A customer twitter shamed a breastfeeding mom – Orange Leaf responded in the best possible way

A random stranger took it upon themselves to twitter shame a breastfeeding mom in an Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt shop last month. Orange Leaf responded in the best possible way:

[Twitter]

The customer has since deleted their tweet and Orange Leaf has made it clear that they support breastfeeding families in their stores. Thumbs up for a company coming forth in support of the law and having a little kindness for our fellow woman and their children, right?

Have you ever breastfed at an Orange Leaf? What do you think of their response? Respond to them on Twitter or on their FB page.

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

 

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Nurse-ins held at Minnesota & Washington pools Friday after employees harass breastfeeding moms

Two breastfeeding harassment incidents were reported last week resulting in two nurse-ins in two different states yesterday.

Minnesota

An employee of the Moorhead Municipal Pool told a mother, Kayla Heller, that she needed to cover up while breastfeeding her 11-month-old at the pool last week. A group of mothers and their children attended a peaceful nurse-in at the Minnesota pool yesterday.

[Video still from the Minnesota nurse-in from Inforum. Watch the video here.]

Minnesota’s right to breastfeed law has been in place since 1998. It also states breastfeeding mothers are protected from public indecency charges.

  • Minn. Stat. § 145.905 provides that a mother may breastfeed in any location, public or private, where the mother and child are authorized to be, irrespective of whether the nipple of the mother’s breast is uncovered during or incidental to the breastfeeding.
  • Minn. Stat. Ann. § 617.23 (1998) specifies that breastfeeding does not constitute indecent exposure.

The director of the Moorhead Parks and Recreation Department, Holly Heitkamp, said the employee “made a mistake.” She explained the employee’s actions were due to an uncomfortable male lifeguard. My thoughts? That’s just sad. Take ownership of a mistake and don’t try and pin it on someone else. Guys can handle seeing breastfeeding. It’s literally what breasts are for.

Washington

An employee at the Liberty Pool in ‎Spokane, Washington told a breastfeeding mother, Lydia Davis, and her friends to go breastfeed in the bathroom earlier in the week.

Washinton’s breastfeeding laws are clear.

Lydia returned with a dozen women and their children for a peaceful nurse-in to raise awareness and normalize breastfeeding on Friday.

The incident at the Spokane pool wasn’t a one time thing.

Nina Nichelle Wattles commented on Spokane’s Parks and Recreation’s Facebook page wall earlier today:  “I read that a mom was shamed and discriminated against for naturally feeding(breastfeeding) her child at Liberty Pool. Same situation happened to me in summer of 2009. A male employee (I believe it was the person in charge there) walked up to me and told me I was offending other parents and I needed to go in the bathroom behind closed doors. Anyhow… Although it happened 6 years ago, sounds like to me you should properly train and educate ALL staff members at ALL pools and parks to prevent this from happening again. Thanks.”

They responded:

Thankfully, Spokane’s Parks and Recreation Department responded quickly and appropriately to the incident. When Lydia called to complain while she was still at the Liberty Aquatic Center, Parks Director Leroy Eadie apologized and promised to provide extra training for the department’s staff. Parks spokeswoman Monique Cotton said the training has since happened and continued, “It was really important to us to provide the training right away. We do not have a specific policy about breast-feeding. What we do have is state law. We certainly recognize that people have the right to breast-feed at a public pool.”

Just last week, a Washington restaurant told a breastfeeding mother to cover up.

There have also been reports of incidents at pools and water parks in multiple other states this summer. An employee at Cherry Hill Water Park in Kaysville, Utah told Sandra Jense-Forgach to stop breastfeeding. On July 16She shared this note and screen shot.

“I want to make all of you aware that Utah state law protects breastfeeding in public, regardless of whether the breast is exposed. This is a law, not a recommendation. If someone complains about a woman breastfeeding, the proper course of action is to tell the person complaining the woman is legally allowed to do so, not ask the woman to stop, move, or cover up. 

I’ve talked to a manager about this and she was 1. Surprised to learn this is protected by law and 2. Seemed hung up on defending the life guards actions in protecting a family friendly atmosphere.”

Cherry Hill just responded to this incident today.

[Facebook]

My thoughts

These harassment incidents don’t seem to be slowing down. Breastfeeding is a basic human right and is no way considered obscene, covered or not. That’s why it’s protected by law and supported by religious leaders around the world. Even the Pope has come out twice in support of breastfeeding in public – in church even! It is the necessary act of a mother meeting her child’s needs and also one of pure love. It’s a crying shame that people still seek to oppress women for using their bodies how they see fit, using their breasts to nourish and comfort their children. And what about the children? Should they have to endure hot covers in the middle of summer because someone is afraid of seeing a nipple – something we all have on our chests? Why would anyone harass mothers and children for merely breastfeeding when there are starving and malnourished children out there, truly awful things going on, so much hate…Seeing an act of love shouldn’t fill anyone with disgust or cause them to try to shame the mother.

I’m glad that mothers in Minnesota and Washington stood up for their rights, for their children, to help normalize breastfeeding in their community and make sure local pool staff are trained to help stop the unlawful discrimination of women and children.

How can you help?

It’s up to everyone to stop the mistreatment of women and children. You can start today. Teach your children to appreciate and love their bodies, to not make fun of others. Teach them to support women, to support humanity, to see the beauty of a child being fed and cared for. Teach them the biological function of breasts. Teach them to be thankful that parents are loving and feeding their babies, from bottle to breast, not to shame a mother for using her breast for her baby, covered or not, or to shame another mother for using a bottle. If you see a woman bottle-feeding or breastfeeding in public, give her a thumbs up. If you see someone shaming a mom in person or online, making fun of her, asking her to cover up, move, or stop, stand up for what’s right and talk to them. Be respectful but honest. It’s not okay to harass moms for taking care of their children. It’s time to stand up for women, babies, our future.

Have you ever breastfed at the pool? Did you attend the nurse-in at the pool yesterday?

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

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Facebook continues to censor women, denies advertisement for breastfeeding photography

Facebook has been reported for censoring breastfeeding again, despite breastfeeding photos being allowed.

Elizabeth Tujague Sylvester explained that she was trying to create this ad for her business, LizYvonne Photography, when she was denied.

[Facebook]

This was the reason given.

What’s Facebook’s breastfeeding photo policy?

“Does Facebook allow photos of mothers breastfeeding?

Yes. We agree that breastfeeding is natural and beautiful and we’re glad to know that it’s important for mothers to share their experiences with others on Facebook.”

Businesses slide by with ads with breasts all the time but when it’s a woman trying to make an ad for breastfeeding portrait sessions, she’s shut down?

Why is Facebook sexualizing breastfeeding and censoring women? Our female skin, our breasts, our cleavage, our nipples, are not offensive merely because they are exposed to the sun and air or in an advertisement. Everyone has skin. Everyone has nipples. What’s the fuss? Breasts are the reason our species exists, because children are nourished and comforted by them. Women should be revered, not shamed. If this had been an ad with a man holding his child, would it have been censored? No, certainly not.

Breastfeeding mom Kayla Robinson Miller chimed in with her thoughts, “I didn’t realize I was being “suggestive” while FEEDING my baby. But Victoria’s Secret pictures can be blasted all over face book and nobody bats an eye. It’s a sad world we are living in.”

I agree. It is a sad world. What are we teaching our children with all of this discriminatory, sexist censorship of women? Grow up, Facebook. Stop policing women for using their bodies how they see fit.

How does this censorship make you feel? 

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

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Nurse-in planned after Wisconsin USPS employee tells breastfeeding mother to cover or feed her child in the car, breaks state and federal law

A mother in Janesville, WI was harassed by a USPS employee for breastfeeding her baby while mailing packages on two separate occasions, two days in a row. The employee broke state and federal laws that protect nursing mothers and children, telling the mom she needed to cover up or leave.

Raven Dibble shared her story on the nurse-in event page:

On two separate occasions this week at the Janesville Post Office, I was asked to cover up or leave while nursing. I was at the 1818 Milton Avenue Post Office on July 8 to send some packages and I went up to the counter nursing my 2 week old in a ring sling. The postal worker helping me said, “ma’am, you may want to cover yourself.” 

“No thanks, I’m fine,” I reply.

“Well I just want you to know that you’re exposed.” 

I thanked her and carried on, finished my transaction without any more conversation and left.

I went back into the Post Office the next day, on Thursday, July 9. The same worker was again there and I was nursing my daughter. When I got to the front of the line she asks me to wait a second and goes to the back for a few minutes. She then completes my transaction and says, “Ma’am, I know you don’t mind, but I’ve talked to my Post Master and you need to either cover up or breastfeed in your car or I can refuse you service.”

I say to her, “Let me just stop you there. What you’re doing is legally harassment. I am legally allowed to feed my child as covered or uncovered as I’d like, anywhere I’d like.” 

“Maybe that’s the way you see it, but I see it as indecent exposure and I’m just looking out for all the people who don’t want to be flashed,” she told me.

One of our local lactation consultants was behind me in line and spoke up, defending my rights. 

She goes on to argue with me (me saying breastfeeding is hard enough, in public even harder–she cuts me off saying she knows, that she breastfed two kids, “the right way–privately.” And tells me that doing so “is not hard.”

I told her she should be ashamed of herself then, for knowing the struggle and making me feel like I’m a bad person, she claimed that she wasn’t.

“But that’s really what you’re doing. All I’m doing is feeding my child and you’re treating me like I’m doing something wrong,” I told her.

“We can have different opinions, I just think it’s indecent,” she said. She than invites the next person up to help because she’s “not going to fight about it”.

Everything that she said to me was in a loud argumentative tone, meant for the whole Post Office to hear.

What the breastfeeding law in Wisconsin and on Federal property?

  • Wis. Stat. § 944.17(3)§ 944.20(2) and § 948.10(2)(b) (1995) provide that breastfeeding mothers are not in violation of criminal statutes of indecent or obscene exposure. (AB 154)
  • 2009 Wis. Laws, Act 148 provides that a mother may breastfeed her child in any public or private location where the mother and child are otherwise authorized to be. The law specifies that in such a location, no person may prohibit a mother from breastfeeding her child, direct a mother to move to a different location to breastfeed her child, direct a mother to cover her child or breast while breastfeeding, or otherwise restrict a mother from breastfeeding her child. (2009 AB 57)
  • Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a woman may breastfeed her child at any location in a Federal building or on Federal property, if the woman and her child are otherwise authorized to be present at the location.

There is also an enforcement provision for violating a mother’s right to breastfeed: 939.61: (1) If a person is convicted of an act or omission prohibited by statute and for which no penalty is expressed, the person shall be subject to a forfeiture not to exceed $200.

My thoughts

I am saddened to hear of another mother and child facing harassment and bullying for just doing what’s normal, recommended, and legal. I have breastfed in my local post office nearly every visit. It’s just what nursing moms have to do to get through in peace, right? Raven has every right to file an official complaint and takes this employee to court for breaking the law.

How can you help?

Attend the peaceful nurse-in at the Janesville Post Office (1818 Milton Avenue) on Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015 from 3-5PM or share the news of the event. Tweet @USPS and @USPSHelp & write on their Facebook page wall.

Personally, I hope this USPS location and employee makes amends to this family and their community and turns the nurse-in into an event to support families in the community. Keep on standing up for yourself and your children and breastfeeding or bottle-feeding with pride. People need to see breastfeeding to accept it as normal. Call your state rep and ask for an enforcement provision for breastfeeding laws if your state doesn’t have one.

Take a stand

It’s up to everyone to help stop the mistreatment of women and children. If you see a woman bottle-feeding or breastfeeding in public, give her a thumbs up. If you see someone shaming a mom in person or online, making fun of her, asking her to cover up, move, or stop, stand up for what’s right and talk to them. Be respectful but honest. It’s not okay to harass moms for taking care of their children. It’s time to stand up for women, babies, our future.

How does this incident make you feel? How do you think USPS should respond?

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

 

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Employee at a Washington restaurant told a breastfeeding mother to cover up, nurse-in planned

A restaurant employee in Washington in told a breastfeeding mother, Sydney Olsen, to cover up. This was the mother’s story that she posted on Facebook yesterday:

In case you cannot read it, it says, “My name is Sydney. I have two beautiful children. I exclusively breastfeed, my daughter is now 2 and half years old, she was exclusively breastfed for the first 18 months of her life, her brother is 4 months old, he is exclusively breastfed as well. I have nursed my babies everywhere I have been allowed to be, not to make a statement, not to seek attention, simply to feed my hungry baby. Today, Thursday July 9th, 2015, I was waiting for my $27.12 to go order from Noah’s Ark, in Bremerton, WA, I was wearing my daughter on my back in our Tula, holding my purse and my son in my arms, he had been hungry for a while since we had been out all morning, he has just woken up from a nap and was hungry, I was nursing from the time I walked in the door, I ordered my food and proceeded to wait for it to be ready, an employee( B—-) then approached me and proceeded to ask if I had a blanket or something to cover up with, she said they require shirts in their establishment, I replied, I am not going to cover, it is my right to nurse wherever I am, however I choose, she then said I am aware that is your right, I’m asking you woman to woman to cover up, a few men have come and expressed that you are making them uncomfortable and asked if I would ask you to cover. I replied telling her that what she was doing is against the law, there are laws in place that protect me and my right to breastfeed. She responded with so your not going to cover up, I replied with no I am not, she said fine, that’s your right, and walked away. Two other employees said good job, thank you for standing up for yourself. I immediately started crying after B—- walked away, I felt disgusted, ashamed, embarrassed, humiliated, no longer hungry, I felt sick. My husband came to ask for a refund for me, B—- refused so he left our food there.

I will continue to nurse everywhere I go. I will not feel shame for feeding my child, this experience has taught me a lesson, that I need to continue to nurse everywhere I go, I need to continue to normalize breastfeeding, I need to continue to stand up for our rights, and I will. I hope no other mom has to go through this, I am a strong woman and I will overcome this. And to those wondering, yes I am taking every legal action I can against this business.

‪#‎normalizebreastfeeding‬ ‪#‎imjustfeedingmybaby‬ ‪#‎nocoversever‬

A nurse in is scheduled for July 11th at Noah’s Ark Restaurant, 1516 6th St, Bremerton, Washington 98337.

What is the breastfeeding law in Washington?

The law specifically supports breastfeeding and the right to nurse in public without discrimination.

There is also an enforcement provision.

From BreastfeedingLaw.com: “Any person deeming himself or herself injured by any act in violation of this chapter shall have a civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction to enjoin further violations, or to recover the actual damages sustained by the person, or both, together with the cost of suit including reasonable attorneys’ fees or any other appropriate remedy authorized by this chapter or the United States Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended, or the Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 3601 et seq.).”

I am saddened to hear of another mother and child facing harassment and bullying for just doing what’s normal, recommended, and legal. A mother in Louisiana was told to nurse in the bathroom or leave this month as well.

How can you help?

Attend the peaceful nurse-in at Noah’s Ark Restaurant on July 11th, 2015 or share the news of the event. I hope this business makes amends to this family and their community and it turns into an event to support families in the community, as businesses who have made the same mistake in the past have done. I hope the mother files a complaint with the Washington state Human Rights Commission if the business does not make sincere amends. Keep on standing up for yourself and your children and breastfeeding or bottle-feeding with pride. People need to see breastfeeding to accept it as normal. Call your state rep and ask for an enforcement provision for breastfeeding laws if your state doesn’t have one.

Take a stand

It’s up to everyone to help stop the mistreatment of women and children. If you see a woman bottle-feeding or breastfeeding in public, give her a thumbs up. If you see someone shaming a mom in person or online, making fun of her, asking her to cover up, move, or stop, stand up for what’s right and talk to them. Be respectful but honest. It’s not okay to harass moms for taking care of their children. It’s time to stand up for women, babies, our future.

How does this incident make you feel? How do you think this business should respond?

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

**Update 7.10.2015 4:17pm**

The business posted this to their Facebook page:

[Facebook]

Unfortunately, no personal apology to her has been made. The mother says they have not contacted her in any way, even though she has tried to contact them and they have her contact information. She also said she has been receiving hate mail for sharing her story, standing up for her family and breastfeeding in public. We live in a country where people are blaming and shaming the victim instead of supporting her and helping the business learn from their mistake? How very concerning.

Related:

Pizza parlor in Louisiana faces a nurse-in and public backlash after telling breastfeeding mothers to cover up or leave

A pizza parlor in Louisiana posted this note on their door, following an incident with a breastfeeding mom, Allie Raby, where they told her nurse her child in the bathroom. When Allie refused, they asked her to leave.

Allie shared these photos that her husband took of the sign in Crossfire Pizzaria in Leesville, Louisiana’s restaurant door and they went viral.

This was the original post of the incident:

According to former patrons, the mistreatment of breastfeeding mothers and children has happened on multiple occasions at the restaurant. Crossfire’s management made a mistake more than once, made it worse by putting up a note for the public to see, and said they were going to put up a segregated section, a “divider” for breastfeeding families.

Really.

Breastfeeding supporters are outraged, flocking to their Facebook page and leaving comments and reviews with their thoughts.

A nurse in is scheduled for August 1st, 2015.

What is the breastfeeding law in Louisiana?

The law is clear. It specifically supports breastfeeding and the right to nurse in public without discrimination. Louisiana also has an enforcement provision.

From BreastfeedingLaw.com: “Right to breastfeed. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, a mother may breastfeed her baby in any place of public accommodation, resort, or amusement.

C. “Discriminatory practice in connection with public accommodations” to include a discriminatory practice against a mother breastfeeding her baby. Any direct or indirect act or practice of exclusion, distinction, restriction, segregation, limitation, refusal, denial, or any other act or practice of differentiation or preference in the treatment of a mother breastfeeding her baby shall be a “discriminatory practice in connection with public accommodations” for the purposes of this Chapter.

D. Breastfeeding; discriminatory practices prohibited. It is a discriminatory practice in connection with public accommodations for a person to deny an individual the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of a place of public accommodation, resort, or amusement, as defined in this Chapter, on the grounds that the individual is a mother breastfeeding her baby. This discriminatory practice in connection with public accommodations is prohibited.

E. Breastfeeding not a violation of law. A mother breastfeeding her baby in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be, shall not be deemed to be in violation of R.S. 14:106 or of any other provision of law.”

My thoughts

I am tired of hearing of these incidents. It’s 2015. When are people going to stop harassing women for using their bodies how they see fit, feeding their children, following the health recommendations and the law? I find it hard to believe that people who verbally and sometimes physically assault mothers and children think they’re doing everyone else a service, or that they’re somehow justified. It isn’t hard to google the law. It isn’t hard to realize they’re doing something morally and legally wrong. Who taught these people to treat women this way? How can we change the culture that tells everyone breasts are for sex and selling beer, and that women who use them to feed babies need to cover up or be publicly shamed?

Thankfully, most people that have discriminated against mothers and children and faced public backlash have learned from the experience.

When Grampa’s Pizzeria in Wisconsin made the same mistake, bullying a mother and child for merely breastfeeding, owner Gilbert Altschul fed local moms and their kids for free, asking them to see he just made a mistake. He talked about their actions against the mother: “We offended her, singled her out, and broke the law at the same time. It’s a law we were unaware of, it’s been brought to our attention, so we’re just trying to apologize and move forward with business.” Dough Pizza Kitchen in Manchester had a breastfeeding incident recently as well. Martin Connolly, operations manager of Dough, said: “I would like to start by wholeheartedly apologising to Miss Hiscox for any offence or distress we have caused her. The company has never had a policy that requires women to cover up whilst breast feeding. The member of staff in question has worked for the company for several months and I must take full responsibility for the fact that he had not been trained on the company policy regarding this issue, this has now been rectified and all staff are up to speed with the company stance. I have strong personal views on the matter having two young daughters and a wife that regularly breast fed them both wherever and whenever required, and find the whole incident deeply regrettable and can only apologise once again.”

Those are just two pizza parlor incidents that come to mind. This mistreatment happens every single day, everywhere.

How can you help?

Attend the peaceful nurse-in at Crossfire on August 1st or share the news of the event and support breastfeeding. Period. I hope this business makes amends to this family and their community and it turns into an event to support families in the community, as businesses who have made the same mistake in the past have done. Until then, take your money to businesses that support families. Keep on standing up for yourself and feeding your children with pride. Call your state rep and ask for an enforcement provision for breastfeeding laws if your state doesn’t have one.

Take a stand

It’s up to everyone to help stop the mistreatment of women and children. If you see a woman bottle-feeding or breastfeeding in public, give her a thumbs up. If you see someone shaming a mom in person or online, making fun of her, asking her to cover up, move, or stop, stand up for what’s right and talk to them. Be respectful but honest. It’s not okay to harass moms for taking care of their children. It’s time to stand up for women, babies, our future.

How does this incident make you feel? How do you think this business should respond?

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

 

Related:

Nurturing together

One thing I didn’t realize I was missing when I first became a mother was a community of like-minded parents. I had one best friend, thankfully, but not a tribe. My family was in Texas and I only had my husband. I felt isolated in my new role as a mother, unsure of myself while navigating what felt natural to me, what I later realized was called attachment parenting. I felt like an outcast when breastfeeding in public, for sleeping with my baby, and responding to her cries immediately with my breast or whatever I felt she was communicating. I saw others constantly offering pacifiers in public, listened to parents telling me about their babies in cribs down the hall (which honestly just hurt my heart because I needed to be close to my baby), how they were going to try CIO soon if their baby didn’t sleep through the night. I didn’t have a group of parents to meet up with and vent with every week. Fast forward five years later, I am in love with my community. I thank my lucky stars every day to be supported in my parenting decisions by more than just my husband, to have wonderful, nurturing, compassionate mamas (and supportive partners) in my circle and to watch our children grow together. We share our thoughts, hopes, hard days and the best of times. We gather to share birth stories and everything since. It’s liberating.

We decided to capture this moment in time, this feeling, at least a few of those of us that could make the scheduled shoot. I am so excited to share the photo.

[L-R: Libby of Abrazame: Hold Me With Love, Jinny of 510 Placenta Services, myself, Perlipo​, and Navarre. Photo by Nicole DiGiorgio of Sweetness and Light Photography]

The nurslings ages range from newborn to four years old. <3 <3

And one more of us smiling because smiles are infectious. And my little Quint looking at the camera <3

When I see this photo, I see nothing but healthy, loved children, joyous, empowered mothers, and happy hearts. We are proud. We are at ease. It is easy it be ourselves around each other. No one batted an eye during the photo shoot, even though we’d never been so freely topless with each other before. Nicole has been taking photos of me and some of these women for years and since she breastfed past infancy as well, we felt completely relaxed. And in our intentional community, during meetups out and about in public or in the privacy of each other’s homes, we feel comfortable and confident responding to our children, following our intuition.

Also, I must add it felt so right to be topless in nature. I can barely wait for America to finally free the female nipple and allow women the right to chose without fear of being condemned and persecuted. When I notice men running topless, lounging at the beach, swimming at the pool, and it’s hard to ignore the feeling of oppression just because I’m a woman and someone centuries ago decided to control women. Women deserve better, to feel the sun and wind on their bare skin without shame.

Have you had nursing portraits taken? Have you found your mama tribe? How do you feel about being topless when and where you choose? What are you teaching your children about women’s bodies?

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

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