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

Since the nurse in's started there has been a back lash moving in the wrong direction.  Women are saying they don't want to nurse in public now because they don't want to be 'that protesty' kind of woman. Its not working when are you going to get that?   BTW feeling it is a civil rights issue doesn't make it one.  Only the supreme court or congress can make it a civil rights issue.  Please read your constitution and read about civil rights.  Those same civil rights were afforded every American but coloreds and that is what the civil rights movement was about.  Not crying about someone making you uncomfortable because you wanted to feed your kid. Be passionate, find another movement to compare it to or be brave enough to let it be a movement that can stand on its own.

wamom223 wamom223

I am all done with this conversation now.  I have better things to do and we aren't changing each other's minds.  I hope you will take my advise and read the Constitution before you talk about civil rights again.  Have a nice night.

Brittany Rose Westfall

Oh my god, you dont think that rosa made a lifestyle choice when she decided to sit instead of stand. Stop thinking im ignorant of black history cause I am white. Its the people who don't understand how distant situations can be connected by similarities that get me going. I know that I made the right connection between rosa parks and nurse ins. Where do you think the name nurse ins came from.. from the sit ins that happened in the 1960's. I'm not going to rehash what I said.. Its all there.. and if you want to say I dont under stand, fine. I know what I am saying. And others do too.

Brittany Rose Westfall

Making out is not the same and feeding a child.. making out is sexual in nature.. bfing isn't... try again.

Vegeta Vegeta

So your offended by my feets... Interesting. Kind of parallels another issue...

nonmember avatar Cee

Brittany...A lifestyle choice...being black and risking her life in something that could have gone awful awry had the people in the bus been violent racists instead of passive aggressive is not a lifestyle choice...my god, you are a daft woman

nonmember avatar Truth Teller

Stop comparing yourself to Rosa Parks. Do you have any clue how offensive you are being? Rosa Parks was arrested for that act. More than a few black people were murdered for daring to "not know their place". There were savage beatings and acts of police brutality in response to peaceful protests. People were murdered for registering black people to vote and their killers were acquitted by white juries. Don't you DARE compare yourself to Rosa Parks or anyone who spilled blood because of their skin color. Nursing mothers are not getting drenched with high powered fire hoses. If you think that breast feeding in public is a civil rights issue akin to the systematic treatment of black people as less then white people, I beg you to get out of your safe little bubble and learn a few things about what other people go through.

GlowW... GlowWorm889

I agree with wamom223. I'm all for breastfeeding in public, but there is no need for 50+ women to breastfeed in one restaurant to make a point. For one, breastfeeding in a restaurant is just not sanitary. I don't care if it's milk. Bodily fluids are leaving your body in a place that serves food to other people. It's not on the level of the guy who spits on the floor or blows his nose in the napkins and leaves them on the table, but it's still not something the health department is probably happy to think about.


Two, it turns people off to the idea. I'm sorry, but public breastfeeding is NOT on the same level as gay or African-American civil rights, and to say that they are is only serving to make you look incredibly insensitive and ignorant. You are not being beaten and/or killed for breastfeeding in public. You are not thrown in jail for it. Your quality of life is not significantly worse because you breastfeed in public. And you are not being treated like a second-class citizen for something you can't change. Because breastfeeding is a choice. A good one, nutriously and attachment-wise, but it's still a choice. You aren't being punished for the color of your skin, your sexuality, or your nationality.

GlowW... GlowWorm889

And personally, I'm sick of hearing how the breastfeeding mother has it worse off. Breastfeeding mothers have gained more rights in the last five years than other interest groups have gained in a century. Almost 80% of newborns are breastfed and employers are required to give breastfeeding mothers places to pump. Seriously? Just remind the ignorant idiot that you have a right by law to breastfeed in public and call the cops if they persist. There is no reason to make an exhibition out of it.

Vegeta Vegeta

Glowworm understands the complexities of my epic feet. Well said.

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