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Tag Archives: nursing in public

Red Lobster on Wade Hampton Rd in Greenville

What a friendly place!

Not only do they serve great food but they also provide a complimentary cloth napkin to put over your baby’s head!

Yes, it is true.  Free cloth napkins so that no one else in the restaurant has to see a baby eating his meal. 

This week, at our friendly Red Lobster, my dear friend nursed her fretful baby.  After she finished, the General Manager popped over and placed a cloth napkin on my friend’s table.  Ms. Helpful Manager patted it and said quietly, “In case you want to nurse again.”  And then fled to the kitchen. 

It seems Mr. and Mrs. Old Grumpypants a few tables away didn’t appreciate seeing a baby nurse and complained.  Rather than offering them a different table, Ms. Helpful Manager chose to embarrass a mother. 

I have some thoughts.  (Surprised?)

1)  Don’t mess with mothers of babies.  Period.  It is the most difficult role on the planet and should be treated with respect.

2)  It really doesn’t matter what you THINK about nursing in public.  Nursing in public is protected by SC LAW.  I don’t really like that my neighbor shoots guns in his backyard but he is protected by law.  Nothing I can do about it.  You don’t like it?  Don’t look.

3)  Again…many babies won’t nurse under cover.  And (see #2) they don’t have to. 

4)  The World Health Organization, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and others recommend that babies be fed “on demand.”  That means that the baby knows when he’s hungry better than we do.  So let the baby eat when he chooses–regardless of convenience or audience.

Please remember:  breastfeeding would not be such a big deal if it was a normal part of our daily interactions.  The more mamas who nurse in public, the less likely that my daughters will be made to feel ashamed one day when they nurse my grandchildren. 

If you work in a business:  leave the mamas alone. 

If you’re uncomfortable around a nursing mama:  see my post on nursing etiquette

Kudos to you, Red Lobster.  I give you the BPA-laden, plastic bottle of formula award.

Sigh

It happened again.

Woman escorted from Target for nursing her 4-week old.

The police were even called.  How shameful.  When will it end?

Men and Nursing in Public

No, I’m not talking about men nursing in public (although that might be an interesting post).  This post is about how men should behave around nursing mamas.

Before we had kids, my husband and I worked at a camp and retreat center in NY.  A few times a year, we hosted staff trainings for a group called Intervarsity.  Always, the Intervarsity staff brought babies.  Lots of babies.  And we joked that my husband was jinxed at accidentally walking into a room of nursing mamas.  He wasn’t anti-breastfeeding by any stretch.  We simply hadn’t run much with the “couples with babies” crowd.  He wasn’t sure of the etiquette.  Frankly, neither was I.   

Fast-forward.  My husband can hang with the lactators now.  Many times, he has been in a room full of nursing women.  And he is the man you want in the restaurant if someone criticizes a nursing woman or heaven forbid–asks her to leave.  He would become the public spectacle of righteous indignation.  Recently he even schooled a buddy who complained about women who avoided the “nursing mom’s room” (usually just gross bathrooms with chairs in the corner) and nursed in public instead.  

In this process, however, he has asked the big question:  Where should I look? 

I think most men are fine with women nursing in public but they don’t want to appear to be a pervert by getting too close or accidentally “looking.”  They feel trapped by the whole scene.   

I certainly can’t speak for all women but here is my preference. 

I feel awkward if the man looks everywhere but at me or if he turns away while trying to carry on a conversation with me.  Friend, you don’t have to put me at ease.  I’m already at ease.  If I wasn’t, I would have excused myself to go nurse elsewhere or I would have pulled out a hooter-hider (yes they did name it that). 

I would prefer the guy make eye contact or (gasp) look.  I’m just feeding a baby.  Don’t pretend it isn’t happening.  Ask me how breastfeeding is going.  Or continue with whatever conversation we were having.  If you’re a stranger passing by, make eye contact, smile and move on.  Don’t be such a boob about the whole thing.  It is really quite simple.   

I probably only have 4 men who read my blog so I’m likely preaching to the choir.  Maybe some poor guy will google “men and nursing in public” and find some reassurance here.  To that poor guy–bravo! 

To the breastfeeding mamas reading, what are your thoughts?

Again.

This time in my state.

A nursing mom was told to go to the bathroom or cover up at Westgate Mall.  Read the story.  What the news didn’t mention was that the security guard called the police who actually made the grandmother go to the car to get the mom’s driver’s license so they could file a report!!  Did the police not even understand the law?  The mom was carrying the DHEC card explaining her legal right to nurse in public but the guard refused to look at it.  What an odd world in which we live–moms carrying cards identifying their right to feed their babies. 

I love how the newspaper article ends by saying the mall offers family rooms for nursing.  Who cares?  The mom can nurse wherever she pleases.  And, as usual, the newspaper is hosting a web poll asking if you are offended by a nursing mom.  Again, who cares?  It doesn’t matter who is offended.  She is protected by the law. 

ETA:  Please take a moment and email the manager of Westgate Mall.  The mom says that he told her she was “overreacting” and that the security guard was just trying to help.    Ron_Thomas@cblproperties.com