Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Nurse-In at Denny's, my prospective...

Here is the short version of what I understand to have happened after reading and hearing MULTIPLE accounts:

A mom was "forced" to leave a local Asheville Denny's this week b/c of nursing in public. Observers say she was completely exposed, and at points was exposed and not nursing. She was politely asked to be more discreet b/c there were other patrons leaving and uncomfortable. She threw a FIT and would not stop screaming, and was asked to leave b/c of the screaming, not because of the breastfeeding... the police came. Denny's supposedly chose not to press charges on her for the disruption she caused.
I nursed my middle DS when he was 18-20months old, at that particular Denny's, with my parents, while very pregnant and never got a second glance... and we all know how hard it is to be discreet while you are that big and with a toddler...

I don't think that women should have to cover up, or even be forced to nurse a certain way while in public. A little flashing is inevitable. I have been places where I have had to pull my top down rather than up and have been more exposed than I liked... I'm rather large breasted, and that makes not exposing myself harder... but I manage to nurse and not expose the world to my droopy breasts ;) They just get the luxury of seeing my mama-belly rolls.

Having said that, we need to think about how we look to others who are not used to moms nursing in public, and how we can encourage others to feel comfortable around it, and to feel comfortable enough to do it themselves.

I too have been embarrassed by the lack of humility some women have while nursing (the mom in question is actually one of them). It is not necessary to expose your entire breast to a restaurant full of people while nursing, by being more discreet, you receive more favorable responses and teach young women and others that it is ok and easy to do. I also don't see the point in walking through a store with your breast hanging out of your shirt completely exposed withOUT a child attached to it. I have seen this mom in local stores with her entire breast out. There are times that a child is not even attached to it. She herself says that she "bare breast" feeds in an attempt to "make others see it is normal". But by doing this, she is defeating her own goal.

I almost feel like this is all a reason to start a fight and that a scene was caused just to make a scene. Sensationalism is not they way to educate. My opinion is that this mom is wanting the attention and drama, and does each time she exposes herself the way she does.

I support a nurse-in for the fact that people need to be educated on the subject. Things didn't go smoothly on either side. However, I feel that we need to be mindful of those around us while we do this. By exposing ourselves unabashedly to prove a point, we are making it about us, and not the baby eating.

Again, please remember it is NOT about our right to breastfeed, but about the baby's right to eat. There is a difference.

People keep talking about other cultures where it is acceptable... we aren't in other cultures, and while I wish we could all walk around topless, we just can't here in the US. If we expect people/our culture/etc to be respectful of us, we need to at the very LEAST be respectful of them as well. Not to mention, most of Europe does not support complete exposure either...

The way to teach others is NOT through embarrassment or disrespect.

I personally am getting a feeling that she is searching for the sensationalism. There have been some reports from bystanders that her "account" isn't exactly factual. Right or wrong, did you know that Denny's chose not to press charges on her for the disruption?

I have been to nurse-ins, I support moms breastfeeding anywhere. I nurse in church, and I never use a cover. I feel that she was disrespectful. She was just asked to be more discreet, and wasn't respectful enough of others to do so.

While NC law is currently in our favor, incidents like this, and IMO this particular nurse-in, can change that, and the law can be repealed or changed to make it harder.

We need to think of the overall goal, respectfully encouraging breastfeeding in our culture.

(Please remember I am pro-breastfeeding and do it anywhere and everywhere my little ones needs or wants it, for as long as they want it.)


Anonymous said...

I am also a breastfeeding mother. I too fell that the movement could be set back if the wrong intentions are behind it.

Anonymous said...

Very valuable piece

Anonymous said...

The ideal answer

Anonymous said...

Whether there are analogues?