Perhaps only in America is it okay to walk around bra-less and in a sheer white top but a mom nursing her baby in public gets the cops called on her. The fact that 57 percent of those of us in the States think breastfeeding in public is obscene is proof that childism and discrimination against mothers is unfortunately alive and well. Bizarre since everyone needs a mom to come into this world and everyone was once a child ... who needed to eat to grow to be an adult.
When a mom is degraded for breastfeeding -- asked to leave, cover up, go to the bathroom, told to stop -- often she goes to the Internet to rally, look for support, or plan a protest. But Best for Babes stepped up and created a hotline, specifically to report and document these injustices against mothers and babies in hopes we can make a real change.
Breastfeeding in public is a right. There are people, however, who aren't aware of these rights, and it's part of Best for Babes' mission to get everyone -- store owners, security officers, restaurant staff, the 57 percent -- to understand those rights and respect them.
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For all the breastfeeding mamas, the number to call if you are harassed when feeding your baby in public is 855-NIP-FREE. If you're out at a restaurant feeding baby and the server tells you to cover up, call the number. If you found a quiet spot at the library to nurse and someone tells you to go to the bathroom, call the number. If you are in the mall breastfeeding and are told to leave, call the number. All reports will be documented for when BfB prepares to take big action with companies and legislators to help get that 57 percent to understand our rights. Hopefully to get that number way down. We need to get it on record in one spot to help those who can make big changes see this as a huge issue too many breastfeeding moms face.
When you call, you leave a message and a BfB representative will call you back. You'll get support from these advocates who have also faced breastfeeding discrimination. They are working hard for people to see breastfeeding as the natural act that it is, and will let you know your rights, and suggest your next plan of action. All info will be kept private, too.
It's still so hard for me and so many of my friends to believe this is happening. Luckily it's something I never had to face when breastfeeding my twins, but I know far too many who have. There are so many messed up things in the world to get upset about and yet the sight of a mom feeding her baby is obscene? Because it's a breast? I truly feel that the person uncomfortable with the sight of a mother nursing her baby needs some sort of help. Their association of a child eating with something disgusting and indecent should be a clue they need therapy.
Until then, thankfully nursing moms now have a number to call.
What do you think of Best for Babes' hotline and initiative? Would you call if harassed for nursing in public?
Image via eyeliam/Flickr