Nurse-Ins Are an Awful Way to Fight for the Right to Breastfeed in Public

Rant 196

nurse-inHave you ever gotten kicked out of a store for breastfeeding? Gotten dirty looks while breastfeeding your newborn at a restaurant? Or maybe you were minding your business on an 18-hour flight and someone asked you to cover up your breasts while nursing your baby. What can you do but oblige your uncomfortable hosts? Well, many new moms are organizing and staging nurse-ins.

That's one way to get the public's attention.

When a restaurant manager says you can’t breastfeed in her establishment, go back the next day with 100 of your closest nursing friends and  sit down and breastfeed your babies all at the same time. That'll show 'em. Right?

I'm not so sure.

I worry that with all those exposed breasts, people are missing the point.

Moms should be allowed to nurse their babies anywhere. You feed a baby when she's hungry -- and if we mothers are expected to run home every single time our child cries out to be fed, we'll be trapped in our homes for most of our babies' early years. That is not fair to the mothers. We are nourishing our babies not exposing our breasts.

But while I believe in the right to protest, I don’t agree that forcing patrons to watch you nurse to make your point is the way to go. It’s one thing for one mother to be nursing her child someplace; it’s quite another when there's an organized drove of nursing mothers descending upon an establishment.

I mean, if you need to feed your baby, by all means feed your baby. But purposely going in there to feed in protest is basically shoving your beliefs down anyone within eyeshot's throat.

Some people are a little more modest and don’t care if you breastfeed in public or even notice but once you are standing there saying look at me, my breast are exposed and I am feeding my baby, FUCK YOU, that's combative. And then the focus becomes about women being combative rather than doing what comes naturally. The victims of the discrimination become the aggressors.


Moms, in all honesty, I think it would be more productive to breastfeed when you need, wherever you need, stand your ground and if you really want to hurt the business, protest in front of the business and inform their customers that they are not breastfeeding friendly; boycott their stores. Hit them in their pocketbooks and they will pay attention.

Do you think nurse-ins are an effective way to get the public to become more accepting of breastfeeding in public?


Image via Flickr/ DailyCloudt

baby health, breastfeeding

196 Comments

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Brittany Rose Westfall

Really?! Women are allowed to breastfeed in public but it is okay for the public to descend upon her and make her feel horrible for feeding her child. In my opinion, Nurse-ins are a good thing! It gives breastfeeding exposure to the public who are wholly conservative about it. How do you think that violence and sexualization happened, overexposure. The fact of the matter is, Women are allowed to breastfeed in public, and no matter if your aren't comfy about it or are. Combative or not, the point is that we are allowed to nurse in public no matter what any shop keeper says, or restaurant owner. And if it makes you uncomfortable, don't look, or leave. Babies need to eat too, and unfortunately, they eat on their own schedule, not anyone elses.

Brittany Rose Westfall

Combative or not, the point is that we are allowed to nurse in public no matter what any shop keeper says, or restaurant owner. And if it makes you uncomfortable, don't look, or leave. Babies need to eat too, and unfortunately, they eat on their own schedule, not anyone elses.

wamom223 wamom223

This was a great blog and I totally agree.  Since these nurse in's started people who were pro breast feeding now have aggression towards the movement which proves these nurse in's are having the opposite of the desired effect.  People like Brittany up there seem to be having problems seeing the big picture which makes her part of the problem not the solution.  Also I will ask again why the hell people are just feeding their babies whenever with no schedule and apparently no chart keeping?

Brittany Rose Westfall

The worst part is no one is defending moms here. If someone violated your rights, would you just walk away and say... okay.. I guess. I wouldn't. I've been in this situation before. I have been told to cover up to nurse. My son was hot, and kept pulling the blanket down, and finally I just let him keep it off. I had someone walk up to me and tell me to cover up or they were going to report me to security for exposing myself. I asked where I was suspposed to go, and they said the bathroom. I returned the question, "Do you eat your meal in the bathroom?"

Brittany Rose Westfall

He scowled at me and said no, and I responded with "Then why do you expect my son to?"He got pissed and reported me anyways. Security came over and asked what the problem was, and he explained the situation. The security guard just laughed and said, Breastfeeding is legal to do in public, which includes exposing the nipple during the act. If it make you that uncomfortable you can go to another part of the building, or leave. He then apologized to me, and told me I could avoid these confrontations by using their designated breastfeeding areas.

wamom223 wamom223

I tried to walk away but need to write to you directly Brittany.  The point is you are allowed to nurse anywhere but citizens have the right to complain to the store and to feel uncomfortable about it.  Instead of having a nurse in you need to worry more about  making establishments aware of the law so that when they get a complaint they deal with it correctly.  If a patron complains and is informed that you have a legal right to nurse your baby the situation is handled drama free.  All the nurse in's are doing is making you women look like a bunch of wacko's and I'm sure that is not the point you are going for.

Brittany Rose Westfall

Guess what, not all babies are on schedules. My son was not on a schedule until he was 1. He was breastfed on demand for feedings and comfort until he was 11 months old, when he self-weened. And using language to say that I am part of a problem is wholly offensive to me. What do you think that rosa park did when she said no to standing? how are any civil rights movement started. Nurse ins are NOT aggressive. Bashing the window of a restaurant in because they kicked you out for breastfeeding is aggressive. Personally targeting the owner, is aggressive. But the ONLY way the public is going to get used to public breastfeeding is if they are exposed to it.

Brittany Rose Westfall

The point you are missing, is that it isn't a patron who kicks a woman out of an establishment.. it is the establishment who is doing the targeting and kicking out of the mother. That is when nurse ins are necessary. When an establishment tries to infringe on the rights of mothers, that is when nurse ins are necessary. If there is an jackhole patron who does it.. easy, tell them to eff off and move on with your day. But when an establishment is at fault here, sometimes action like this is the only way to make them listen. Boobies are boobies, and anyone uncomfortable by seeing them should realize, your moms, sisters, daughters have them. If you are disgusted by it, chop yours off, or don't touch em... ever. Boobs ARE NOT sex objects, they are means of nourishment for children.

Mandy Swanda

Nurse ins are done as a way of drawing attention to a store or business with discriminitory practices. If you are going to shame the young mom with the hungry infant, then you deserve all the bad press and loss of business that that brings. If a nurse in offends your other clientele, maybe you should think about that next time you try to send a mom and baby to the toilet to eat rather than averting your eyes and going about your business.

Brittany Rose Westfall

REmarkably enough, only in industrialized nations are breasts seen as sex objects. The rest of the WORLD, most notably third world countries, women walk around with their breast out, freely, without consequence. I don't think that is how it should be here, but the point I am making here is that its oursexualization of breasts that makes this taboo, not mothers, not nurse ins, not establishments, but society that has a problem. And honestly it didn't even happen in the USA until after formula came out in the 50's and 60's.

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