4/05/2012

There's a chair in the restroom, just for you....

Lately, the news in Seattle has been bustling with the story of a group of mothers that are trying to pass a city ordinance to support breast-feeding in public. They are wanting it to be legally proclaimed a civil right. Since I am about to have a baby any day now, and fully plan of breast-feeding in public, I've been listening.

It is interesting to me that there is already a Washington State Law in support of breastfeeding. It essentially says that a mother has the right to breast-feed anywhere she has a right to have her baby (so- no bars) without covering up or excusing herself to the bathroom. Apparently this law is not very enforced due to budget cuts and staffing issues, so this group of moms have taken it to the city level.

Personally, I have never had a negative experience nursing in public, but since I am about to enter the nursing world again, I am very interested in this movement that would support mothers doing what is best for their babies. Which is why it infuriated me, when the news interviewed John Schmidt, co-owner of the Neighborhood Grill and he said 'that women sometimes breast feed in his restaurant and he's fine with it. But what if it bothers his other patrons? Would he want a city law to protect it?'

He actually said, "I support a women's right to breast feed her child," says Schmidt. "I have a problem with the city legislating how I run my business. We want to make a decision for my entire client base, not just one category."


When he said this, my sidekick and I just about blew our tops! I could care less that the fact that my public breastfeeding could make someone else uncomfortable. Should we ask every couple in love to not hold hands or kiss in public? Every parent with a busy toddler to never eat out? Or every every disabled person, who is missing an arm, a leg or an eye, to stay out of public eye?

My right to feed my child the most nourishing, stabilizing nutrition I can, is indeed my civil right, no different than my right to feed my toddler healthy grains, fruits and vegetables. The fact that it is made from my own body is completely irrelevant, but a definite plus for me. I know exactly what it is made of. And forcing me to nurse my child under a blanket is akin to forcing you to eat your dinner under a heat lamp.

So, John Schmidt, and every other business owner who thinks that their close minded patrons come before the health of my baby, I have the perfect solution for you. You should provide chairs in the restrooms. That way, when one of your patrons is "uncomfortable" by a mother breastfeeding, the "uncomfortable patron" can take their dinner and eat it there.

I look forward to eating at the Seattle Neighborhood Grill with my nursing baby, and I dare you to ask me to leave or cover up.




Whaddya think?

ADDENDUM:
Due to some of the comments and emails I have received, I feel I should make a clarification. I do not believe that women should be able to nurse anywhere at anytime.

I think I should have a legal right to feed my child, uncovered, anywhere it is appropriate to have my child and anywhere similar activities (eating) are appropriate.


For example, if my child is not welcome (adult only restaurant, a bar, etc) I don't have the right to have my CHILD there, and therefore should not be nursing. In settings where eating or similar acts are not appropriate (some religious meetings, etc) it is not appropriate to nurse my child because EATING is not appropriate (in the same way it would be inappropriate for a grown man to eat a ham sandwich). Also, in religions where it is inappropriate for women to even show their face, or some similar belief that would make public nursing inappropriate, they should be allowed to claim a religious exemption in their house of worship.

I shouldn't ever have to leave or cover up just because some men/boys think my breasts are a sex object and are uncomfortable by my child nursing if I have a right to have my child there and other similar activities are appropriate.




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10 comments:

  1. At first when you said they should provide chairs, I thought you were going to say so moms can go in there to breastfeed!! I love this, and definitely do the same. I breastfed openly in the Cannon Center on BYU campus last night. Lots of pre-missionary freshman boys did a double-take. Whatevs, they might see it if they go to South America on their missions, might as well get them used to it!

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  3. I agree that it isn't feasible nor convenient to not go into public when an infant needs to eat. I do however believe while nursing mothers want respect, so do others who don't care to see someone openly nurse without a blanket or something for privacy. It works both ways. It isn't a movement to riot about, just realize it is a matter of respect for both the doer and the public around. Being close-minded is thinking you should do what you want, where you want, how you want and expect everyone else who is ever present to just deal. It works both ways, give a little respect for the feelings of those dining or around you by using a blanket and not go out of your way to make it a selfish want. Want consideration? Give some.

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  4. I don't think it is inconsiderate to nurse without a cover in public. Often times, it is MORE noticeable and draws more attention to have a cover up. Plus, it is HOT under those cover ups and I consider it more inconsiderate to my child to nurse in a sauna. We wouldn't ask someone who had no hands and therefore had to eat with their feet to cover up because we were uncomfortable watching them eat, so why should my child (and I) be forced to sweat while eating because some people view breasts as a sex symbol and not as the form of healthy sustenance that God provided them to be. The problem there would lie in our over-sexualized society. The whole "riot" is to help change the public opinion of stigma surrounding public breast-feeding. It is an act of love and nourishment, not a sexual act, and shouldn't be viewed as such. My child has a right to eat and I have a right to remain with my party without sweating through a feeding.

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  5. :) I love that you tackled this... and that you had someone actually try to disagree a little. It is always interesting to hear how people combat the opposite side and I think you did a great job defending what you believe. I say- go breast feeding mommies! :) My baby has a heat rash from being covered up and it makes me sad.

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  6. I was only lucky enough to be able to nurse one of my 5 children, but I did nurse in public. I DO think that nursing mothers should do their best to cover up. Just because you have the right to bear your breast to feed your infant doesn't mean everyone should be forced to see it if they happen to glance your way. They have great nursing tops that discreetly hide the breast while not forcing the baby under a heavy blanket.....And Shay, it is not a matter of it being a sex thing, but it sure does fall under being a modest thing. We don't walk around with our boobs hanging out when we aren't nursing. At least I hope not!

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  7. Unfortunately for what you are saying, we live in a world where we may be viewed as sex objects, but I have always been taught to be modest, and that our bodies are temples, so I'm not sharing with the world. ;)

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  8. Why is there the assumption that if I don't use a cover up, I'm going to flash the world. I can nurse, without a cover up, and be very discreet and modest. I don't think that nursing is an excuse to model for a public playboy ad, but I don't think most women nursing in public without a cover up are generally flashy. Most women I know, WANT to be discreet. It's HOT under that blanket. Why should my baby eat in a sauna? I don't want to flash my breasts, just feed my child, without roasting her, and it seems as if the assumption is, if I don't cover up, I'm trying to be flashy.

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  9. I'm with you and cannot understand how or why people have such issue with breast feeding in public.

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  10. I am all for breastfeeding whenever and wherever you want/need to...but I have to agree with John Schmidt...there should not need be a law dictating how business should be done. If there is a problem that arises then John should take care of it at his business, or he should hang a sign saying it is allowed in the building. Overabundance of laws is what is giving our cuntry issues right now, and people just need to use some common sense to take care of some problems.

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