Ex-Marine Father steps up for breastfeeding stranger during harassment incident on military base, bully apologizes!

The news is often flooded with stories of women being treated poorly. That’s why it’s so wonderful when we hear of strangers standing up for women in their community. One such story is of a father, a former marine working as a civilian on a military base, standing up for a breastfeeding mother and child that a fellow employee was telling to cover up.

Ashley Degen shared the story this earlier this week on Facebook:

What a positive end to a NIP harassment incident!

I have heard of countless women and children being called out and told to cover up or leave on military bases. I’m so happy that this father, Ashley’s husband, stood up for this woman. I am sure this breastfeeding stranger appreciated it and Ashley said she is “very proud of her husband.”

It is up to each one of us to stand up for someone that is being bullied. Breastfeeding, covered or not, is legal in all 50 states. Stories of businesses and people supporting breastfeeding have started to trickle in. Keep them coming!

Have you breastfed on a military base? How did it go? Do you have a positive breastfeeding in public story you would like to share?

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Sears security officer posted security photos of mothers breastfeeding on Twitter, account disappeared

Sears, Roebuck & Company, an American multinational department store chain headquartered in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, has come under fire for poor employee training. Apparently, their internal Loss Prevention agents need to be trained to NOT share photos of customers on social media.

What happened?

A Sears employee has tweeted images from their security footage of mother’s breastfeeding over the last month without notice. Until today. These are two of the tweets, one of a mother breastfeeding in her Ergo carrier and other sitting and breastfeeding, with his words [note - the black circles were added by me because these photos were probably not shared with the permission of their mother, not because breastfeeding should be censored]:

[Sears employee Twitter post from 7.19.2014 & 6.6.2014. Screen shots by Whittney ‏@whittt72]

I thought for a moment, “Good for these women, breastfeeding in public, meeting their children’s needs while they’re out and about.” Then I thought about what I was really seeing, the images with the tweets. Maybe this person is being supportive of breastfeeding. Wouldn’t it be nice to give him the benefit of the doubt? His milk and donuts crack? Yea, that sounds like it could be funny, like the breast milk and Oreo’s breastfeeding ad leak. Until I saw the crying emoticon at the end of his tweet from July 19th and realized he was being sarcastic.

Regardless of being supportive or not, as you can see from the photos, it looks like this person has access to security footage and is probably sharing these photos without permission. How did that happen? According to this person’s twitter account that has now been taken down, he’s part of the security team at Sears: ”Catching thieves day by day at a sears near you.”

My thoughts

This isn’t the first time some jerk thought they were being funny by sharing photos of a breastfeeding moms on Twitter or trashing talking them on national TV or on the radio. It has happened a more than few times in the last couple years. Remember the blowback after Kim Kardashian, Sarah PalinKasey Kahne, Windy City LIVE Chicago morning show, Wendy Williams, Luenell, & Andrea CanningDavid Kochie, and Miami Marlins’ Logan Morrison trash talked breastfeeding? And non-celebs do it all day long on Twitter as well, they just aren’t high profile so we don’t hear about it. The public is starting to show a really short fuse for bullying though, especially mothers and children. All for what? Eating? It’s ridiculous.

This new guy, I’m not going to post his name because he might be just under 18 as he calls himself a senior at high school on his Twitter account, messed up and took it to another level by accessing these images from his paid position in the company. We all know kids do stupid things, right? I know I did. But did I use my position at any of the companies I worked for to capture images of people and shame them on social media? No. Apparently that little alarm that should have gone off in his head telling him that wouldn’t be wise didn’t go off. He clearly realized his mistake after people started calling him out on his actions and his account has since been taken down.

Do I think this guy needs to be fired? Would it help him learn from his mistake or just let Sears make him the scapegoat for their lack of privacy and breastfeeding handling training? Maybe he should be put on probation or moved to another department, perhaps working in the maternity/baby/breastfeeding section would help him realize why what he did was wrong. He certainly needs a serious talk from management, training on the laws and how to handle breastfeeding families, and a scolding from the women in his own family.

Unless, of course, he actually has a mental illness or has unhealthy fetish issues. Then he should be removed from his position and should seek counseling. One of the tweets shows a fully exposed nipple, right as the baby is latching on. It makes me wonder if this guy is a pervert, going over footage to watch breastfeeding mothers in slow motion.

Sears Corporate is located in Illinois. What are the breastfeeding laws in Illinois?

2011 Ill. Senate Resolution 170 recognizes the unique health, economic, and societal benefits that breastfeeding provides to babies, mothers, families and the community and resolves the state of Illinois to work to ensure that barriers to initiation and continuation of breastfeeding are removed and that a women’s right to breastfeed is upheld.

Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 740 § 137 (2004) creates the Right to Breastfeed Act.  The law provides that a mother may breastfeed her baby in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be.

Mothers have the right to feed their babies in Illinois and all other states in the US.

But this really isn’t just about someone harassing breastfeeding mothers behind their backs. It’s about violating their privacy. All customers who walk into stores with security cameras shouldn’t have to worry about their images appearing on social media.

How can you help?

Contact Sears corporate and request that create a breastfeeding policy and train their employees nationwide on how to learn from this breech of trust and how to handle breastfeeding families in the future. I personally hope that Edward Lampert, the CEO/Chairman of Sears Holdings Corporation, responds to this incident and publicly states how they plan to show their support for their breastfeeding customers and train all employees to never take photos of their customers. How can we be sure the people they hire for these security positions are not taking home photos of customers? Are there cameras on the LP agents or just the customers?

Sears Holdings Corporation
3333 Beverly Road
Hoffman Estates, IL 60179
(847) 286-2500
Email: searsservice@searshc.com
Message them on their website
Contact: Sears Holdings Media Relations
Facebook page | Twitter

How would you feel if security officers were sharing your photos online without your knowledge? How should Sears respond? What do you think should happen to this employee?

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**Update 7.20.4:30pm**

Sears responded on Twitter, saying they are investigating this incident. That is it. Since I have not heard back from anyone I emailed, I posted this message to their Facebook page.

Family Friendly Business has offered their services to help with their breastfeeding policy.

**Update 7.22.2014 9:30am**

Sears is now posting this comment on every post from concerned citizens regarding their privacy breech.

I received this same exact statement in my email this morning as well. I am certain everyone would still like to know if they’re going to train their employees nationwide to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

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Would you use a breastfeeding nightlight?

As a breastfeeding mom of three, I know that night nursing can be tricky at first. It’s dark and a little baby needs help finding a nipple, you need to check the latch, and you’re also peeking in their diaper to make sure you’re not about to be covered in poop. Right now, I just leave my bathroom light on and the door cracked so it sheds enough light in my bedroom. This is my preferred method, I suppose. Earlier, right after Quint was born, my husband constructed and installed an elaborate night light for me. It has not been unpacked since we moved to our new house a few months ago though.

Now this little clip on night light might work. I’m not so sure though, since I don’t wear nursing bras to bed.

Busy Mom Boutique is selling this for just under $15 and describes the product details:

“The Nighty Night Nursing Light is a multi-functional light that attaches directly to moms clothing while breastfeeding or bottle feeding.  Requiring just the push of a button, this small night-light gives off just the right amount of soft lighting for mom or dad during those night time feedings.  

The nursing light also has an optional gentle vibration alarm that can be set for the needed nursing time so if mom falls asleep while nursing, the gentle vibration alarm will awaken her so that she can safely put baby back to bed or perform another night time task.”

I’m not sure I’d like the vibration feature to put my baby back to bed though. My babies sleep with me so I don’t need to wake up to go put them someplace else. I hope that feature can be turned off.

Genius or not worth it? What do you think?

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San Jose business asked breastfeeding mother to stop, cover up, or move

San Francisco Bay Area: Rockin’ Jump San Jose, a trampoline play place in California, told a breastfeeding mother to stop breastfeeding earlier today. Clearly, they didn’t hear of the school in Utah that is under scrutiny for writing a letter telling a breastfeeding mother to cover up or leave, or see that Barnes & Noble had to pay 10K to a breastfeeding support group, retrain all of their staff, and put signs up in all of the US stores after an incident in a New York location.

What happened?

Jacqueline Dibble was with her children and a friend at Rockin’ Jump San Jose when one of her twins needed to nurse. She attended to her child’s needs while staying within arms reach of the other child, per the play place’s rules. That’s when a manager approached her and told her she couldn’t breastfeed. After a second employee told her the same thing, she went to the front desk to speak to the manager. The manager told her she was asked to stop after complaints from others. The business, however, seemed completely unaware of the California laws that protect breastfeeding babies and women when Jacqueline informed them of her rights. They did not apologize. After a complaint was posted to their Facebook page this afternoon, Rockin’ Jump San Jose tried to cover it up, saying they only told her to stop because it was a safety concern.

Rockin’ Jump San Jose posted this:

“We are so sorry you felt harassed today. Please know that Mothers are welcome and safe at any Rockin’ Jump. In fact it was the safety of Mother and Child that our staff was working to ensure. We absolutely welcome nursing in our parks.”

Jacqueline’s side of the story, which she posted on Rockin’ Jump San Jose‘s Facebook page after their “apology”:

“I was in small netted-off area designated for small children.

At one point one of my twins got fussy and needed to eat. In order to continue to “shadow” the other baby, as your rules dictate, I sat myself down all the way on outside edge along the wall, where I was not sitting on the jumping surface and also the most inconspicuous to your other patrons. There were 3 children total in the vicinity at that time, 2 of them being my twins and the other being my eldest son’s classmate. The other twin came close to me and was oscillating between bouncing on the surface closest to me or sitting next to me. 

Shortly after my child commenced feeding, the MOD came over to me and informed me that “I couldn’t be nursing”. Never did she mention to me any violation to any rule or policy, nor did she ask me to relocate for the safety of myself or my child. In fact, the word “safety” or anything synonymous was never spoken during the entire exchange. Instead she attempted to shame me by telling me that other patrons had complained and that breastfeeding here was inappropriate because there were children present, as if breastfeeding is somehow a lewd or indecent act that children should never witness.

Not 2 minutes later another employee approached me. He told me the same thing: that I wasn’t allowed to breastfeed and that other people had complained.

Finally I collected my two small children and approached the front desk in order to speak to the manager. I informed both employees that I was within my legal right to feed my children on the premises. I also suggested that they perhaps educate the rest of the staff on this issue in order to avoid such conflict in the future. At this point the MOD gave me the contact information for the manager and the gentleman began apologizing telling me that he didn’t know. He appeared to be very sincere. The MOD on the other hand was reluctant to give up her position on the matter. As I was telling her that the law protects my right to breastfeed anywhere me and my child are legally allowed to be, she continued with the defense that “people had complained and that if someone complains she has to come ask me to stop.” She proceeded to offer the suggestion that I cover up or use a more private area. Again nowhere in all three of these conversations was safety EVER mentioned. Not a single time. I informed the MOD that if someone complains to her about a women breastfeeding she could CHOOSE not to shame the mother feeding her baby, but could instead CHOOSE to educate said patron of the law that protects mother’s and babies right to feed/be fed in public. As you can see your statement doesn’t represent the events that transpired. I would like to know how you plan on resolving this issue. Thank you!”

What is the law on breastfeeding in public in California?

What does the law say exactly? California Civil Code § 43.3 allows a mother to breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, and makes no mention of breastfeeding covers.

So what happens with someone harasses a breastfeeding mother in California?

They violate California’s Civil Code section 51, the Unruh Civil Rights Act. Discrimination against a breastfeeding mother is considered sex discrimination under the Unruh Civil Rights Act and is protected and enforced by the law. Rockin’ Jump San Jose is looking at a fine for their discrimination.

How can you help?

Respectfully request that Rockin’ Jump’s management apologize to the mother and publicly state that they will train their staff at all 14 of their locations around the US and world on a newly created a breastfeeding policy that aligns with their state and federal laws to ensure this doesn’t happen again. Maybe they can even put up a supportive sign like the UK cafe that’s gone viral. A little positive support can go a long way.

Rockin’ Jump San Jose
1901 Monterey Rd, San Jose, CA 95112
(408) 837-8888
Email: sanjose@RockinJump.com
Rockin’ Jump San Jose’s Facebook page

CORPORATE OFFICE: 7901 Stoneridge Drive. Suite 503. Pleasanton, CA 94588
Corporate Office Tel: (925) 401-7200
Email: info@RockinJump.com
Rockin’ Jump’s main Facebook page
Rockin’ Jump on Twitter

Have you ever breastfed at a place like this? How does this incident and “apology” make you feel?

Join the conversation on Facebook or comment below!

**Update 7.20.2014 6:11pm**

Rockin’ Jump has responded to the mother’s Facebook comment on their page. See screen shot below.

That’s certainly a step in the right direction. I have also asked them what their specific breastfeeding policy is and if there is something in each and every location that states in the handbook to leave breastfeeding mothers and children alone. I look forward to hearing back from them.

What do you think of their newest apology?

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Out and About: Lake Anza in Berkeley

A quick post to share our afternoon at the lake. All three of my kiddos and myself just love hanging out at Lake Anza and when we go, we’re there all day. Here’s my nearly 3-year-old running to hop in.

Quint spent his time watching everyone and trying to eat sand.And of course, lots of breastfeeding happened during our 6 hour stay. No one bats an eye at breastfeeding in public there, just as it should be.

We went today because it was the free day and I’m cheap, what can I say. We spent a month lounging around earlier this summer until they started staffing it and charging. Today was relaxing and not too crowded. It was a bit chilly when we arrived, being overcast and a bit windy, but my kids didn’t mind the chilly water, nor did the school kids that were their on a field trip. The sun came out after noon and the weather was perfect after that. We sat under a tree to avoid getting burned.

If you’re looking to check this place out with your family, this lake has lots of free parking, lifeguards on duty, decent bathrooms, and a food stand. We always pack our own food though and leave when we run out. Here’s the East Bay Parks website for more info on fees and hours for this Tilden Regional Park swimming hole. The back side of the lake is open all the time and people hike around that way. We have pretty much stuck to the sandy side of the lake this year since I got some really awful poison oak a while back from my toddler poking me with a poisonous twig.

Have you been to Lake Anza?

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Two Breastfeeding Harassment Incidents in Canada this week: Brown’s Footwear in Montreal Mall & The Centre Mall in Ontario

Two shopping mall in Canada have told breastfeeding mothers and their nurslings to cover up in the last week. In the first story I heard, a shoe store assistant manager at the Fairview Pointe Claire mall told a breastfeeding mother to leave last week. A peaceful protest against the store’s illegal actions was held this past Saturday. Breastfeeding supporters stood in solidarity with the mother and child that were harassed.

What happened?

Melinda Gadbois was shopping in the Brown’s store at the Fairview Shopping Centre when her five-month-old Lilian needed to be fed. Being a breastfed baby, Melinda did what she needed to do to meet her child’s needs. Apparently, the assistant manager couldn’t handle the sight of a mother nourishing her baby, and either didn’t know the law or ignored it, and told her she couldn’t do that in the store, “that people don’t want to see that here,” and demanded that she pack up and leave. He told her to go to the nursing room 10 minutes walking distance away. Thankfully, Melinda stood her ground and ignored him, putting her child’s basic human right to eat over the employee’s opinion. After she finished feeding, her brother that was with her recorded a conversation with the ASM. Later, a nurse-in was organized.

This was the news coverage on the nurse-in:

What is the breastfeeding law in Montreal?

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects a mother’s right to breastfeed breastfeed anywhere, anytime. Why? Because our babies have the right to eat, same as everyone else, and they do not eat on schedules and don’t need to eat under blankets.

My thoughts

This bully on a power trip, just because they were the assistant store manager of a shoe store in a mall, thought they had the right to tell a mother that she couldn’t feed her baby, that she was doing something unacceptable.

I also find the Fairview Pointe Claire mall’s nursing room page on their website interesting. Shouldn’t they state mothers and children are welcome to breastfeed anywhere but there is also a room available if they’re looking for privacy?

Screen shot:

How can you help?

Brown’s has apologized and stated, “Our policy is to provide a safe environment for nursing mothers in our stores. As a result of this incident, we have taken to steps to reinforce these policies and ensure that they are both understood and applied.”

Contact the offending location and customer service to respectfully let them know how this incident and their apology makes you feel and how they can ensure this type of mistreatment doesn’t happen again. Clearly, if they had a policy that wasn’t followed, their staff needs retraining. Mall management should also be contacted so they make sure all of their stores receive proper training on the law.

Browns – Footwear
4 Place Ville Marie #11082
Montreal, QC H3B 2E7, Canada
Store Phone: (514) 695-4931
Customer Service Phone: (866) 720-7463
Email using their online formFacebook pageTwitter

The mall’s General Manager, Christian Vezina: (514) 695-1133
Email: christian.vezina@cadillacfairview.com

The second breastfeeding harassment incident happened today at The Centre on Barton, an outdoor shopping mall in the Lower City of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, The mall, understandably, has attracted negative blow back after their employee told a breastfeeding mother to cover up at the food court. A nurse-in is planned for 7/19.

This is Monika Kelemen’s post of the incident:

[Share on Facebook]

How can you help?

Attend the nurse-in or share the Facebook event if you cannot make it. Please contact the mall GM to let him know how this mistreatment makes you feel and how they can make amends.

The Centre on Barton
1111-1321 Barton Street, Hamilton, Ontario L8H 2V4
Management Office Phone: 905.547.1629
General Manager – Wayne Roberts
P: 905.547.1629 x1630   E: wroberts@triovest.com
Facebook

**Update 7.18.2014**

The Centre mall has apologized to Monika but the nurse-in is still on to help spread breastfeeding awareness. Monika posted these words on the nurse-in event wall:

As the evening draws near and we get ready, I’d like to make something clear:

This is to be a positive event to educate and draw attention to a very important issue. Let’s be positive role models and do our best to stay kind and level headed. 

The management from the Centre has been sincere, supportive and apologetic. Let’s treat this as one big brunch date and make happy memories and a positive difference. Let’s do what we can to help them benefit from our presence by purchasing a little something so we are all paying customers. Our problem isn’t with management, who wholeheartedly welcome nursing mothers. Our problem also isn’t with the many lovely employees – even the one who made a mistake. Our problem is with the mindset that breastfeeding a child is anything but innocent, healthy, wholesome, and loving. Let’s kill them with kindness and show that breastfeeding mothers, families, and supporters just want to nurture the next generation of kind human beings in peace “

Have you ever breastfed at the mall? How do these incidents and subsequent apologies make you feel?

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Middle School Principal in Utah writes a letter to breastfeeding mother telling her to cover up or move, despite law stating breastfeeding isn’t obscene or indecent

The news of Mount Logan Middle School in Utah just picking on a breastfeeding mother and child has spread like wildfire on social media. A peaceful protest, or nurse-in, of their discriminatory, unlawful actions is taking place at the school Thursday, July 17th at 11:30am.

What happened?

Mount Logan Middle School hosted a federally sponsored summer food program for children ages 1 to 18. Andrea Scannell was nursing her infant daughter, Terra, while her 3 year old received the free lunch, as she’d done a few times this summer already. During one of her visits earlier this month, Andrea received this letter from an employee and told to open it, that it was about her breastfeeding. What did she find? This letter below, telling her to be discreet, to cover up or move.

Perhaps you are wondering what prompted such a letter. This is how Andrea looks breastfeeding.

[Andrea meeting her child's needs. How is this in any way immodest?]

I would definitely consider her style of breastfeeding discreet. But even if she looked different the day she was flagged, prompting a letter from the authority figurehead on public modesty on the campus, the only definition of modesty that matters is that of the mother. If her child doesn’t like feeding under a cover, no one should demand it. If the mother doesn’t want to carry around a spare blanket during the summer, no one should shame her for it. The breastfeeding laws in Utah make no mention of subjective terms such as modesty or require covering.

What is the breastfeeding law in Utah?

Utah Code Ann. § 17-15-25(1995) states that city and county governing bodies may not inhibit a woman’s right to breastfeed in public.
Utah Code Ann. § 76-9-702 and § 76-10-1229.5 state that a breastfeeding woman is not in violation of any lewdness, obscene or indecent exposure laws. (HB 262)

What do those laws mean? If the city and county cannot make laws restricting mothers, one little middle school cannot ask a mother to cover up or move either. The law also makes it perfectly clear that breastfeeding is in no way obscene and shouldn’t be treated as such. Utah families would really benefit from an enforcement provision though, something that can really help families stand up for their children’s basic human right to eat.

My thoughts

I suppose this principal forgot to Google the breastfeeding law before typing up this discriminatory letter. Our infants and young children have the right to eat without breathing recirculated air or being subject to heat exhaustion, just the same as everyone else. Our mothers need our support for doing what is recommended by our health organizations, heck, even the Pope, not denigration. Utah ranks #14 in the US for babies ever breastfed, with only 83.1% of babies ever fed their mother’s milk at birth. Breastfeeding is hard to do without community support. Breastfeeding in public is a necessary part of feeding on cue and adding stress damages a mother’s supply, possibly cutting her breastfeeding relationship off short, robbing a child of their mother’s milk and all of the benefits breastfeeding provides.

What should we teach our children about what babies eat? 

When adults say they’re just trying to protect the children from the sight of a breastfeeding mother, it makes me wonder about what they think they’re teaching their children. The norm for our species is this: Babies eat human breast milk from their mother’s breast on cue. It really is that simple. Babies do not eat at scheduled times and since breastfed babies process milk faster than formula fed infant, they need to eat more frequently. How long do babies breastfeed? The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the about first six months of a baby’s life with no additional food or water or substitutes for the short and long term health of the baby and mother. The AAP, along with the World Health Organization and UNICEF, recommend breastfeeding for at least 12 months and then continuing breastfeeding for as long as mutually desired by mother and baby. The WHO recommends breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond.

Breasts are for feeding and there is no shame in it. Does anyone hide the sight of a cat or dog or farm animal feeding their young from their children? No. Even Sesame Street & Mister Rodgers teaches children about breastfeeding. Human breasts are not obscene and Utah state law agrees.

Andrea was doing exactly as she should as a responsible, caring mother, following the recommendations for her baby and meeting their needs.

This isn’t the first incident involving a school bullying a mother and her child for merely breastfeeding. Two that happened recently: Krisdee Donmoyer as harassed in Austin, Texas by AISD and Rachel Rainbolt was discriminated against by the Poway Unified School District in California.

Cindy Brownlee from Alberta also had a similar experience. ”This happened to me too. I was told I needed to either cover up or move to the back of the room in front of a class full of parents. I went as far as the superintendant as she supported the principal!! Her exact words were “if the baby won’t use a blanket, use a bottle.”

It’s sad that mothers are treated this way.

How can you help?

Please contact the principal, Michael Monson, Superintendent Marshal Garrett, and the board members and respectfully inform them of how this mistreatment of a mother and child makes you feel, how they can possibly move forward from this incident. This middle school has a chance to make amends with this mother and do the right thing. Ask that they create a breastfeeding policy that aligns with state law and that they train their staff members to ensure this doesn’t happen again. An animal feeding – breastfeeding awareness class would also be beneficial for the children. Perhaps they could just show the Sesame Street episode where a mother explains that she is feeding her baby from her breast and the Mister Rodgers episode on how animals are fed, including our babies.

Mount Logan Middle School
875 N 200 E, Logan, UT 84321
(435) 755-2370
Principal: Mike.monson@loganschools.org
Superintendent Marshal Garrett, marshal.garrett@loganschools.org

BOARD OF EDUCATION:
President – Mrs. Kristie Cooley, phone 435-752-4862, Kristie.cooley@loganschools.org
Vice President – Dr. James Blair, phone 435-752-1115, James.blair@loganschools.org
Mr. Lynn Hobbs, phone 435-752-3057, Lynn.hobbs@loganschools.org
Mrs. Ann T. Geary, phone 435-753-0157, Ann.geary@loganschools.org
Ms. Connie Morgan, phone 435-752-2370, Connie.morgan@loganschools.org

If you’d like to inform Sean Reyes, Utah’s Attorney general, about the inadequate protection the law provides, to request an enforcement provision, please do so.

GENERAL OFFICE NUMBERS:
(801) 366-0260
(801) 538-9600
(801) 366-0300

OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
Utah State Capitol Complex
350 North State Street Suite 230
SLC UT 84114-2320

Have you ever breastfed at your child’s school? How does this incident make you feel?

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**Update**

I have not heard of an apology yet but I have an update on the nurse-in that happened this morning. Although I did not attend, I heard from Andrea and another attendee and mother, Kourtney Rushdi Barney, that the nurse-in went smoothly this morning. Nearly 10 mothers with their children and breastfeeding supporters came out to back Andrea and her child. The local news media also made an appearance, interviewing Andrea, the superintendent, and others.

Andrea shared her thoughts on the nurse-in and the incident with me this afternoon:

“The lunch program is a government funded program that the middle school hosts. It provides free lunches for kids aged 1-18 during the summer. I take my 3-year old and my 6 month old. The 6 month old is my second child. I have been going since they started whenever I can make it so my son can have a meal. I hadn’t gotten any complaints beforehand. I didn’t really notice any looks, either. Of course, i’m focused on my two kids, i’m not looking around the cafeteria trying to make sure no one’s looking. My sister was there with her kids and my husband was there as well. he had just left to take our son to the bathroom and the baby got hungry, so i fed her. as soon as I was done, a worker approached me with a sealed envelope and said “I highly encourage you to read this.” I asked, “Does this have to do with me breastfeeding?” She said, “Just read it, it’s very tasteful.” So I said, “You know this is illegal, right?” and she just said, “Please read it” and left. My sister opened it and read it first. I was very flustered when it was given to me. I just never expected anyone to have an issue with me feeding my baby while everyone is there to feed their children. Why can’t mine eat? I read it and was surprised at the “exposure” assumption. as you can see from the photo, i’m not exposing anything. Even if I was, under the law, no one can ask me to cover up or move.

There was a nurse-in today at the middle school where some local mothers came to support me. About 7-8 women came and we just fed our babies when they were hungry. There were local media reporters that interviewed me and the superintendent who came to represent the school/principal since the principal was out of town. He never approached us, but he was also interviewed by the media. Granted, I never approached him either, but I was busy with my two children, so I didn’t have the time to approach him. 

I’m not out to shame the school or the principal. I simply want awareness and for shaming and bullying of breastfeeding women to stop. Utah law has protections but it doesn’t have enforcements. This needs to change. I’m standing up for every breastfeeding mother out there who can’t stand up for herself for whatever reason. There are so many reasons women choose not to breastfeed, but cultural and social implications should not be a factor. There are far too many women who choose not to breastfeed at all out of fear of this kind of treatment. There are others who bend over backwards to avoid breastfeeding in public for the same fears. Women who try to feed before leaving the house, which isn’t always feasible and can mess up a breastfeeding relationship. And others who feel they need to pump and feed a bottle when they’re out which in turn affects their supply. I’m putting my face and name out there for these women.”

Here are a few photos from the nurse-in this morning from Kourtney Rushdi Barney:

News:

‘Nurse-in’ held to protest letter given to breast-feeding mom – HJ News

 

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