fact is, in most place, they're protected by law to do so.
Have you taken advantage of a nursing room before? Did you feel like you had to go in there to breastfeed?
Image via NataPics/Flickr