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


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wamom223 wamom223

You aren't fighting for my rights LuvMyDandD I already have it.  Why that is so hard for you to understand I don't know.  I wasn't calling you a dumb ass bitch but saying if that is what I think of you I wont defend your actions or look the other way when you say you speak for me.  I wont apologize for how I feel since there always seems to be a dumb ass bitch claiming she speaks or is fighting for all women.  If you think all of the women in America can be represented by one point of view then you are a dumb ass bitch plain and simple and I have no problem pointing it out.  The reason so many men think women are dumb is because we don't tell the dumb women acting like they speak for us to sit down and shut up.

Caera Caera

Nope, not at all.

All that stupidity does is cement the idea that these breastfeeding exhibitionists are just looking for negative attention because they want their name in the paper.

Stop being a self-centered asshole. Cover up.

Brittany Rose Westfall

Handy, I totally agree with you! " find the comparison to Rosa Parks apt... A woman nursing a baby is no more offensive than a woman sitting in the front of the bus... People being offended and angered by the former are no better than people who were offended by the latter.  

Deliberately pissing people off is a proven, effective way to change attitudes... As time goes by, more and more will wonder... "Just what the heck is so offensive about this anyway..." and then things will change.  Until then, if the nurse-ins are causing anger, one should consider why... why is the sight of women using their breasts for the express purpose God designed them provoking? Until it's no longer provoking... perhaps we should support those who are doing something about it."


Perfectly stated! Well done!

wamom223 wamom223

So who cares if we water down history so everyone can compare their lives to the civil rights movement?  You people are a joke to compare what you go through to what Rosa Parks endured on a daily bases.  This is what happens when we let Black History be considered separate from American History. No one is educated and they walk around sounding like spoiled ignorant children.



I agree that women need to be able to breastfeed whenever and wherever their babies need it but I've always had a problem with the nurse-ins for the reasons you mentioned. I think if we want people to be more supportive of breastfeeding it doesn't help them develop more positive feelings or acceptance of it by being in-your-face with it. The best way to hurt a business IS in the pocketbook, and the best way to hurt your cause is to flog people with it. At least in my opinion.

retlaw retlaw

my question is....if you are in a store that has designated breast feeding areas, why aren't you using them, besides just to "prove a point" and nurse out in the open just because you can? I breastfed and I never did it in public because I never needed to. There was never a time that I didn't have an area or room that I could go to and feed my child privately. Just because we all have the right to breastfeed in public does not mean that we should be doing it JUST to piss people off

Brittany Rose Westfall

Tell me Wamom, Why do you think that women should cover up?  Or you Caera. We shouldn't have to. I mean by all means, cover up if you want to, but if you ever wanted to excersize your right to bf in public without covering to being banished to a bathroom, that is what we are fighting for. We already have the right to do so, but women are still targeted for doing it. It is those women I am defending. If you dont bf in public, or if you cover up when doing so, great, that is what is best for you, but there are millions of other women who want to not feel like that are being stared at by everyone else everytime she breastfeeds.

Jamie Marie German

When did the civil rights movement end? Last I checked we still have plenty of inequality here in America for all sorts of people. Having a law is just one part of civil rights BTW, the next step is getting the majority to recognize it. Establishments continue to discriminate and fail to obey the law and two states still do not have a protection for breastfeeding law on the books.
"Two U.S. states do not protect a mother's right to nurse her child in public: WVa and ID. Three additional states only exempt breastfeeding from public indecency laws: WY, SD, MI.

Every state except West Virginia, has some law related to breastfeeding but the laws vary widely."

Brittany Rose Westfall

I have seriously had people oogle me from across a room, because I was bfing. Look, I don't care if you don't want to exercise your rights as a woman to breastfeeding, but as a mother who has experienced the negativity of bfing in public, I want to make sure no woman has to experience what I went through. While I was not traumatized by my experiences, other women are, and that should not happen. And we are not self centered aholes for wanting the ability to bf and not have to cover up, or get dirty looks. Maybe you are the one who is self centered for forcing a mother to conform to your ideas of what modesty is. I never got the hang of bfing in a way that I didn't expose at least some part of my breast. My son hated the cover on his face. He didn't like not being able to see me, and most of all, he would get sweaty hot from having the blanket over him. It isn't about anyone being uncomfortable, it is about the childs ability to eat  where ever it is needed. Nurse-ins are uncomfortable only for those who feel uncomfortable about it. And they shouldn't feel uncomfortable about it.

handy... handy0318

I disagree that it's a matter of watering down history (and what country were you raised in that the Rosa Parks story was somehow separate from American History?). 

The comparison is very apt... Parks did something that should have never been considered offensive.  She got on a bus and sat down in a seat.  That's all she did.  People were enraged over that.

Just reading through the venom in this thread, people are obviously enraged over mothers feeding babies.  

Think about... People being enraged... calling names, calling people they don't even know bitches, stupid, assholes.... over women feeding babies.

Really think about that.  


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