Private London club sent infant out in the cold, refused breastfeeding rights to hired cellist

[Cellist Katherine Jenkinson and her daughter Olivia]

Breastfeeding Incident: Cellist Katherine Jenkinson said a club she was playing at refused to allow her to feed her newborn baby in the dressing room. Her 11-week-old exclusively breastfed baby & the babysitter had to sit in the car outside and wait for Katherine to pop outside to feed her instead of just having them wait in the dressing room of the Oriental Club in London as she requested. The club defended their actions, saying they don’t allow anyone under 12 in the club but the still appeared to have violated the Equality Act which states a mother has the right to feed her baby anywhere. Take a closer look at what the law says.

Which associations are included?
An association must not discriminate, harass or victimise a person because she is breastfeeding by refusing membership or discriminating in provision of benefits, facilities or services.

An association includes clubs, such as golf clubs, that have rules of membership, with at least 25 members, where members have to apply to join.  Private clubs, with less than 25 members, that have no formal rules of membership, such as a book club, would not be counted as an association.  Clubs where you simply pay a membership fee to join are not counted as an association but would be considered to be providing public services.

My question to the club is, why be so unaccommodating about a baby in the back dressing room, out of the general club space? What about kindness, making an exception to the club rules and following the law for the needs of the infant of a musician they hired?

How can you help?

Respectfully let the Oriental Club know how this incident makes you feel, how they can make amends to the mother and her child, and how they can prevent this type of discrimination from happening again.

What do you think? Should the club have showed little compassion and flexibility for the mom & infant for the evening or was the business fair in sticking to their rules? Do the rules of businesses trump national law? 

Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, or comment below!

More on this incident in the Telegraph.

 

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Meeting my children’s needs this week – Babywearing, breastfeeding, nature time

Let me just say it’s been an exhausting last few weeks. It’s been rainy and chilly (I know I shouldn’t complain about chilly in Northern California, it’s still above 50 for the most part) and I’ve felt like hunkering down and hibernating like a bear. But with active kids, I can’t really do that. I cared for a snotty, off and on cranky baby for nearly two weeks with no one else getting sick and then finally, when my 10-month-old was done being sick, his 5-year-old sister picked it up over the weekend. Then like dominos my baby got it again, then my husband, and now my middle child woke up with snot this morning. I’m so over boogers. I really hate admitting when we’re sick, too. We’re mostly a healthy clan! Sigh. I feel like I’m next so I’m doing what I can to stay healthy. My husband went out after bedtime last night to get me fresh garlic to chew on since I used the last for some hearty veggie soup yesterday. Chewing on half of a fresh garlic clove works like a charm for a sore throat, let me tell you. We’ll see if I can stay healthy or at least not get hit very hard with all the snot, fevers, and headaches that everyone else seems to be experiencing.

Anyway, here I am with my teething, clingy baby this morning. (He popped his third tooth yesterday.)

He just wants a lot of skin to skin right now. He can’t really nurse that well since his nose is a little snotty and his tooth hurts. He tries to latch, cries, unlatches and just looks sad. If I try to set him down he wails. So, in the carrier he is! Thank goodness for my old standby, my Ergo.

He’s about 22 pounds so having him on my hip without my carrier is a bit cumbersome. We did that for a good half hour this morning while I was making and eating breakfast but my thankfully husband went out and got my carrier from the car and now we’re doing a little low-stress, skin-to-skin babywearing.

But the baby isn’t the only one that has needed me more than usual these days. Last week on Friday evening we made it to the local awesome handcrafted antique merry-go-round to see it decorated for Christmas, go on a few rides, and perhaps see Santa. I could tell my eldest wasn’t feeling that great, just coming down with whatever the kids were passing around, was acting a little more shy and clingy than usual, so she asked to breastfeed. I felt a little awkward since, hey, I know not a whole lot of moms are freely nursing kids her age out in public and I didn’t want anyone to give me rude looks but she never asks in public and I didn’t want to make it a thing so I obliged. I pretty quickly had to run off after my baby crawling away and my three-year-old climbing things but at least she got a little snuggle time with me.

And sure enough, the next morning she was sick. I was happy to be able to comfort her in the way she wanted, especially since she was feeling sick but couldn’t tell me as much. And perhaps she instinctively knew that she needed some antibodies from my milk. (Isn’t it interesting how raw, local organic cow milk and the same for honey are touted as beneficial for humans, yet, raw, local organic human milk for human children is seen by some as unacceptable? Notes on the benefits of natural-term breastfeeding (1), what the law has to say about it (2), and what the current national (3) and international (4) breastfeeding recommendations are listed below.)

Other than extra time with me, lots of morning snuggles and cosleeping with my baby (but I guess those are normal for us), I usually give my girls things with raw honey, like warm honey-lemon water, and extra garlic, and all of the kids take lots of steamy baths to clear their noses. Our friends do elderberry but I have not gotten around to getting some yet.

We still have to get out of the house so we’re not home focusing on being under the weather. I do think breathing fresh air and stomping around in nature is really part of healing for our family. So in the last week we went to Blake Garden, Redwood Park, and a few other outdoor spaces so they could play and not really get other people sick.

[My three kids singing & playing at Blake Garden in Kensington.]

[Barefooted sisters in Redwood Park.]

How do you care for your children when they’re not feeling well? What are your go-to home remedies? What do you do to try to keep yourself from getting sick?

 

1 – Benefits of Breastfeeding Past Infancy – Kellymom
2 – “There is no evidence that breastfeeding a child beyond infancy is harmful. Quite the opposite is true: breastfeeding benefits toddlers and young children, both nutritionally and psychologically. Breastmilk remains a valuable source of protein, fat, calcium, and vitamins well beyond two years of age. Immunities in breastmilk become more concentrated as nurslings mature; at the same time, the likelihood of allergies decreases. Mothers who nurse past infancy derive benefits as well, including a decreased risk of breast and ovarian cancer the longer she continues nursing.

Breastfeeding is a warm and loving way to meet the needs of toddlers and young children. It not only perks them up and energizes them; it also soothes the frustrations, bumps and bruises, and daily stresses of early childhood. In addition, nursing past infancy helps little ones make a gradual transition to childhood. In fact, prolonged nursing is associated with better social adjustment.” – Extended Breastfeeding and the Law By Elizabeth N. Baldwin, Esq. – LLL

3 – “Almost all babies should be breastfed or receive human milk exclusively for approximately six months. Breastfeeding with appropriate complementary foods, including iron-rich foods, should continue through at least the first year. Health outcomes for mothers and babies are best when breastfeeding continues for at least two years. Breastfeeding should continue as long as mutually desired by mother and child.” – AAFP Position Paper

4 – “Breastfeeding is an unequalled way of providing ideal food for the healthy growth and development of infants; it is also an integral part of the reproductive process with important implications for the health of mothers. As a global public health recommendation, infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health.

Thereafter, to meet their evolving nutritional requirements, infants should receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods while breastfeeding continues for up to two years of age or beyond.” - WHO

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I am a Feminist

I am a feminist. We can all agree on that, right? Well, I am thrilled to be part of the fantastic Mic article floating around – “The 39 Most Iconic Feminist Moments of 2014” by Elizabeth Plank on Mic.

You can spend a good chunk of your day browsing all the awesome moments. But now to my point – check out #12!

Here’s the screen shot.

No, that’s not me. (But how wonderful is that mama with her family? Love those smiles!) But if you click on the word “convinced,” it takes you to Soraya’s article and my photo at the top.

See?

There I am with my squishy newborn, just minutes after her birth. This photo is important to me. It’s the first time she breastfed. I was too shy to share it after her birth but three years later when Soraya Chemaly was looking for a photo to share with her Mic article back in June, I decided it was a good time to share it.

I really appreciate working with Soraya to help announce the change in Facebook’s breastfeeding policy in my own way, sharing my breastfeeding photos. Now, I know Facebook breastfeeding censorship hasn’t stopped completely but it’s on the decline.

The shift from the public is also slowly happening as well. I see angry tweets, Facebook and Instagram comments, and the like from people not understanding the purpose of women sharing breastfeeding photos online nearly every day on Twitter and on articles. Some say silly things like, “If I see one more breastfeeding selfie on instagram, I’m going to explode!” Others just shame the mothers, saying they’re just looking for attention, a reason to flash their breasts. Coming from the other side, sharing a photo a day, or at least one every week, I know why it’s important to moms. It’s not because we’re looking for attention. It’s because we’re proud and we’re feeding these babies and children 20 times a day and it’s a big part of our lives. We share them because we want to share these moments, because it’s important to us and social media accepts and welcomes breastfeeding photos. Breastfeeding is beautiful to us and sometimes it’s hard. It’s an accomplishment. We share them because our community and the world needs to see what normal infant feeding looks like and it looks the same, or similar, for women all over the world. A mother holds her baby. A toddler stands and nurses. An older child looks into her mother’s eyes while breastfeeding. It is all normal and part of being a mother. We want to share this love, the bonding, the way it feels to hold a child to our breasts.

I also spend a good chunk of my free-time helping mothers when they’ve been harassed by people for merely feeding their babies. Like the mother that was told to breastfeed in the bathroom at a shopping center in California this week. Despite two state laws that protect women and children from such discrimination. I speak out about this unlawful, discriminatory treatment of women, and help organize nurse-ins because women do not deserve to be treated as lesser citizens just because of they were born female and have functioning breasts. I know that there are many women who find support online, who don’t have any in-person breastfeeding support, and seeing my photos helps them feel like it’s okay, gives them encouragement. Women should be proud of feeding their babies and not running away to hide.

I also share the importance of letting women decide how, when, and where to birth their babies because I trust women and because it isn’t up to anyone else. I share my birth stories so women can gain courage through hearing my journey, from my unplanned cs to a homebirth after cesarean to my most recent freebirth.

Now, I am certain I could write a whole essay on why I am a feminist and why equality is paramount but you probably already know the reasons if you read the Mic article and follow my page. I’m off to care for my children and take them out on a nature walk in the redwoods. Because that’s what I have decided to do, how I have chosen to live my life and find value in myself at this time.

Are you a feminist? Do you share breastfeeding photos on social media? Have you ever had a photo censored? How did your friends and family react?

 

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Breastfeeding harassment incident at the Premium Outlets in Carlsbad – Apology made to the mother

Breastfeeding harassment incident at the Premium Outlets in Carlsbad: On Saturday, December 6th, the Carnival Cruise kiosk manager told a mother, Ana Juarez, to leave the bench she was sitting on while breastfeeding her child and to go to the bathroom because she was making people “uncomfortable.” Asking a mother to move is illegal in California.

What happened? Ana shared the incident with me this evening after she attempted to reach the outlets and hadn’t heard back. Ana needed to take a moment to meet her child’s needs while shopping. As she sat down to nurse her child, Ana said the manager of the Carnival Cruise kiosk told her, “We have a place in the bathroom so you can breastfeed your baby.” Ana continued, “I told her I was fine here, I was on a bench.” And she then said, “You might be fine, but you’re making everyone else uncomfortable”.

According to Ana, she told them she had the legal right to breastfeed there. The manager and staff members refused to listen to her, defended their actions by saying they had the right to tell Ana whatever they pleased since, “We had freedom of speech.”

Ana continued, “I felt horrible with all of them attacking me and I couldn’t defend myself since I had a cold and my voice changed. As you know your vocal cords change. All I knew was that in California the law protects me and I have the right to breastfeed anywhere I please.”

It’s about meeting the needs of our children and not putting down women. It’s nearly 2015. It’s time to respect women. It’s time to let babies and children eat without harassment. These bullies need to be held accountable for breaking two California laws protecting Ana and her child. Even if they didn’t know the laws, treating mothers with such disrespect is shameful behavior.

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.

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. The staff at the shopping center is looking at a fine for their discrimination.

How can you help?

Please take a minute to contact the outlet mall and ask that they reach out to the Carnival Cruise kiosk manager relay the seriousness of this mistreatment. The manager and offending staff members need to offer a sincere apology to Ana, and the mall should inform all stores of the incident, and notify everyone of the laws regarding breastfeeding to prevent this from happening again:

5620 Paseo del Norte, Suite 100
Carlsbad, CA 92008
(760) 804-9000
Send them a message on their website
Tweet @CarlsbadPO
Write on their Facebook page wall

I will add the kiosk contact information when I receive it.

Have you ever breastfed while shopping? How would you react if someone told you to stop meeting your child’s basic human needs?

**Update 12.9.2014**

Ana informed me that she received a personal apology from the company that owns the kiosk and the outlet mall tweeted this to me earlier today as well:

What do you think of their amends? I personally would love them to take it a step further, just as Barnes & Noble did earlier this year, and donate to the local breastfeeding coalition or some other non-profit that benefits breastfeeding families, and promise to train all staff, remind them of the law.

 

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Nurse-in at Denver Jail after deputy breaks the law, tells mom to stop breastfeeding

Rochelle Bricker was ordered to stop breastfeeding her 2-year-old daughter on Nov. 26 at the Downtown Detention Center in Denver, Colorado where she was nursing in the lobby. She was yelled at by a deputy from across the room, told she needed to stop and move to the bathroom. She staged a “nurse-in” this morning with two other nursing moms and an internal investigation and a review of the department’s policies on how it treats women has been launched.

Rochelle condemned the actions of the deputy, stating that breastfeeding harassment is part of the “…large, systematic oppression of women.” I agree.

And it really burns my toast when people who should know the law, break it and go out of their way to treat women & children badly. The odd store employee might get a little sympathy for being an asshole. But an employee of the law should know Colo. Rev. Stat. § 25-6-301 and § 25-6-302 (2004) recognize the benefits of breastfeeding and encourage mothers to breastfeed. The law also allows a mother to breastfeed in any place she has a right to be. (SB 88)

Everyone should know that breastfeeding is recommended for all infants. Breastfeeding for 2+years is recommended by the American Academy of Family Physicians and the World Health Organization (WHO) for the health of the child & mother and it benefits all in the community. The Pope supports public breastfeeding, putting children first. Why are women being treated like this? For meeting their children’s needs? A woman feeding her newborn to toddler to young child, fully covered or not, need to be treated with common courtesy and respect. Being a mom is hard enough without having strangers yell at you for doing what is best.

How can you help?

Contact the detention center a call to let them know how this incident makes you feel:

10500 E. Smith Road
Denver, CO 80239
countyjail@denvergov.org
(720) 913-3600
Denver Sheriff Department
Tweet @DenverSheriff

Contact John Suthers, Colorado, Attorney general
@COAttnyGeneral
(720) 508-6000
Attorney.General@state.co.us

**Update**

From the Denver Post: Interim Sheriff Elias Diggins apologized to Bricker and issued a training memo to the entire department that same day to remind deputies of the state’s law, which protects a woman’s right to breastfeed in public places.

Simon Crittle, the sheriff’s department spokesman, said, ”It’s absolutely imperative we hold ourselves to the highest possible standards when it comes to treating people with dignity and respect,” he said. “We respect women’s rights.”

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Target employees in Ontario store bully breastfeeding mom & child

Staff at the new Target Canada store in Barrie, ON told a breastfeeding mother that nursing was only allowed in the fitting room and no where else in the store. News of the mistreatment was reported on Target Canada’s twitter page yesterday.

What is the breastfeeding law in Ontario?

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, only in private rooms, and don’t need to eat under blankets. Considering this Target location has only been open since July, everyone should be current on training on how to properly handle breastfeeding families.

How can you help?

You’re welcome to contact the store to let them know, respectfully, that you would appreciate a sincere apology to the mother and training for their current staff members to address this serious incident and again during new employee training to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

Target
30 North Village Way
Barrie, ON L4N 6P3
Canada
705-733-2030

Contact Corporate
Write on their main facebook page
Tweet @TargetCanada
Contact Corporate Guest Relations 1-800-440-06800
Send them a message online: https://www-secure.target.ca/en/contact/
Email Guest.Relations@Target.com

How do you think Target should respond to one of their employees breaking the law and harassing a mom & child? Have you ever breastfed in Target?

Join the conversation on FacebookTwitter, or comment below.

**Update 11.23.2014**

Target replied on twitter to the friend of the mother that reported the incident.

 

Have you been harassed for breastfeeding in Canada? Report the incident to the Human Rights Commission in your province.

 

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Happy 5th Birthday to my big girl!

My eldest child turned 5 years old yesterday. I am still in shock, even though I’ve had plenty of time to warm up to the fact that she’d be 5 one day. It seems like she was just born.

She has been looking forward to her birthday for months. Maybe since her last birthday. We planned a casual park party with her friends during the middle of the day on her actual birthday but since it was rainy and completely wet outside, we hosted at our house.

My thoughts on the party

I was a little worried about having 21 or more people in our house, especially on a rainy day because I couldn’t really send all the children outside to play, but it was mostly pretty a smooth event. I didn’t plan anything big, just had the kids hang out while the parents chatted and some of us chopped veggies for the soup and my aunt decorated the cakes that I didn’t have time to do earlier. My husband took most of the children outside in their rainboots at one point and everyone played with sparklers. At one point I saw over a half dozen kids in our chicken’s area watching the chickens. I had a tub of Legos for the kids to build with and a friend brought a pop up tent that the kids crawled in. They were entertained.

I asked that no one bring presents because I didn’t want it to be about that, just about enjoying the day and the company. I did ask that everyone bring a dish of food to share with everyone instead, if they had time. I always enjoy seeing and eating what others brought. Apple and pumpkin butter. Cranberry bread. Mint basil rice noodle salad. Toasted spiced coconut. Blueberry muffins. I made hot veggie soup and two kinds of cake.

Recipes for this flourless chocolate honey cake and an almond/coconut flour vanilla honey cake with whipped cream frosting have been added at the bottom.

The most I decorated was putting tablecloths on my island and table. I made it a point to refuse to look at pinterest before hand to make myself feel bad about not doing decorations. I did feel a little bad that I didn’t have anything that said happy birthday on it but oh well. No one cared. Nor did anyone mention party favor bags so I completely forgot they were a thing until someone brought it up later – that they were happy I didn’t have any. Everyone left with hugs and waves.

My thoughts on my daughter

On her birthday, I wish I had spent a little more time talking to her about the importance of her as a person and in my life, a member of the family, how she’s changed over the years, and how much I love her just as she is right now. We spent the day getting ready for the party, baking cakes and cleaning. And with so many people over, it was just about being there in the moment. But I’ll do that this weekend when we get some quiet time together. I guess we did have some quiet time together at the party when she was feeling overwhelmed at one point but we just snuggled and I listened to her tell me her woes. And she nursed. I cannot believe I have a five year old that still breastfeeds. When I first started out, I thought I’d go until her first birthday. Now I’m years past that because I decided to let her wean when she’s ready. I’ve learned that giving a child my milk is not just about me. It’s about her and her needs too and that’s okay. If I need to put some limits, I do. She’s been night weaned for years. She’s been cutting back on asking, slowly for the last couple of years, maybe nursing once every couple weeks. I know she’ll stop when she’s ready. I just have to remind myself occasionally that in other cultures, breastfeeding to five or more is perfectly natural and accepted and the value of breast milk is revered for it’s health benefits for people of all ages. I also just remembered that she said she’d be done with mama-milk when she was five. I guess we both forgot!

I really could write pages and pages about how much I appreciate my daughter but I’ll just say she’s thoughtful, kind, helpful, adventurous, funny. She’s stubborn when she wants to be but on the flip side, she’s the family motivator when she wants to help get something accomplished. She loves climbing with a passion, is enthusiastic about building with scraps from outside or Legos, proud of her drawings and writing her name. She is now trying to read the words books, still enjoys playing in the sand and mud like it’s going out of style, riding her bike, swinging on a swing all by herself (a new skill), and twirling in fancy dresses. Here she is right before her guests arrived yesterday.

She’s also the best big sister, 99% of the time. Sometimes she needs a little space or squabbles, but who doesn’t? She gets her stubborn little sister to help when she’s refusing, gives her baby brother and little sister kisses and hugs, feeds them, watches over them, keeps them from danger or lets me know if they’re doing something questionable. She feels like the glue to holds us all together sometimes. She can be so calming sometimes.

My thoughts on being a mom for 5 years

My daughter’s birthday seemed like a big milestone for me. Her turning 5 makes me think about where I was, mentally, before I had children, during my first pregnancy, her birth, and all the days in between then and now. I can’t believe I’ve been a mother for five years and I have three kids. It seems like a long time but I know it is just the beginning. Then I also think about what I’m doing, my place in the world, being unemployed for 5 years already. But I suppose I follow other passions. They just pay in hugs and kisses. And this blog and my often ignored art.

I like this Mother Teresa quote: “What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.”

I know I am doing just that. As many days and years as I am lucky enough to be here.

Well, that’s enough for tonight!

How do your children’s birthdays make you feel? How do you celebrate the day? Do you have an older nursling? Or when did your child wean? Share your story!

Join the conversation on FacebookTwitter, or comment below.

Updated to add recipes:

Paleo Cake with Whipped Cream Frosting

Cake Ingredients:

8 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
6 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cup honey
1 1/4 cup coconut flour
1 1/4 cup almond flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degree. Grease two 8″ round pans. Put all wet ingredients and sugar in your mixer (or let the kids stir) and whisk until completely smooth. (You’re welcome to use honey instead of coconut palm sugar and it turns out great as well.) Stir flours, salt, and soda together until mixed and add to wet. Combine. Spoon into greased pan, smooth top, and put in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes, or until cake pulls away from the side a bit and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for one hour at least and frost.

Whipped Topping Ingredients:

16 oz heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons of vanilla
2 strawberries
Top with fresh cut strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, & toasted coconut (optional)

Whip heavy whipping cream in a stand mixer or by hand for a few minutes. Add honey, vanilla, and strawberries (I’ve used beets or beet juice in the past if you want pink frosting), and continue until stiff. Spread over completely cooled cake, the middle layer first, then stack and to the top and sides. Decorate with fruit as you wish!

Flourless Honey Chocolate Cake

5 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
½ cup coconut oil
¾ cup honey
¼ cup cocoa powder
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Topping

  • fresh raspberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 8” springform pan with coconut oil. Melt chocolate & coconut oil in double boiler over boiling water. Let cool slightly, then whisk in honey, cocoa powder, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Pour batter into pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake 25 – 30 minutes until the center is firm. Allow to cool completely until serving. Top with raspberries.

 

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