Breastfeeding Group Makes Coffee Shop Owner Allow Public Breastfeeding

A coffee shop in England came under fire after its owner put up a silly sign on the window letting "groups" of breastfeeding women know they had every right to order them to nurse in its "spacious disabled toilet" rather than offend every single person trying to enjoy a latte by feeding their hungry, crying babies in -- gasp! -- public. The good news here is that the owner eventually apologized, probably because the sign can now be found all over Twitter and Facebook, thanks to women like those belonging to the group National Childbirth Trust, who are taking a stand against the BS of so-called "polite notices" like this one. But there's one thing few people seem to be focusing on here: why are "groups" of breastfeeding women under attack? Is more bad than good being done when moms ban together to breastfeed in public?


Here is the sign that caused so many women to protest this shop's treatment of women who breastfeed:

First and foremost: Breastfeeding groups exist because there is a need for them. Many women still feel so intimidated by people like this business owner, who either view nursing as a private act or as a choice -- a poison that they feel some women pick instead of the single most natural way for a woman to feed her baby. Of course, it's a demented way of thinking, but it's going to take years to change people's minds about it -- that's just the way it is.

Groups of women who nurse in public, either to take a stand and raise awareness or simply because they feel more comfortable doing so with other like-minded moms, are threatening to business owners. Maybe they fear these women are going to be vocal and cause a scene about nursing if, say, a customer shoots them an awkward glance.

I'm guessing these owners aren't mean or don't hate women -- the coffee shop owner is a woman, as a matter of fact. They just want to make money and are scared of offending the majority of their customers. As archaic as it sounds, people still feel uncomfortable watching one woman breastfeed. Now you're throwing five or six more breasts into the mix and it's like, whoa, breast overload -- and not in a sexy, sexual way that makes sense to people.

What other people think doesn't matter. It's really important for women who feel intimidated by the idea of breastfeeding in public to find a safe place in a group atmosphere. Nursing groups benefit many women, and this owner's reaction is proof of that: we have to keep in mind that she ultimately lost and was actually very apologetic about her mistake. She publicly apologized. She knew this wouldn't fly, which means breastfeeding moms are actually winning this battle (slowly but surely).

Public nursing is and will become more and more "normal" -- thanks to brave women who go at it solo AND breastfeeding groups whose members refuse to drag the comfy "chair nearby" into a toilet so that they can nurse far, far away from the rest of civilization.

Why do you think this owner targeted breastfeeding "groups"? Do you see the benefit of these groups?


Images via U.S. Department of Agriculture/Flickr; MrsEarlswood/Twitter

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