Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Reminder: Public Breastfeeding is Legally Protected

At daycare yesterday, they asked me to use a more "private area" in the infant's nursery room because of "all the people" walking in and out. She said later that it was not to "offend" anyone or since the "men" (dads) are there to pick up their children, that I should nurse Ava in a different area. And when the Mother's Room is complete, I need to breastfeed her in that room and not in the nursery. She told me it that she was concerned about the "thoughts" that the men would have to see my feeding my baby. She went on to talk about premarital sex being against Christianity. How do you go from a mother breastfeeding her baby to talking about premarital sex in the next thought? It's because she needs an education about breastfeeding because it's NOT sexual.

Not only is it out of line, but there are laws protecting my rights as a nursing mother. The US culture has become a formula/bottle-feeding culture since the 60's and we've failed to see that babies are BORN to breastfeed, not drink processed milk from cows. Babies taking the milk directly from the breast is ideal, especially for a mom and baby that are separated to ensure her milk supply. Moms, especially working moms work so hard to establish breastfeeding so supporting their relationships, especially at a daycare, would make the most, practical sense!

Check out this quote from the Indiana Dept of Health web page about Breastfeeding:
Not withstanding any other law, a woman may breastfeed her child anywhere the woman has a right to be. Source: Indiana Code 16-35-6-1 Chapter 6, Sec. 7

Notice it does not mention any qualifier such as the amount in which her body should be covered. That's it. Women are legally allowed to breastfeed ANYWHERE.

I'm discreet when I'm nursing Ava (check out the picture above). I'm completely comfortable when she's not distracted, then I use a more private area. It's the mother's choice whether to cover her body during breastfeeding or do so in a private.

I'm speaking with the Director to resolve this situation tonight. I plan to recommend that the staff gets a workshop on Human Lactation (thank you, Jill for the suggestion) in order to educate them on the topic and make them more comfortable. I'm going to work it out there because I see a lot of potential for Ava thriving there. She really likes the caregivers and the babies.

Pregnant women and moms are told to breastfeed their babies until at least the first year of life by healthcare organizations (World Health Organization, American Academy of Pediatrics, etc), but then the public outcries or is even offended when a mother does it public. Do you see the breakdown as I do?


  1. I am in complete agreement. I was fortunate to never have been confronted (except by a family member who was told that the matter was between me and my infant.) My children were born in the 70's, and I just nursed them. I never thought about it.

  2. FUNNY how no one ever asks a Hollywood star with a low cut dress or top to go hide away in another room or cover up. On the contrary, they take photos and distribute via internet, magazines, etc. What a weird little culture we live in... breasts have been feeding babies for thousands of years!

  3. It's so true, Teresa. I don't understand when I use my breasts for what nature had intended it might "offend" people, especially in a daycare. But then Lady Gaga who shows tons of skin has 5M Twitter followers!

    As an update, I talked to the Director and this worker took it upon herself to ask me to breastfeed in private. She told me to ignore her and apologized for the trouble! Can you believe that? She made it sound like it was a policy? Lots of moms would have just backed down. Not cool...

  4. Glad you spoke with the Director. I sure hope she lets this staff member know that she shouldn't make any comments like that to anyone in the future.

    I didn't know all that stuff about sex and Christianity. I fail to see how the biological norm for infant feeding has to do with either topic. Very strange.

  5. I still am baffled about how people make that jump from breastfeeding to sex but all of the indecency in every other area of life is apparently ok.

    I breastfed whenever and wherever my kids needed it. Both of my kids hated to be covered by a "tent" blanket etc, but we just nursed discreetly wherever. I'm lucky that no one ever confronted me too, but I'm glad you stood up for your rights!