Dad Takes on Boy Scouts Who Messed With His Breastfeeding Wife

breastfeeding momMany people hear about a mom saying she was discriminated against for breastfeeding and don't believe the story. I guess it's great some have a hard time fathoming how someone could do this to another person, but the fact is more than half of Americans think it's obscene for a mother to feed her baby in public. While people casually walk by a pile of dog poop and think nothing of it, those same people call the sight of a mom breastfeeding disgusting

Sad, isn't it?

Usually it's the mom who speaks out about her ordeal, but this time a dad is telling his story about how a chief at a military base and the Boy Scouts think his wife's breastfeeding is obscene.


John and Tess Kinker are parents to five kids -- all breastfed. They are a military family, and John served active duty for nine years.

After their third child was born, the family would go to a thrift store on the base, and if baby was hungry while there, Tess would nurse. The chief got reports of this and visited the family at home telling John that Tess could no longer breastfeed at the thrift store because it made people uncomfortable ... even though Tess was always covered up. John stood up for his wife and his baby's rights, printed out the laws on nursing in public in that area, and showed them to the chief. She was allowed to nurse there after that. I'm sure those who were uncomfortable did their fair share of eye-rolling. But that wasn't the end of this issue for the Kinkers. 

When baby number five was born, Tess was a Committee Chair for the Boy Scouts and John a Den Leader for the Cub Scouts. During one of the meetings, Tess was scolded for breastfeeding. John told Best for Babes:

When I arrived at the meeting, I watched my wife silently take the verbal and emotional abuse of everyone there. It only took me a moment to realize what they were raking her over the coals about. Breastfeeding ... They were yelling at her that breastfeeding was disgusting, had no place in scouts, and that they wanted her to be removed from her position because of it.

Tess tried to defend herself, stating the laws, and John joined in. He shared:

They said that breastfeeding was sexual and had no place among the scouting organization, I said (the first scout) Sir Baden Powell, Jesus Christ, and most of our world’s great leaders were breastfed. I explained to them that breasts were not any more a sexual organ than a hand or a foot.

At first they ignored him, then questioned his military service, and then one of the women got in Tess's face and said, "I shouldn’t have to explain to my 11-year-old daughter what you are doing under that blanket! It’s disgusting!" They left.

John, who was honorably discharged, has a message to parents: Don’t let ANYONE ever tell you that your hungry baby doesn’t have the right to eat just because it makes that person uncomfortable.

Best for Babes, the site where this story originally ran, tried contacting Boy Scouts of America for their side of the story but haven't received a response yet. Still, BSA is run by many volunteers and it seems as if those here were ignorant to the laws ... ignorant to common decency to others. And this seems to be the case in many of these same situations. The mom who was told not to breastfeed at Target was scolded by an employee who was not following proper protocol. Target issued a statement after that saying how they support breastfeeding in their stores wherever mom and baby are comfortable. The Kinkers made their story public so something could be done about these Boy Scouts leaders who are shaming not just a mom breastfeeding her baby, but the Boy Scouts as a whole. Though the Boy Scouts' ban of gays says a lot about the organization's ideas of tolerance.

The fact that this is even happening across the country is terrible. Why do some feel the need to make a woman feel shame for nursing her baby? If they are so offended by it, can't they just not look? With all that happens in this world, all the harm people do to each other and the planet, breastfeeding shouldn't be lumped in with all the destructive and negative acts taking place. Breastfeeding should be celebrated, encouraged, and welcomed.

What do you think of this story? Should the Boy Scouts come forward with a statement on the actions of those few?


Image via Raphael Goetter/Flickr

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