Over the weekend a group of moms held a “nurse-in” at a restaurant outside Portland. An employee there had recently asked a nursing mom to cover up, despite it being completely within her rights (not to mention the baby’s) to breastfeed basically anywhere in public.
In response, dozens of moms showed up to, you know, provide their children vital sustenance (gasp).
I love how these mothers, many of whom didn’t even know the original woman who was asked to put her boob away, used the frustrating moment as a way to raise awareness and rally support. It is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month, after all!
I was in Eugene over the weekend, but I did end up breastfeeding at a different restaurant—not as part of the protest but because Peeper was hungry.
I don’t use a cover-up (or, as one company that thought it was a good marketing strategy to compare lactating women with cows calls them, Udder Covers). Even if I wanted to, Peeper would never stand it. And really, breastfeeding shows a lot less boob than, say, wearing a bikini.
I’ve become so accustomed to nursing Peeper whenever she needs it (which isn’t actually that often anymore) that I don’t even think, “Man, I hope no one gives me a weird look.” And thankfully, most—almost all—people in restaurants, cafes, parks and other public places are cool with it. They eat their meal; Peeper eats hers. No biggie.
I’m grateful that I live in a place where this, not the moment that inspired the nurse-in, is the norm.
But I realize that crunchy, breastfeeding-friendly Portland isn’t the rule. Many women out there are shunned to the bathroom stall, where they perch on a public toilet and try to get a squirmy newborn to latch.
The more people see breastfeeding mamas, the less they’ll be shocked and outraged and skeeved out by what is a completely normal and usually necessary process of feeding a baby.
So high fives all around to the moms out there who put their kids’ needs over the prudish comfort of a stranger. High fives to the local mamas who supported a fellow mother who was singled out in public. And high fives to everyone who doesn’t look askance at a woman who is feeding her child at the next table over.