Nurse-ins are the ultimate protests for breastfeeding rights...a phenomenon that could be avoided. A nurse-in happens usually as a response to a situation where a breastfeeding mom experienced some kind of mistreatment at the hands of a company or a location. Typically the mistreatment is asking her to go somewhere private to breastfeed. As a result,moms band together to out the business by holding a nurse-in.
Why do we see this type of protest so frequently?
This happens because of the lack of awareness about public laws regarding breastfeeding. All but 2 states, Idaho and West Virginia, have laws that support moms breastfeeding in public. Breastfeeding professionals and activists are well aware of the laws, but somehow lay people never got the message. Another reason for the lack of awareness is because the laws are basically empty. I say empty because these are laws that exist, but if someone breaks said law nothing happens. Breastfeeders everywhere decided to take action via viral social media outings of offenders and organizing nurse-ins.
How do you prevent negative momedia?
It is simple: educate your employees! Have a written policy in place for all employees to sign. Support moms, all moms to feed bottle or breast in your establishment. Do not ask moms to cover up or leave. My favorite sign I’ve seen says: "Feel free to breastfeed your child anywhere but if you would like a more private place just ask." The reason it’s a good idea to notify moms of a more private place is because not all moms have the same comfort level breastfeeding in public. Also older babies are easily distracted which can make nursing sessions longer and for some less comfortable to do so in public. Along with knowing and educating staff about the rights of breastfeeding moms, also if your facility has the means why not have a place or offer help to moms that bottle feed. I was at a McDonald's a few years back and a mom was trying to warm a bottle for her baby. The employees told her they could not give her a cup of hot water because it was a liability issue but she could use a cup of hot coffee. HMMMM... what is the difference between the two hot beverages??
Why is it important to not upset Moms and families?
They spend lots of money. Insert some spending fact about moms. They are loyal, if you treat them right they will keep coming back. They are vocal momma bears that will make you rue the day that you crossed them! Here is the thing: as moms we are biologically hard-wired to meet our child's needs. When breastfeeding we will let down and leak milk just at the sound of a baby or sometimes even our pump. Feeding our babies is one of the most important needs we respond to. When we cant respond to our baby’s needs we feel intense stress and urgency until the need is met. Allowing moms to meet the needs of their babies is allowing them to be happy and relaxed in your establishment. Refusing this causes overwhelming stress.
This even effects customers like me who are no longer breastfeeding. I already like drinking Starbucks coffee. As I scroll through my news feed on Facebook and see Starbucks is training all of their employees in the UK on how to deal with breastfeeding moms, see they just made me even more loyal to them. Places where they don’t educate their employees and I hear of issues of moms getting their rights respected guess what? I might even boycott them. I'd be more likely to loose all connection to a place or a brand if after an incident their company does not adequately rectify their mistake.
Who thinks a partial breast being seen is worse than a pissed off mom and a screaming baby?
Yes, other customers may not feel comfortable. What boggles my mind is that you can easily avert your eyes and not see a mom feed their baby. But can you shut off your ears? I know eating my dinner with my fingers in my ears would be quite challenging. Eating dinner and not looking at someone across the room sounds easy peasy to me.
Why is it important culturally for women to breastfeed in public?
Family values, if you want strong families than you give rights to women to be able to take care of their children. This is how we learn. We can't say I support breastfeeding, but I don’t want to see it. Then you don’t in fact support breastfeeding. Do you know why I have a business? Because women don’t see other women breastfeeding everywhere all the time. If women saw how to breastfeed as much as we see women bottle feed than I would have a significantly smaller clientele as a lactation consultant.
Did you know having a mom put off breastfeeding can cause mom physical harm?
Some women are very prone to issues like plugged ducts and mastitis. Stagnate milk, delaying feedings, is the primary cause of this. So a woman who you asked to go some where private having to take time to go some where allowing more time to pass before emptying her breast could possibly have her more at risk for pain and or infection from plugged ducts or mastitis.
This is not a mommy war thing. This isn’t an Us vs Them thing. It is a human and baby rights issue.
So don’t piss off moms! They will go all mama bear on your business and it will result in a nurse-in.
Instead, hire me to write up your policy I would be happy to help.