So there’s this nationwide nurse-in at Target….

This was supposed to be a post about a nurse-in provoked by an incident that occurred at a Texas Target, where a mother was apparently sitting unobtrusively in a corner (albeit on the floor) nursing her infant under a cover. The woman was asked to move to a dressing room, and when she refused, she was treated rather rudely by the Target staff. According to a letter from the mother herself which was posted on Best for Babes’ website:

“Briefly I will say that 2 female employees came and verbally asked me to move. The 2nd one told me that Target employees had been told/trained to interrupt nursing and to redirect mothers to the fitting rooms. Even after I informed the 2nd employee of my legal right to nurse in public she still suggested me moving closer to the jean display, turning to face another direction, and also turn my basket a certain way which would have put me practically underneath the jean display and totally barricaded me in. Employee #2 even hinted in a threatening way “you can get a ticket and be reported for indecent exposure” when nothing was being exposed and there was more boob showing from low cut shirts several shoppers were wearing that night. This does not include the other 3-4 employees besides the 2 verbal ones who were all watching and making a spectacle of my nursing by standing around pretending to do something and giving me mean looks and shaking their heads no back and forth. In a side note not a single non-employee customer ever saw the incident so I’m not sure why the employees were trying to act like I was offending “the public” and that it was their job to step in.”

When she contacted Target headquarters, they informed her that their rules were not necessarily one and the same with state laws. The mother approached Best for Babes, and through grassroots efforts, an international nurse-in was planned for Wednesday, Dec. 28th at 10am.

I heard this story and immediately thought, awesome. There have been cases where I thought a nurse-in was a misguided approach; a recently publicized situation in Washington D.C. springs to mind, when it was apparent that the issue was not breastfeeding in public, per say, but rather loitering in the hallways of a government building. I think that the power of this particular sort of protest is lost when used too often for the wrong things; I also believe that nursing moms deserve the same rights and privileges as everyone else – not less, but also not more. If the goal is to normalize nursing, let’s normalize it, not glorify it.

Yet, I have said many a time that if there were a way for a bottle-feeding mama to voice her support for a woman’s right to nurse in public, I’d champion whatever it was. This kind of seemed like “it”. I don’t know this mother from Adam; I don’t know if there was another side of the story; I don’t know if she’s telling the absolute truth about how it all went down. But I’ve seen enough scorn directed at women who are nursing in public to feel that this is a plausible scenario. So I think it’s at least worth encouraging bottle-feeding moms who do want to support the cause to go for it, and to let them know that they (hopefully) would be welcome to join their nursing sisters down at the local Target to make a statement.

I posted as much on Facebook, and boy, was it not the reaction I was expecting.

The first argument that popped up was that some readers felt a nurse-in was unwarranted. Many felt the issue was that this mother was parked on a floor feeding her baby; had she been accosted in, say, the cafe area, or on a bench, it would’ve been a different story. I wholeheartedly agree with this. Large retail chains need to follow some basic safety rules, and having someone sitting in aisle could be a fire hazard. It may be a stupid rule, but that’s not really the point. For example, a Target employee recently embarrassed me terribly by telling me rather loudly that “my child needed to sit down in the cart right now“. My son is shy as they come and not rowdy in the least; he had stood up for a split second to point at a shirt he wanted. I was pissed, and felt simultaneously ashamed and outraged. Who was this kid to tell me how to parent? was coupled with “What kind of parent am I that this kid has to tell me to abide by basic safety rules?”

But from what this woman has said, and Target’s response (or at least what the media has reported as Target’s response), I don’t think this had much to do with her sitting on the floor. My litmus test is imagining what would’ve gone down if she was feeding her baby a bottle on the floor… and somehow, I really can’t imagine the situation evolving in the same pattern. Maybe I’m wrong; maybe this is only because a bottle-feeding mom would know that it wasn’t anything to do with antiquated ideas about public indecency, so she would just think it was Target being asinine about regulations. In my gut, though, I feel that this was about breastfeeding, and if so…. that is not okay. And I think a statement should be made to show the world that mothers won’t take this sitting down (no pun intended).

Look. If we strip down all the mommy war bullshit, the sad fact remains that all mothers are disenfranchised, in one way or another. If we don’t stand up for each other, who will?

But, um, on the other hand…FFF Sara voiced something on the Facebook thread that gutted me (and I hope she doesn’t mind me re-posting it here):

I know that fff doesn’t want to contribute to the bf v. ff animosity that is so prevalent. And I respect that. But sometimes it feels so one sided to be a ff mama who supports bf rights. We have to explain and defend ourselves, our decisions, our reasons for ff all the time in a motherhood culture where “breast is best!” and “formula is poison” are constant refrains. And we need to make sure they know we support their right to bf lest we sound politically incorrect and disloyal to the sisterhood. Yet I so rarely see the bf community sticking up for the ff mama’s. Maybe when they stage a bottle in at a so called baby friendly hospital…maybe when they stop comparing ff to child abuse…maybe when they stop saying “formula should only be available by prescription only”….maybe when I can say I ff my kids without getting dirty looks from other mamas, without having to go into an explanation about my depression meds being contraindicated with bf, and wax pathetic about how I really wished I could nurse too just like the real mamas just so I can pass some kind of deserving of motherhood test that women with kids inflict on each other..maybe then I will begin to care more deeply about the plight of nursing mothers on the floor of Target…I wish that support was more mutual. And bf moms have so many advocates, groups,organizations,consultants. We ff mamas have you.

Touché. And ouch.

Reading that, I felt like an asshat. I realized I never should have posted about a nurse-in without explaining myself first. 

Guys, I know it seems like I am getting all riled up about breastfeeding moms when I should be focusing on the injustices that formula feeders are facing. Both types of feeding come with their own particularly noxious pile of crap. Breastfeeding moms get nasty looks when trying to feed their babies in public; bottle-feeding moms get nasty comments from physicians, the media, and the parenting literature. It shouldn’t be a battle over who has it worse. 

I know that many of us feel we don’t get the same solidarity or compassion from the bulk of the lactivist community. And you know what? We don’t. But I want to stand up for the women who do give us support; the ones who do stand up for us on a daily basis on breastfeeding blogs; the ones who frequent this blog and our Facebook page and Bottle Babies and offer positive commentary on a daily basis. I want to stand up for our breastfeeding friends who are being harassed for nursing in public, just like they stand up for us when people start hurling “breast is best” admonishments at grieving mothers. I don’t have blinders on; I realize that most of the women involved in this particular nurse-in probably don’t give a rat’s ass about me or any other formula feeding mom; I know that many probably think we perpetuate the same bottle-feeding culture which alienates them in the first place; many are the same folks who have berated us time and time again, who have pretended to support us and then belittled us behind our backs. 

I don’t care about them. I care about you guys. But I also care about creating a future where mothers do have each others’ backs. I know it’s probably futile and Pollyannic and all, but I can’t help myself. I hope you can at least trust that if I didn’t think that standing up for a breastfeeding mom’s right to nurse in public would make things better for all mothers, us included, I wouldn’t bother to bring up the protest in the first place.  

I take the credo of this blog very seriously. “Standing up for formula feeders” means that FFF is first and foremost a blog that supports and protects formula feeding or combo feeding mothers.  But the second half is important as well – “Without being a boob about it” means that I will fight for breastfeeding rights too, because I don’t want anyone feeling ashamed or marginalized, because of the way they feed their babies.  

That said, all I ever wanted to do here is spread the word about the nurse-in, in case that some non-breastfeeding moms would like to participate or show support. That’s it. It was never meant to be a huge issue, and certainly never meant to hurt any of you, or make you think my focus is blurry. Information on the protest can be found here; I would love to hear about how it goes if any of you do attempt to join the demonstration; otherwise, case closed, ok?

And just wait until I have an opportunity to stage the “bottle-in” that another reader jokingly referred to on Facebook. I’m chomping at the bit for that one.


 

Suzanne Barston is a blogger and author of BOTTLED UP. Fearless Formula Feeder is a blog – and community – dedicated to infant feeding choice, and committed to providing non-judgmental support for all new parents. It exists to protect women from misleading or misrepresented “facts”; essentialist ideals about what mothers should think, feel, or do; government and health authorities who form policy statements based on ambivalent research; and the insidious beast known as Internetus Trolliamus, Mommy Blog Varietal.

Suzanne Barston – who has written posts on Fearless Formula Feeder.


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82 thoughts on “So there’s this nationwide nurse-in at Target….

  1. I'm going to leave the eloquent, well-constructed comments to others who have a much better way with words than I do. And I'm going to stand here and wave my “FFF Rocks!” pom-poms and generally just cheer. This post oozes awesomeness 🙂

  2. As someone who has got evil looks from generally middle-aged men for nursing with a super-cover in a freaking restaurant I was sitting down in (making things uncomfortable for myself and baby out of modesty and desire not to expose), I strongly support the woman in Target. I combo-fed and weaned gradually, switching fully to a bottle at 6 months, so I've seen both sides, and I hate the idea that women should be shut up at home to nurse. If we want to treat women with small babies as full citizens we can't put up with this – and there ARE laws protecting nursing in public spaces, you do have rights!

    And just because there are bullying morons on the lactivist side who want to take your rights away (making formula prescription only, stopping nurses from discussing formula with you etc) doesn't mean it's a race to the bottom.

  3. I just want to say as a “breast is best!” nursing mama, that this makes me very happy. Mom's need to support one another.
    I just wanted to point out that “And bf moms have so many advocates, groups,organizations,consultants.” is completely inaccurate and that is shown by the numbers. This isn't an argument about who has it worse but numbers show that FF moms have a lot more support and that is probably why the boobie moms feel so angry towards the FF not supporting them. Nursing past 6 months means that you are less than 10% of moms. That's a big gap. Education and support to all moms will help all of us. Beautiful post and very eloquently written!

  4. Yes. Yes. Yes. What a passionate post! You got my heart pumping and I even cried a little at the same time. And I may even show up at Target tomorrow, even though nursing in public, especially in retails stores, scares the hell out of me. You are one rockin' lady, FFF.

  5. I have bottle fed at Target many times, and I absolutely think that breastfeeding mothers should have the same right. My choice hangouts have been the bench next to the pharmacy and the food court. I have never tried it on the floor and I don't think the staff would react well if I did. That being said it does sound like they were harassing her specifically for breastfeeding, and not for just being in the wrong location. But I haven't heard their side of the story.

    I completely wish that any taboo against nursing in public would just go away. I honestly find it hard to believe that there are still people offended by seeing a nursing baby. They need to get over it. I feel like if breastfeeding was normal and accepted at all times, maybe there wouldn't be so much bitterness and animosity towards formula feeding? Perhaps it's just wishful thinking.

    Anyway, while I generally support the objectives of the nurse-in, I certainly wouldn't feel comfortable going myself. Maybe I'm just being paranoid, but I do not think I would be welcome, I think I would probably get dirty looks for taking out a bottle, and feel the need to justify it, etc. This being activism that appeals to militant lactivists, I'm sure that some (not all) of the people there will be the type who are judgmental of formula feeding and think that moms who do it are selfish and lazy or didn't try hard enough. I really just don't want to deal with being in a situation like that.

  6. FFF Sara and anyone else needs to realize that there is a huge difference between getting a dirty look and getting arrested or getting thrown out of an establishment! Reality check?

  7. Your point about the normalization of nursing indirectly leading to less animosity towards bottle feeders is a large part of why I'm so adamant about supporting these causes. But I also understand why you wouldn't feel comfortable attending the nurse-in. I felt like I had to ask permission before even suggesting that readers could attend if they wanted to, which just sucks.

  8. But see, this is the exact reason I feel uncomfortable about this post. FFF Sara and others who feel similarly are absolutely entitled to their feelings – feelings which I happen to share. There is also a huge difference between being harassed by some underpaid rent-a-cop at Target and having the American Academy of Pediatrics imply that you are an unfit mother for choosing not to breastfeed. That's a reality check that some mothers on the other side of this debate need, as well.

  9. If this lady was sitting in the middle of the aisle for whatever reason they were well within their rights to ask her to move to another location. Sadly it seems that some breastfeeding women and mothers in general feel they have this sense of entitlement to disrupt the order of things. This could be the breastfeeding mother who blocks the aisle or the lady with the screaming unruly child in the restaurant and thinks everyone else should just tolerate it. I get a little irked when I see parking spaces reserved for pregnant women, as walking is good exercise during pregnancy. I have 3 children. Two are grown, while the other my midlife baby is being FF due to me having a double mastectomy at the age of 32. I have no qualms with how a woman chooses to feed her child. I do think a woman should try and be discreet in public but this had nothing to do with nursing, this was about her obstructing the aisle. Which could create a safety hazard. I think I would rather nurse in a fitting room than down on the floor. Sometimes I have to take my wee one into their because she simply sometimes does not like having others around her and gets distracted easily. My confusion on the rights of women to breastfeed in public is when it comes to private property. Most states allow it with the wording of the place the mother is 'authorized to be”. I never thought that we had a right to be on anyones private property. If a manager or owner asked you to leave for whatever reason then that authorization is revoked. Breastfeeding is not a protected class like race. religion,sex, etc where the law has effect even on private property. I wonder if a business owner would ever challenge that wording as his right to eject a woman for breastfeeding. Only time will tell.. just seems to me that with private property rights establishments would be well within their legal rights to tell a nursing mother to leave or cover up etc. Do I support this.. no.. very quick way to lose money and customers. However, Im not sure this lady or the others who do nurse ins have the “absolute right” to go into a private business plop down and just start nursing or acting in such a way that they could block other access etc. Seems to me these nurse ins could constitute loitering. Any thoughts?

  10. Thank you for sticking your neck out and taking risks. That is the only way that breastfeeders and bottlefeeders and formulafeeders and donormilkfeeders will ever be able to link arms and say, “We believe that every parent deserves to make an informed feeding decision, and to achieve their personal goals without pressure judgment or guilt.” That is the Best for Babes Credo, and it is why we fight this fight. There are hurt mamas on all sides, and it is time that we fight the barriers that keep moms from achieving their personal goals, NOT EACH OTHER. And that includes putting pressure on the AAP. It is not acceptable that they admonish mothers to breastfeed for 6 months but do nothing to address the uneducated pediatricians who booby-trap mothers every day!

    At Best for Babes we are working hard to raise awareness of IGT (insufficient glandular tissue), tongue-tie and other problems that are routinely being mis- or under-diagnosed, leading to early breastfeeding cessation, anguish, and guilt. We are working to add content on safe infant feeding, whether formula or breastmilk. We are raising awareness of donor milk and putting pressure on insurance companies to cover the cost of donor milk. If we can all work together, then hopefully some day the feeding wars will be a distant memory!

  11. Also not meaning to stir shyte with the stick.. but how in the hell do you get these babies to nurse on que? Forcing a child to nurse if not hungry seems borderline child abuse to me.. I guess I just dont get it.. what do these ladies do? Do they not feed their child for several hours so they will nurse during the nurse in?

  12. I'm still nursing a toddler. My kid is such that if you ask him “do you want to nurse? ” he dances and smiles big. Any time of day. In fact, I could go into his bedroom right NOW wake him up from a sound sleep and nurse him and he'd be thrilled with it. Maybe its just my kid.

    Nursing for the 2 of us is a close to mommy thing, you FFF's get it through cuddling, after a bottle feed or maybe reading or back rubs or quiet times. I bet if you asked your bottle fed child if they wanted to cuddle they'd ALWAYS say yes. Because who doesn't love cuddling? My son? hates cuddling unless he's attached to my boob. 😛

    And the point isn't to force the baby to nurse. If the baby doesn't want to nurse, you just hang out w/ the other mamas who are. The point is is that you're THERE supporting other women.

    Thank you FFF for writing this blog post. Thank you so much. I agree with you 100% that if we all just got over our differences the world would be so much better for mothers EVERYWHERE.

  13. I really kind of doubt anyone is starving their babies before the nurse-in, and you can't make a baby who isn't hungry nurse–they just won't suck (although you can offer the breast, and they might comfort-suck or drink a little even if they don't appear hungry. Then again, they might not.) I would imagine not everybody at the nurse-in will actually be nursing that exact minute.

  14. I think that there is a misunderstanding of the meaning of support. There are very few groups/organizations etc that provide support for formula feeding mothers. In fact, it's almost impossible to find information about how to properly formula feed, including from doctors. I agree that this isn't about who has it worse, but I do think there is misunderstanding about “support” on both sides.

  15. It's sad, but I wouldn't feel safe taking my vulnerable infant to a situation that might be the equivalent of throwing oil on tinder. The major breastfeeding resources/organizations, like LLL, Best for Babes, and Kellymom don't do enough IMO to get the message clear to their followers that the bullying has to stop. Plenty of breastfeeding moms don't bully. But those who do don't get shut down fast enough, and the weed spreads.

  16. Formula feeding parents are always one stupid employee away from being thrown out for bringing in “outside food.” The fact that I've been accused of child abuse by breastfeeding militants online and the fact that the nurse-in is more likely to be populated by folks like them who feel that strongly about nursing makes me wonder if they wouldn't back up their words with actions, and I'd have child services at my door the next day for the high crime and misdemeanor of feeding my baby in the way that works best for MY family, not someone else's.

    Pain is not a contest. We can sit around all day and try to figure out who has it worse, but there are plenty of breastfeeding moms who never get dirty looks and who never feel threatened with any form of arrest or being kicked out. And there are formula feeding moms who have never been bullied or called child abusers for doing so. Being called a child abuser for nursing a toddler or giving a bottle is unacceptable no matter what. Being told that you're a horrible mother for doing what is best for your family (breast, bottle, or both) should be unacceptable, but far too many of us are told exactly that. One-size-fits-all medicine hurts, demeans, and dehumanizes women and children of all stripes, whether you're on the politically correct side of things or not.

    I'd love to see a “feed-in” anywhere moms are bullied or made to be second-class citizens: stores that discourage feeding (in all its various forms); businesses that don't have changing tables or no changing tables in the men's restrooms as well as women's (a “change-in?”); businesses that are stroller-inaccessible (frequently, they're wheelchair-inaccessible as well, and that's beyond unacceptable); etc.

  17. So…why do you tolerate bullying comments on your Facebook page? Even when others point them out as such? Just curious. Because I see a lot of folks who claim to love Best for Babes who are militant bullies, and I don't see people from Best for Babes coming down on this kind of possible misrepresentation like a ton of hammers.

    As a formula feeding mother, I have felt extremely unwelcome at Best for Babes because I have found so many people posting on the Facebook page that do not want to accept the prevalence of so many conditions and situations that preclude breastfeeding. I see rampant judgmentalism against those who have tried and stopped breastfeeding as if they are weak, selfish, and ill-informed. I see people holding up breastfeeding as the only real way to define a mother, which is not only terribly unhealthy as a means of defining yourself (nursing doesn't last forever!) and does a tremendous disservice to all women (it implies that the only thing worthwhile about us is our breasts). I recently read a comment in which someone decried proper bottle education as “disgusting,” her words. Last I checked it was not removed, and I haven't seen frequent reminders that women posting remain respectful of those who cannot/should not/do not breastfeed. Forget the pediatricians, what about the booby trapping that goes on among breastfeeding women who insist not only that “breast is best” but that “breast is all?” That kind of attitude is what forces many women to formula when they could quite happily and successfully combo-feed with more acceptance of formula as a viable alternative.

    I feel that you need to do some serious image rehabilitation before I can trust all the lovely things that you've said. Starting with issuing an all points bulletin that the bullying has got to stop, and then coming down on those who do look down on formula feeding parents with a quick, thorough, and heavy hand.

  18. Well, I've never seen a breastfeeding mom NOT nurse discreetly. Maybe those moms exist; I feel like they're more an urban legend than actual fact. I'd frankly never know if a baby was actually suckling or just asleep without getting WAY more close and personal than I'd like. 😛 Beyond that, I'm sure if you stick around long enough, the baby will nurse. Infants have notoriously tiny stomachs, and toddlers aren't that far off. Most little kids snack; I don't see why that couldn't be a snack of breastmilk vs. a snack of water/whole milk/whole milk alternative/finger food.

  19. I've said this elsewhere in the thread but I'll repeat it here. I've never seen a nursing mom NOT be discreet. I frankly think those who are totally inappropriate are the stuff of urban legend. Well…there was that case of the breastfeeding mom who got the police officer with her breastmilk…so maybe an occasional fringe case, but I can't even remember if she was actually nursing at the time or if she just got mad and decided this was the best way to take it out on the officer. I don't like to dismiss rare things just because they're rare, but I do think some perspective is in order here.

    I was just in Target the other day. Walked past the lingerie section. If breastfeeding in public is considered indiscreet, too much exposure, etc., then we have a LOT to re-think about in-store advertising and product packaging. Across from the kids' aisle are some fairly skimpy negligees with tags on them showing women with little on wearing a “come hither” expression. I'd suggest business owners who have a problem with nursing in public have much, much bigger issues to tackle before they come down on women who have no choice when their babies get hungry, unless they want to live as hermits.

  20. How do you define nursing past 6 months? Because that doesn't mean that 90% of women are exclusively using formula. Pumping counts as giving breastmilk yet it's not always included in the definition of “nursing,” and anyone who starts solids (the vast majority of families do at ~6 months) are deemed not exclusively breastfeeding anymore, which means they're often not counted as nursing at ALL. Twisting stats doesn't help call a ceasefire to the mommy wars.

  21. Teri, thank you so much for your feedback. We do work very hard to monitor the comments, reinforce our policy and we do frequently remove comments that are abusive; sometimes we don't catch everything. Could you provide me with a link to the comment where someone decried proper bottle education as “disgusting” so we can address it?

    I love your suggestion of a bulletin that bullying has got to stop, because we couldn't agree more. I am going to work on that and in the meantime, re-post this post: http://www.bestforbabes.org/risk-of-invalidating-moms-who-say-they-cant-breastfeed . The last few paragraphs address your point exactly.

    Thanks again for taking the time to let us know how we can do a better job. We take it to heart!

  22. Not to mention the implication of the name Best for Babes. I remember asking about that when they started following on Twitter. Sometimes best for babe is formula.

  23. Yes it is. The implication of the name Best for Babes is that what is best for mothers and babies is to be able to make informed feeding decisions and to carry those decisions out without pressure, judgment or guilt, regardless of whether you breastfeed for 2 days, 2 months, 2 years or not at all. Not all moms can or want to breastfeed and they need to do what is best for themselves and their babies!

  24. Bettina, I appreciate your willingness to tackle negative comments that have slipped through. And I agree wholeheartedly that parents need to do what is best for themselves and their babies. I took a gander at your home page and am wondering when it will be updated to reflect this attitude. Will we see pictures in your slideshow of women happily bottle feeding their children? Will we see articles about how booby traps are not just the purview of formula companies or ill-informed pediatricians but ill-informed breastfeeding moms, lactation consultants, and breastfeeding militants who insist that anything other than exclusive breastfeeding from the tap is automatically inferior, even if the converse is demonstrably true? Will we see a logo that is the silhouette of a bottle, not just the hot pink/white silhouette of a woman's torso/breasts advocating individualized pro/con analysis as being the best way to feed infants?

    As much as there are legit complaints against formula company marketing in developing countries, your current homepage at one glance seems to use many of the same visual techniques to “advertise” a product as Similac and Enfamil. In fact, I'd say you do a better job advertising breastfeeding than Similac and Enfamil; their homepages don't show people happily bottle feeding as of right now, and while I don't go actively looking for their ads, in the stores I tend to see more like fluffy ducks on Enfamil packages but women happily breastfeeding on the packages of breastfeeding-related supplies. Not to nitpick, but if your goal is to normalize your statement above, your website seems to contradict it in a very one-sided fashion.

  25. It is good to see some acknowledge of a small subset of the issues that preclude breastfeeding, and your acknowledgement that even if IGT is uncommon, it does not give breastfeeding activists license to bully. Those kind of statements are the start of what I hope is a long and heavy-handed campaign to stop the bullying. That said, your figures about how supposedly rare IGT is does not seem to have a citation, and I'm wondering where you have obtained the figure 1/1000. Given that there have been no real studies to back up the 1%-5% range that many breastfeeding advocates bandy around as the number of women who cannot nurse, and given that by your own admission IGT is highly underdiagnosed, I would suggest that your wording might need to be readjusted to recognize the fact that it may be far more common than you state. FFF has discussed in other articles how environmental toxins, which frequently make their way into breastmilk, may have had an impact on the growth of breast tissue (another area that is horribly under-recognized and under-researched) and this may be another area of relevant citation for your article.

    Further, just another thing I noticed off the top of my head: supporting women who must supplement because of IGT means the term “artificial baby milk/formula” is a veiled slap at these women (and the myriad other women who combo-feed). If I had a dollar for every time someone wrote on a news article comment section, blog, facebook page, or elsewhere decrying formula as “artificial crap” or some such wording I'd be able to put a fat down payment on a very nice car. If you are going to decry subtle things as “booby traps” then I suggest you look at the subtle biases in your own wording. If I had IGT and read that I was supplementing my baby with “artificial baby milk/formula” in conjunction with how many times I read from other moms online that “artificial = poison” “artificial = crap” “artificial = unhealthy” and so much more, I would pretty much discount your entire organization as a source of veiled slaps and subtle bullying, not true support.

  26. Teri you make some valid points. I think the one difference between BF and FF is that just my observation that BF moms tend to also use the breast for comfort not nourishment all the time. I have seen some moms, including myself in my younger days (I am 42) of giving the baby a bottle for comfort. So my hands are not clean. But It seems to be accepted that its ok to give the child the breasts if they feel the need to nurse for pure comfort. While FF moms are frowned upon to do this because of potential dental issues and obesity later in life. I dont believe in using food any form to soothe a child, unless it maybe on the rare occasions of a sick child. There are so many other ways to comfort a child without popping a nipple in their mouths( FF or BF). I would think with this nations obesity problems in children, then either would be discouraged.

  27. I read the string Teri–At least no one jumped on her bandwagon in support of her post! It seems like it kind of got left other than your response 🙂

  28. What a fascinating discussion! I agree that sometime ONLINE it seems like BFeeding moms are less worried about supporting Bfeeding than FF moms. But in my real life (maybe I'm just lucky?) which is one where EVERY friend of mine – at least 6 – successfully and proudly breastfed, has been supportive of my decision to FF my little one, I was happy to see a FF supporter bring this story to my attention, and do so in a way that was supportive of the mom. What I always feel in general, is that being a mom in a judgemental culture is hard no matter what side you are on! There is support and judgement on both sides in different ways. I agree that we should just support each other! Even if someone is judging me, I will not judge them because that doesn't really help 🙂 I know why I made the decisions I did, and since they don't I don't need to worry about them if they give me a dirty look. Sometimes easier said than actually felt–but that is what I try to maintain! Thanks as always for a very interesting discussion!

  29. Hi! Its sarah lorain again–can I actually take my last comment back? My little lady is now 9 months old…and I think I had forgotten how important online comments can be to a mom as new as 4 months old, and I think I unfairly dismissed how damaging online comments can be 🙁 Can you NOT post my last comment?? The one about how my REAL life friends have all been supportive? That is true, but i just read your last FF Friday post and suddenly remembered myself just 7 months ago, reading online posts about how bad FF is 🙁 ANd how destroying that was! My goodness what a difference a few months made, but I think that your blog, FB page and Karen's “supportive community for when breastfeeding doens't work out” actually had much to do with it!!! Thanks for your posts!

  30. I have to admit, I am somewhat offended by the notion that a breastfeeding mother or a mother with a screaming child is “disrupting the order of things”. Guess what – children are part of LIFE. What “order of things” doesn't include feeding a child? And children scream sometimes. It's part of life. Children have just as much of a right to be out in the world as adults do. Most mothers that I know try very hard to breastfeed discreetly and to make sure people around them are not disrupted by their children. But sometimes, things don't go according to plan. I would think that a mother of 3 would have some compassion for those women instead of calling them entitled. Or insinuating that pregnant women don't know how much exercise they need. For the record, I love those parking spots. I was grateful to not have to worry about my 3 year old (or my very pregnant self) getting in the way of a car while trudging across a large parking lot.

    And also for the record, the reports state that the woman in Target was sitting against the wall in a low traffic area, not obstructing the aisle in any way.

  31. Right now, one of the debates among the allergic parent community is how to get schools to be focused on education, not food in the classroom. We have a lot of kids with food allergies and some of those allergies are quite virulent, yet it's so hard to get non-allergic families to comply with policies. Their argument often goes along the lines that their kids are missing out when they can't have cupcakes in the classroom. The classroom is a place for education, and given what a hot topic obesity is, I'd rather see kids do crafts or activities for holidays than eat. Children have a right to free education, not cupcakes in class.

    I myself am rather mystified as to why comfort nursing is fairly well accepted, if not encouraged, while one of the things I was told by pediatrician #1 was that overfeeding is such a problem with bottle-fed babies (he even vehemently disapproved of pumping and giving milk in bottles) and that if I just nursed my baby constantly it was the best way to make breastfeeding work and thus avoid obesity. I didn't understand how constantly giving calories on one hand was okay but constantly giving calories on the other was not.

    That said, I would rather not generalize all breastfeeding moms. Just as each mom has different tricks and techniques for breastfeeding and different tricks and techniques for each child, I wouldn't say that comfort feeding is the norm for everyone.

  32. Sarah, I didn't find your other post offensive at all. I think you illustrate a valuable point here, about the power of distance and perspective.

  33. Yeah. This isn't by far the only example I've seen, I just stopped visiting the Best for Babes FB page around the time of the Laila Ali article because it was so alienating, and the comments so ridiculous I felt I was wasting my time countering all the superiority complexes over there.

    Speaking of the Laila Ali interview…I can't wait till Best for Babes publishes its next “Champions for Moms” interview about an adoptive mother, foster mother, gay parents, or mother who bottle-feeds for any number of excellent reasons (IGT is by far not the only one). I can't wait till they publish the next article about a doctor who advocates exactly what Bettina claims Best for Babes is all about–individual pro/con analysis, which often means breast is NOT in fact best. I'm anticipating your article about how breastfeeding moms can avoid “booby trapping” women into believing that exclusive nursing “from the tap” is the only way, countering the oft-quoted mistruths spread by even professional lactation consultants that combo feeding or pumping never works (falsehoods I was in fact told not by the formula companies but by breastfeeding moms I talked to online as well as lactation consultants), and thereby forcing women who might otherwise happily combo feed or pump into straight formula.

    Bettina, you DO have such articles planned, don't you? Because after all your credo “We believe that every parent deserves to make an informed feeding decision, and to achieve their personal goals without pressure judgment or guilt.” surely applies to all those many many moms who made well-informed feeding decisions and decided breastfeeding wasn't best for them, doesn't it? I'm sure the “breast is best” mantra splashed all over your front page and many of your articles, how your very tagline claims “Beating the Booby Traps that prevent Moms from achieving their personal breastfeeding goals” are all just temporary oversights that will be corrected within the next few weeks/months so that those with a feeding goal of “no breastfeeding” are supported. I eagerly await your reply.

  34. Erin, no offense was meant. I was merely stating my thoughts on the issue. I have 3 children ages 23, 17 and 9 months. I think I know a bit about raising them. I nursed my middle child and FF the oldest and youngest. Most women are discreet Bf, but lets face that we do sometimes have some that are not. As far as children screaming in public.. yes they do.. I dealt with more than my share of unruly tantrums and misbehavior in stores, restaurants you name it.. yes children are part of life. But if their screaming or actions cause a disruption to other patrons meals or shopping then you remove the child from the situation. If that means you have to go home and come back later, so be it. That is what I have always done with my older children when they were wee ones. Its not fair to others, but also its not fair to the child to leave them in a situation where they may be tired, bored or overwhelmed. Why keep them in a stressful situation and make especially the dining experience of others unpleasant? I know that I would and I say others as well dont want to have to listen to a screaming child when they have not been out for a long time and cannot afford to get a sitter often? Parents do deserve that occasionally. Its not the childs fault for being a child, but it is the job of the parents to not make it an issue for others. As for the lady in question, she was sitting in the floor low traffic area or not.. this could cause a safety hazard plus its filthy to do that IMHO. It was not the fact that she was nursing it was because she was sitting in the floor. If a woman sat down to bottlefeed or whatever they were well within their rights to tell her to get up. They offered the fitting room. I do not know if she was doing this to start trouble or not. But she stirred up a bloody hornets nest. And my comment on the pregnant women parking… if a woman has a medical need. the doctor can write a paper for a handicap parking placard on a temporary basis. There are many people out there with handicaps and not enough spaces is my thought on the issue. When I was pregnant with my three the doctor who btw delievered all of my kids told me walking is great exercise and helps a mom have an easier labor. I encourage any pregnant woman if medically able to walk as much and as often as possible.

  35. I did not meant to generalize all BF moms..I am new to the internet parenting forums as they did not exist with my older two. I see many posts using comfort nursing as one of the reasons they nurse say beyond the age of 2. I am Muslim( converted when I married my husband) and it is interesting the politics I see on BF oriented websites particularly milk sharing, milk banks and extended BF. As in my faith a child right is to be nursed until age 2 and those children who nursed at the breast of the same woman are considered milk siblings. Thus if no even if not biologically related a boy and girl would be forbidden to marry as it would be considered incest to do so. The BF relationship is that sacred. Milk banks and donor milk from strangers would be forbidden as the donor often is unknown because of the kinship of milk siblings. When I found out I was pregnant with my youngest one, of course I knew I was not going to nurse as I dont have any boobs lol.( I do try to keep a positive outlook on surviving breast cancer) Donor milk was suggested to me many times. Of course this would not be an option for me as I would have to know who it came from and could not accept milk from many different donors. If I had a close relative or friend who I knew was clean that would be a different story. There would be a kinship with them and my baby. But I chose formula because it is alot easier to deal with and I like to keep life simple. Plus it was nice to have my husband and myself feed the baby. I

  36. Real quick question. Do you give your kid a pacifier? Comfort nursing is pretty much the same thing. In fact, I know several women who breastfeed who do NOT comfort nurse because if they did, their child would do it all day long, so to save their sanity, their kids have pacifiers.

    And a lot of times if you don't give your kid a pacifier or bottle or breast to comfort suck, they'll find something else. Their hands, their thumb…. its a reflex that's all.

    Comfort nursing from a breast too, they're not 100% of the time actually getting milk from what I understand. So basically, its a giant fleshy pacifier.

  37. This reminded me a bit of the “Milkshake” book you reviewed not too long ago. 🙂

    I'm all for nursing in public. However, it seems the outraged stories I've heard lately have been from women that weren't discouraged from nursing (they weren't kicked out of an establishment), they were simply asked to move somewhere else. To the side of the pool, rather than in the pool; to a fitting room, rather than sitting in an aisle at Target. I'm pretty sure if you were sitting in an aisle at Target for any reason, you would be asked to move. If a bunch of teenagers decided to sit in the floor and chat or read magazines or whatever, they would probably be asked to leave the store.

    I also can't help but think that if Target had a designated nursing moms room, they would be highly praised for their support of breastfeeding. Though that room would probably look a lot like…a fitting room.

  38. Thanks Teri! I went and commented on it. I was very happy to see other mothers in our community immediately take the person who used the word “disgusting” to task. 🙂

  39. Hi Teri, sorry it has taken a little while to get back to you. Yes, we do have those articles planned, in fact I have an interview scheduled with an adoptive mother. I'm looking forward to the nurse-in furor dying down so I can get to it! We also did a very supportive blog post about Christina Applegate who was not able to breastfeed. http://www.bestforbabes.org/christina-applegate-baby-bonding-bliss-post-breast-cancer-2

    We agree that not all lactation consultants are the same, and have written about that booby trap. And, as a mother who used formula with my first child, I do fully support all moms and believe there are lots of reasons why breastfeeding may not be the best decision for a mom. Mothering is about SO much more than breastfeeding! We hope to be able to write more on these topics! We have made a start on this, and no it is not enough, but we have also been advocating for formula feeding moms at the breastfeeding community leadership meetings we speak at or attend, such as ILCA and the USBC. When we first started Best for Babes, we were appalled by how little information there was on alternative infant feeding methods in the breastfeeding community. That said, I hope you can focus on the positive we are doing and the progress we are making instead of expecting perfection overnight. We are a small organization and have done much to advocate for formula-feeding moms, even if there are still holes, we are working on it. Thanks again for the dialogue. I don't want to clog up this feed further, so please email me at Bettina at BestforBabes.org if you would like to continue the conversation.

  40. “I get a little irked when I see parking spaces reserved for pregnant women, as walking is good exercise during pregnancy.”

    Oh this makes my blood boil….maybe YOU had picture perfect pregnacies but that is NOT the case with many moms. When I was pregnant with my twins I would have killed for pregnant women spaces in my area….dragging a 1 and 2 year old while HUGEly(I measured full-term around 26 weeks…I carried them till 37+ weeks) preggo into a store is not easy and believe me exercise was not good for me…I had to use one of those electric carts from about 13 weeks on….was on weekly shots in the butt and oral meds to stay pregnant as long as I could. How Judgement can you be Bree.

  41. My eldest son took one for about a month. then just tossed it.. he was a thumb sucker for awhile.. until thank God my husband and I were able to break the habit. It is not good for orthodontic reasons to permit it for long. My middle daughter refused one from day one. She was the one I nursed (combo fed) and seemed more interested in putting her toes in her mouth for some odd reason. That didnt last beyond the walking stage. My youngest daughter now was like her brother.. took one for a few weeks.. then tossed it. She seems more interested in putting her toys her in mouth as babies.. do I dont think in her case its comfort as much as it is curiosity. All of my children were different. I see alot of parents with kids of all ages use food as a reward and a pacifier so to speak. Just not a good thing to do IMHO as it teaches bad eating habits. My concern of any parent who used breast or bottle for comfort is will that habit transcend when the child is older with food and cause possible obesity and other health issues?

  42. Teri has mentioned on here MANY times that the world is simply not baby friendly.

    We don't need nursing rooms, what' I would adore to see are what some malls have “family rooms”- basically a changing table, a chair to sit down in and nurse or bottle feed, because lets face it, sometimes kiddos are distractible as heck and no matter how you feed them a quiet place is necessary!!!!

  43. This is funny, I'm totally prude, I can't nurse in public. No one needs to see any portion of my boob and my son is really anti-cover. But a nurse in seems kinda silly to me. Maybe because when I went to my c-section recovery group we all met at target and most of the moms nursed without a problem…To me it sounds like more of a case of some employees trying to get her to move out of a busy area, or other costumers complaining and scaring some ill informed employees…. does that make sense? In the area I live in you are more likely to get shit for bottle feeding then breast feeding so maybe I'm just spoiled.

    Either way, we do need to support each other. We're all in the motherhood game together and bullying isn't accomplishing anything I love this post like chocolate and unicorns by the way. I just fail to see the point of a nurse in.

    BTW at my target 2 people showed up and sat down on the floor in the baby section. The employees brought them chairs from house wares. Hehe

  44. As a nursing mom who attended the nurse-in myself, may I say, AMEN!! I really think you hit the nail on the head. I know that those organizing stressed that this was not about ff vs. bf, but rather about a baby's right to eat and a mother's right to feed without someone giving them crap about it. Honestly, yeah, plenty of those involved argued about this. But I agree with you, if we start to care about each other's rights, we'll be helping mothers who make either choice, and hopefully reduce the stigma attached to both.

  45. I disagree that a nurse-in is appropriate here. It wasn't right for her to be harrassed, but if you are sitting on a floor, whether it is in the middle of the aisle or out of the way, and the store employee asks you to move, then you move. Store floors aren't for sitting on, they're for walking on and navigating through, and there could be liability issues with someone sitting on one. I realize the comments made, if they are accurately reported, were aimed at breastfeeding, but it is also clear that the mother claimed that breastfeeding gave her a right to sit there and thus made the issue about breastfeeding and not her location. Chances are it was about breastfeeding BECAUSE the mother made it about breastfeeding. This wouldn't happen with a formula feeding mom because a ff mom wouldn't claim that she had a legal right to sit on the floor and feed her baby.

  46. I do think this is an issue that people don't consider either for nursing moms or bottle feeding moms. I could see someone considering it to be indecent if you're nursing an older infant/toddler who will not be covered (again, it's no comparison to, say, the lingerie ads and tags on products I've seen in stores like Target). But bottle-fed kids get easily distracted too, so such a space would be very useful for all parents.

    That space should be dad-friendly too, I can't tell you how aggravating it is that my husband can't take our baby out by himself without risking having to change her in the car just because there are no changing tables in the men's restroom. It's not such a big deal around here in the spring and fall but our summers can be terribly hot and winters can be terribly cold. We live in a very low-crime area but if we're out someplace that's not as low-crime I don't like having to face inside the car, not able to look around behind me too much, with a door unlocked.

  47. I think there's a huge jump between “OMG formula company sabotage” and “stupid employee on a power trip.” Just because people are rude to nursing moms doesn't necessarily mean we live in a “bottle feeding culture” as I so frequently hear argued. It DOES mean we live in a culture that's not very respectful toward parents of young children, or pregnancy in general. I was told to move my pregnant rear and swollen ankles at a Walmart because I sat down in a corner for a minute to take my shoes off and rub my feet, I don't think the very young male employee who did it rather rudely realized just how pregnancy can make shopping miserable. I didn't complain to some…I dunno, pregnancy support association for a pregnant lady sit-down or something, though. I just glared at him and moved on. Maybe I should have done more, for the sake of the next pregnant lady to feel like her ankles are about to explode.

    The bit about the chairs makes me grin.

  48. I don't have a ton of time because I have out of town company for the holiday, but one quick thing I'd like to point out is that I'm not by any means the only one who has felt very unwelcome at Best for Babes because of the overwhelming bias toward “breast is best” that permeates the page.

    I'm not expecting perfection, but in the process of developing your content, there seems to have been very little attention paid toward the wording of that information when approached from the other perspective–that of the many, many women and babies for whom formula is best. Your discussions of booby traps could be mirrored with examples galore from your own site of how women who are not good candidates for breastfeeding for whatever reason are guilt-tripped, hit with veiled slaps, given subtle discouragement to formula feed even when it is the best option, and riddled with poor assumptions that if I were to go through the site page by page to eliminate these I think I'd have a full-time job for months doing so. Even information that is factually correct is worded in such a way that many lactivists online parrot that kind of wording as justification for their bullying (e.g. your use of “artificial baby milk” when “formula” would in all likelihood work well; the strong focus on donor milk when it is, in reality, a poor option for a lot of families for many reasons).

    I suspect there are many more in the FFF community who feel the same way. Your sentiments are heartening, but they are so contradictory of so much of your website that it's hard for me to reconcile the two, and that's even with allowing for leeway given the size of the org and perhaps early organization goals to support breastfeeding moms over everyone else.

    I don't mind emailing but quite frankly I think others would be interested in hearing about how Best for Babes might be trying to make itself more balanced and contribute to that discussion. It would be a means for you to reach people who have sworn off Best for Babes because of their prior negative experiences. It might help alleviate some of the ugliness of the mommy wars, which it sounds like is a common goal for us all. I know I for one would not consider this “clogging up the thread” but of course I'd defer to FFF on this one.

  49. I'm with Nktigger on this one, I get very irked when people promote one-size-fits-all medicine in ANY capacity, including pregnancy. Many pregnancies are low-risk with no complications and exercise is a good thing, but there are a LOT that aren't.

    Having had a family member who had to use a wheelchair for quite some time, it's amazing how hard people come down on these folks simply for having those parking spaces. Many times, the proximity of the space isn't really what people need, it's the space itself. Unless you've tried to pull a wheelchair out of a trunk in a normal parking space and then scoot it up to the seat so the person who uses it can slide into it (without making it unsafe for the person in the chair or hitting the next car!), you have no concept how important it is to have that extra space. Double if you're using rails to get a motorized scooter out of, say, a van. That's if you have people with you, there are plenty of folks in wheelchairs whose chairs come apart and they need space to manually assemble/disassemble them next to their car and toss the pieces into the back seat or passenger seat.

    Now consider pregnant women. First, you're quite possibly huge. Moreso if you have multiples. Second, you might have some health issue that is making the pregnancy very hard. Hyperemesis gravardium. Asthma that's exacerbated by pregnancy (happens to 1/3 of pregnant asthmatics). Blood pressure dropping or spiking. Pregnant type 1 diabetics. Pregnant women with auto-immune or nerve disease like lupus, RSD/CRPS, MS, etc. Many auto-immune diseases strike predominantly women of childbearing years. Proximity may help these women get in the store and out quickly so they have the spoons (see: butyoudontlooksick.com) for shopping in the first place. Third, you may have other children to pull out of car seats–while you're huge. Some parking spaces barely have enough room for my husband, who is pretty lanky, to get our daughter out of her car seat, much less a pregnant lady. And once the kid's out, you need room for the stroller, shopping cart, etc., otherwise if the child is mobile you might have a toddler get loose and start running into traffic.

    Again, this isn't an issue about the world being bottle-friendly or breastfeeding-friendly. It's about the world not being very baby- and parent-friendly. Considering the buying power parents of young children typically have, it boggles my mind that more businesses don't use their brains and think about these things. I know I would be far more willing to shop at stores that have spaces for pregnant women and families with small children. The convenience makes it worth my time. Not only would some of the changes necessary to make businesses more baby-friendly help families with small children, but it would also help people with both “visible” and “invisible” disabilities–another group with a surprising amount of buying power.

  50. Yeah, I'm leaning towards stupid employee. I've read so many variations on what happened at that target to form an opinion. Besides “Wow. Thats not good.”

    So maybe I shouldn't have responded. But I do like this post for the “all ladies together!”aspect which may have been lost in my response (attempting to type and hold my son's bottle with my chin, haha).

  51. I was wondering the same. My 8 month old gets really pissed off if I try to nurse him when he's not in the mood. As to “forcing” a child to nurse, I don't quite see how it would be technically possible. I know I couldn't even if I wanted to (but since you've breastfed yourself, perhaps you have something specific in mind?)

  52. Yep, me too, this seems to smack of “employees with poor customer service skills” stepping in it bigtime. I don't have a problem with people informing companies about how the stupid actions of some of their employees makes it so much harder for me to justify giving them my hard-earned cash in exchange for what they've got to sell. At the same time, I think what you said makes sense. I'm torn about the effectiveness of a nurse-in as a means of informing companies they're Doing It Wrong. Sometimes it's easy to dismiss an event like this as a publicity grab and fail to actually address the real issue. Perhaps a boycott would be more effective? A nurse-in lasts a day and doesn't cost them anything, but hitting them in the pocketbook may send a stronger message. I'd love for a lot of businesses to understand that they can help their bottom line by not making things stupidly difficult on parents of young children to shop there.

  53. Getting a handicap space is not always as easy as it sounds. And for as ill as I have been for the past 3 years, I still feel badly asking for one given the needs of those for wheelchairs and such. I think Teri spoke well of the one-size fits all approach that is pervasive is all aspects of pregnancy and parenting. Having a child, and having been sick, made me much more tolerant of others' situations. And the Expectant Mother parking makes a world of difference for me.

    As for the tantrums, I have a completely different philosophy, which is based on behavioralism. I don't believe in just leaving the store. Often I walk away from my child (while still being able to see them) because I believe it's important that they LEARN how to compose themselves and make appropriate choices. I know that there are plenty of people who do not like that my child is screaming in a store, but this speaks to the world as not being child-friendly. If we all had a little more compassion and believed in teaching strategies to our kids, perhaps we would find that we are a little less annoyed by children and parents in general.

  54. Store floors are also kinda…nasty. As an FFer just because I “can feed my kid on the floor without any gawking” (which I don't think is true because doing anything on the floor of a store other than standing on it is grounds for varying degrees of gawking) doesn't mean I should…or want to.

  55. We all get irked at something. Some say the world is not child friendly enough, others say it goes overboard to accommodate parents and kids. Pregnant parking for me has always been a pet peeve. sorry we all have those and people certainly have the right to disagree or be offended with me. Do I think businesses should be required by law to provide changing rooms or pregnant parking spaces.. no. Do I think if they want too they should… yes. To expect every establishment and ways of the world to be entirely child friendly is an unreasonable expectation. All we can do is adapt as best as we can and go on with life. I am not a person who is easily offended. Does Bf in public bother me.. no. Do I think discretion is best course of action yes. I believe that in all aspect of life.

  56. The issue of donor milk and Islamic law is one of the issues that I think many, many organizations are clueless about, and don't take into account. Islam is one of the largest religions in the world, and yet I see a lot of donor milk advocacy whether you're looking at Best for Babes, random breastfeeding forums, or whack-jobs like Dr. Darcia Narvaez.

    Donor milk is not an option for my family, period. WAY too many food allergies in the family, WAY too many people (including myself) anaphylactic to everything from tree nuts to bananas. Neither you nor I should feel like pariahs because donor milk was not best for us, yet it appears Bettina, herself, and quite recently, touted donor milk as the next best thing to mother's milk. No exceptions noted. http://www.bestforbabes.org/will-donor-milk-save-or-sink-breastfeeding In my case, as well as yours, formula was best. Period. I look forward to the time Best for Babes willingly puts that on their website–any prospect of that happening anytime soon, Bettina?

    Again, I have a very hard time reconciling your words here and the actual content of your website, which uses combinations of tactics from fearmongering, blowing things out of proportion, making women out to be perpetual victims, and most notably: one-size-fits-all medical advice disguised as advocacy.

  57. Terri I think so many BF advocacy groups are clueless about most cultural and religious practices. I had milk donation suggested to me more times than I care to count. Sadly many could not understand the sacredness of the BF relationship in Islam. I could not just accept milk from a milk bank without knowing who the donor was. not just they were clean. For all the rhetoric on how close BF brings a mom and baby, the unique bond it is supposed to create. Many suggest donor milk with a too cavalier attitude. I agree that BF is a sacred thing. that is why too suggest informal milk sharing is affront to that. I am not trying to impose my religious views on others.. just that if the breastmilk of another woman is needed it in my situation would have to be a relative or a trusted friend who understands that it would establish a familal connection. It would make it difficult not knowing that whether a young man my daughters marry could be unknowingly commit incest by marrying the son of a woman who may have donated her breastmilk. Two children who nurse at the same breasts cannot marry and are considered mahram to each other. The woman who nursed him is like a second mother. So rules such as the woman covering her hair would not apply to a man who is a milk sibling.. same as her own blood relatives. Its more than just the breastfeeding..its about establishing bonds and family ties. Also Islam says that a child has a right to be BF until the age of 2. So BF if the mother is able is considered a religious duty, but if it were cause her hardship a wetnurse or formula is acceptable. Maybe alot of people are comfortable nursing past the age of 2, but for myself.. but if Gods law says it is not needed after age 2 I am most comfortable with that. I dont personally know of any other religion that addresses the issue of BF in great detail. I would like groups like Best for Babes, LLL etc to consider looking at the Islamic Law on regards to BF.

  58. I'm just curious – if a pregnancy is so bad, could a doctor authorize a temporary handicapped parking pass? This has nothing to do with this debate, but they do it all the time for people with temporary injuries and what not. Why not for someone with a rough pregnancy? That way, those of us who had no issues can walk, and those who can't don't have to. Seems like an easy solution.

  59. Mel that is my point on the matter. although private property owners can offer them if need be for expectant mothers. But I would think a doctor could do it for a mother with a rough high risk pregnancy. I have heard of it being done. I have even seen VIP parking for those who drive fuel efficient cars. Pregnancy parking is not mandated as far as I know but I have heard that some are lobbying for it. I cannot say I support this as pregnancy barring complications is normal process of life. , not a disabling condition. Just sad here in the USA that pregnant women are treated as they have a sickness and pregnancy is to me managed. etc.. I believe in free choice in childbirth. I dont think home birth or hospital birth is better than the other. Just depends on each persons situation. If a woman has medical complications whilst pregnant I think the temporary pass would be available to her. But the whole pregnancy as disability mentality has got to go. I have no issue with reasonable accommodation for those with disabilities or protect people from being discriminated on basis of sex, race, religion etc. But It seems to me that all sorts of groups of people from nursing mom or whatever you may think of want “protected class” status. I am sorry this lady in Target felt like she was discriminated against.. but that was not the case. hazard and was asked to move. It wasnt about BF, she chose to make it about that.

  60. Teri, I thought of you while flying home after traveling for the holidays. The Charleston, SC airport has a “family room” that I figured you would love. It has a small bathroom in the corner (toilet and sink) that has its own door. But then the main room is quite large, has two good, sturdy changing tables — more like the checkup tables at the pediatrician's office, complete with paper roll, than the little fold-down ones in most public restrooms — a counter with a sink, and a rocking chair. There are also multiple electrical outlets. Perfect place for any kind of feeding, anyone to change a diaper or take their older child to use the potty, or just a quiet place to rock a fussy baby or settle a toddler tantrum.

  61. I don't understand the insistence online of using donor milk– because it's simply not safe. A recent study found that 3.3% of donor milk submitted to a volunteer milk bank tested positive for syphilis, HIV, Hepatitis B or C, or HTLV. Given that it is a volunteer milk bank (ie, these women are not getting paid), there is every reason to believe these women do not know they tested positive for these serious illnesses.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20231217

    Unless you're getting your milk from a bank that screens and pasteurizes, you have no way of knowing that the milk is safe. Why should you trust a woman you met at a donor milk exchange online or IRL? And even if you trust her, or know her, do you also completely trust her partner?

    The benefits of breastmilk over formula are simply not great enough to warrant accepting milk from a donor you do not implicitly trust completely–there is only one woman I know that I would trust with that, and she is not able to donate.

  62. I'm sorry but no, there is absolutely nothing on your site that is supportive of ff moms. Your post on guilt, which could have been a great statement of all mom bashing, was instead about how people should not care of the breast is best screes make women feel guilty, we should still do it. You express anger at your pediatrician for ” interfering with your breastfeeding journey” with evil formula. Even as a bf-ing mom, attitudes like this are off putting. Really – just be what you are: another bullying Lactivist site in a sea of other sites out there.

  63. I don't see you as pushing your religion, no worries there. What you say matches up with my research; I'm not Muslim myself but like to know about various issues that preclude me from giving a knee-jerk recommendation to anyone.

    Donor milk may be an option for some folks, even some Muslims, but only if they are comfortable with the implications. Some of those implications may be exposure to allergies, OTC or prescription drugs, and potentially disease in the case of unscreened milk. In the case of Islam, it means establishing a legal and familial relationship, which may be okay if someone is comfortable establishing that kind of relationship but it should by no means be forced.

  64. I was recently sitting on the floor in target texting and was asked to move. Oh the descrimination! If only I'd known target was attacking people left and right, I could have organized a text in!

    Meanwhile, I've BF in target, walmart, macys, various malls, numerous restaurants, in progressive areas, in rural areas, in places that don't so much as have changing tables in gas stations and never gotten a second glance unless it was the person coming over to praise me for being such a good mother. Not kidding. The closest thing to a 'dirty look' I've gotten is from kids doing double takes. So yeah, I don't buy this crap at all.

    and no, if target had designated nursing rooms they'd be screaming because they want to breastfeed on the floor. A number of malls have been the subject of 'nurse ins' because they were so kind as to provide sofas in a secluded area for women to nurse on and of course 'nursing shouldn't be hidden!'

  65. Reality Check? I have been told by a shop keeper that she would not provide assistance to me to warm my babies bottle as “I should be breastfeeding” which followed by a few remarks about 'breast is best' and something about not encouraging me to bottle feed – I didn't hear most of it as I was so embarrassed and gutted I paid and left. I have also been kicked out of a mother's room. Reality check? Where do we go to organize a bottle-in? Reality check? It happens – it is just not in the news. Reality check? As FFF said there is a big difference between being told that you shouldn't be breastfeeding in public (which IMO is ridiculous and I think the people who think that need a huge reality check) and being told that you are slowly poisoning your child, that if you are too lazy to breastfeed you should be a mother or any of the other things which have been said to me and many other formula feeders.
    Pain is not a contest and ANY sort of discrimination against a mother feeding her baby is horrible but the reality is that it is not something that only happens to breastfeeding mothers.

  66. I actually find Target's policy of offering a nursing mother a fitting room to be quite nice and respectful! “Lactivists” are always complaining that bathrooms are their only options and that they shouldn't have to feed their children in a filthy toilet stall, so I would think they'd be grateful to have a clean, private option with a bench in it. But I guess my logic doesn't apply since those people are usually just looking for a confrontation. Sigh.

  67. I think the fitting rooms are nice option, too. And smart thinking on the part of whoever came up with the idea. Moms who need/want a quiet/ private place to BF are accommodated. Target needn't put in special BFing areas. Problem solved. 🙂

  68. This is my fist visit to this site and I have enjoyed reading the information and stories here. My son was in the NICU for 3.5 months as he was born at 27 weeks gestation. I was one of the very few mommies who left the NICU breastfeeding. That being said I really feel that having a child is hard work no matter how you feed your baby..and I fully support a mother's choice to combo feed or formula feed. I felt so badly for women whose babies were in the nicu and who had to defend their decision not to breastfeed to health professionals. As if having a sick or too small baby isn't enough by itself..pressure to bf while you are worried about your hospitalized baby and recovering from a traumatic labor isn't enough.

  69. I guess I see it differently. Breastfeeding is normal. Whether a woman is “discreet” or not makes no difference. Whether a woman uses a cover or not, makes no difference. If your baby is crying, and you breastfeed, it should be as simple as putting your baby to your breast and nursing your baby. I am usually very discreet in public, but honestly, the last thing I want to worry about when my hungry baby is crying is whether or not someone was offended that they saw part of my breast or – gasp! – nipple. In my state (Texas) public breastfeeding is protected by law.

    If feeding your baby doesn't resolve the problem, then yes, it might be best to go home for the evening & try an outing some other time.

    To insinuate that this mother was trying to stir up trouble is part of the problem that many breastfeeders deal with: that we're somehow brazenly “in your face” feeding our babies.

    I have been very frustrated with the lack of support in public areas that don't provide something other than a bathroom or dressing room to nurse my baby. Ikea has a lovely “family room” with a comfortable chair for nursing mothers, and all the Toys R Us stores do also.

    Have you ever tried to nurse a baby in a fitting room, with your bottom on the edge of that tiny sitting thing? Perhaps turning one of the fitting rooms into a nursing room with a comfy chair would go a lot further than making a spectacle of a mother nursing her baby in the corner of a store. From what I understand, the employees drew more attention to her than she ever did by herself.

    I love how businesses have begun to snap to the fact that all restrooms (both men and women) need a changing station for babies. Some restrooms even have a little strap-in chair to place your baby while you go to the restroom. My hope is that business will eventually accommodate nursing mothers, rather than make them feel humiliated for doing something very natural.

  70. Also, in response to your following statement:

    “My confusion on the rights of women to breastfeed in public is when it comes to private property. Most states allow it with the wording of the place the mother is 'authorized to be”. I never thought that we had a right to be on anyones private property. If a manager or owner asked you to leave for whatever reason then that authorization is revoked.”

    When you open a business, you cannot discriminate. Period. Just because it may be considered private property, you are serving the public, and so discrimination laws apply. Breastfeeding is not so much about protecting a mother's right to breastfeed, but more so protects a baby's right to be fed. Discrimination arises when you allow one group of babies to be fed, but not another. You can't do that.

    As far as a political demonstration, yes, it is legal. If they do anything outside the legal limits, then of course law enforcement will be called. But geesh, this all reminds me of the methods used during the civil rights movement.

    Can't we all just feed our babies & no one make us feel shameful for it?? Can't we all just get along??

  71. Ugh, I'm glad to hear they're doing that in your area; in my area it's pretty common still to not have changing stations in men's restrooms. It seems like a stupid petty thing to drive me up a wall, but it does. I chafe at the message it sends, the fact that my husband is somewhat precluded from taking our daughter out by himself (or not trusted by society to do so!), and the fact that sometimes my back just hurts, and changing a squirming baby is something I sometimes need to delegate if I want to be able to hold her later.

  72. Too often, businesses effectively discriminate against people in wheelchairs, who use walkers or oxygen tanks, or who use some other kind of device like crutches or a knee scooter. They end up discriminating against people using strollers, often enough. I think this is part of the reason I am upset at the thought of people disallowing a baby to be fed in a business, however that baby is fed. And as much as I know breastfeeding moms sometimes get kicked out of stores, I would not be surprised if formula parents face this too, on the grounds that it's “outside food,” but it doesn't get picked up by the media because there are no advocacy groups willing to do a “feed in” or whatever you want to call it for bottle-feeding parents.

    At any rate, I see how dehumanizing it is for people with disabilities to be shut out of society despite the fact that they have the same human rights as everyone else. Babies do not deserve to be dehumanized, either.

  73. Hmm… I'm glad that businesses are working to be more child-friendly and people- with- disabilities friendly, too. That being said, I don't think it's reasonable to expect nursing/ family rooms. It's a lot to ask of a business, IMHO. If they decide to put in special rooms/ areas, great. I think a wheel chair ramp, handicap- accessible restrooms, a changing table in every restroom and a place to sit (like to feed a baby or rest if exhausted by a medical issue) would be a good baseline. But I understand even those things are not always feasible. Sure, it sounds simple. Put a ramp at the entrance. Install railings and a sink at a comfortable height and with nothing underneath it (so someone in a wheelchair can pull up and wash their hands), and make sure there's enough space to navigate a wheelchair in the restroom(s). Attach a fold-down changing table to the wall of the restroom(s– for both men's and women's rooms, if applicable). Put out a bench, couch and/or a couple of chairs somewhere in the store. Maybe change/ add a few signs and put a “breastfeeding welcome” sticker in the window. Easy, right? Not that expensive, right? Well, it depends. There are definitely businesses who could make the changes above without too much trouble. Unfortunately, there are lots of businesses for whom those things would be a hardship. Take a small convenience store, for instance. Space is at a premium. The existing restroom(s) might be so tiny that able-bodied people can barely turn around– not very handicapped- friendly. And if they put in a changing table, there may not be space to stand and change a baby! Expanding the restroom(s) would cost thousands, if not tens of thousands, of dollars. The owner doesn't necessarily have that kind of money, and might be forced to give up precious retail space (if the property is too small to “build out”). I also think expectant/ new mom parking spaces are a nice, but not always practical, measure. Every space designated for new/ expectant moms is a space the majority of customers can't use. If a business has plenty of parking, no biggie. But if there's a parking shortage, demanding/ requiring special mommy spaces could easily be a problem.

    I guess I'm more into encouraging businesses to accommodate customers with disabilities and families with little ones than a long list of requirements. I would advise any business owner to think about what they might do to make life easier for their customers– to make an effort. I would urge them to make the handicapped/ child accommodations discussed above (ramp, handicapped restroom[s], changing table[s] for men and women and a place to sit) when at all possible. Employee training addressing these concerns would be good, too. Tell workers about whatever accommodations and policies the business has. Let employees know that parents are welcome to feed their babies (whether from breast or bottle) on the premises; no criticism, harassment, dirty looks, etc. Assist customers in loading purchases in their cars, if need be. If all the handicapped spaces are full, allow handicapped people to double park near the entrance. Generally teach employees to be helpful. I would encourage businesses to consider whether things like new/expectant parent parking, nursing/ feeding/family rooms, unisex/family restrooms, etc. might be right for them. A little goodwill goes a long way.

  74. Um…wow! You really thought this out. I completely agree with you that a little goodwill goes a long way.

    I hope that you were not thinking that I was suggesting that every business include a family room to accommodate nursing mothers, because I wasn't. A convenient store renovating a bathroom would be silly. Customers are usually in & out in minutes.

    I guess I was just suggesting that instead of using the energy to shame mothers and – in worst case scenarios – money to defend themselves in lawsuits, that they simply can make minor renovations (such as adding a comfy chair in a dressing room) to make nursing mothers more comfortable.

    And, really, I meant establishments where a patron would be visiting for an hour or so and that the likelihood of a hungry baby would be inevitable. Large chains like Target should be able to do with relatively low overhead costs.

  75. Yeah, I get wordy sometimes, lol 🙂 I'm glad you didn't mean that there should be nursing/ family areas everywhere– not because I don't feel for families with LOs, but because of what it would mean for businesses.

    I haven't commented on the Target incident itself, as I'm not sure exactly what happened. I guess I think Target's facilities and official policy are BFing/ child friendly enough. But their employees could have handled the situation better. Perhaps they need to work on their training. Don't get me wrong; I feel that nursing/ family rooms/ areas are great and a wonderful measure of goodwill. But they're more for bonus points than basic accommodations, IMHO. Target has large stores and lots of little visitors. So I think nursing/ family rooms would be something for them to consider. I would equally understand if they decided the space, money and/or effort was too much.

    I was also partly addressing Teri's comments about changing tables in the men's rooms and handicapped accessible businesses. Unless the size/ layout of the men's room isn't conducive to it, I'm all for a changing table. Maybe when you went out, you could mention that changing table in the men's room would be helpful when they asked you how everything was. Or thank them for thinking of dads, if they have one 🙂 I support handicapped-accessible measures, too. I can't imagine how much it must suck to not be able to go into certain stores and/or go to the bathroom everywhere. But small and/or old buildings can't always accommodate the differently-abed. 🙁

  76. Yes, Teri…I live in Austin, Texas – which is one of the central areas for Father's Rights activism. As a result, many of the Texas public restrooms for men have changing stations.

    I understand how offensive it must feel to see a changing station in just the female restroom. Or how frustrating it must be for a single dad (or simply a dad out with his child) to have to change his baby's diaper and not have a changing station available.

    I like the previous comment to simply make this suggestion to management. Unless you are in this specific situation, many people may not be aware of the problem unless a need is specified. If management hears it enough, changes may be made. Unfortunately, you baby might be potty trained by then.

    But hey, you may make the life of a future daddy better! :o)

  77. Question: why not just boycott target? I'm not hating, rather this is constructive criticism to the nurse in. If the bf mamas (ringleaders of this protest) really wanted to make an impact, why wouldn't they just call for boycott? Hit target where it hurts. Instead, they contacted all the media outlets to announce their nurse in. Let us not forget, any publicity is good publicity. It only brought more attention to a major corporation. And many of these mamas probably finished feeding their children and walked into the store and spent money too. Congratulations, you just brought sand to the beach. Smh… And for the record as a mama who breastfed I DO support breastfeeding.

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