Nursing in public has been a long debated issue. The people are divided when it comes to this issue because some believe that it’s a natural thing, which is a fact while most believe it should only be done in private. It’s quite sad because nursing mothers are criticized and discriminated for doing what is natural. And a lot of nursing moms also want to go out of the house and nurse their babies as needed without feeling they have to hide something because it makes others uncomfortable. The act itself is not offense but it’s probably seeing a woman’s bust exposed in public is what drives people insane. The reason behind that is because a woman’s bust have been highly objectified that the mere sight of a mother nursing is suddenly considered a sensual act. There shouldn’t be a law for this but nursing in public is legal in all 50 states and 45 of those states allow nursing anywhere. Adults eat anywhere and anytime they want without having the need to hide in private and so should babies. There’s more to nursing than just about a woman exposing her chest. Read on to find out the 12 interesting facts about nursing to help you give a new perspective.
More than 57% of the American public population are uncomfortable with public nursing and only 42 states have laws that protect women’s right to nurse in public, but many mothers are still being asked to move into private areas like bathrooms to nurse. To prove that, a social experiment on Youtube was shown. Even pumping milk is seen as an abominable thing. There were many varied reactions from both men and women from revulsion to apathy. A different woman did the experiment on a train and a man went off on her.
Susan Kane, the editor-in-chief of Babytalk knows the struggles of in the workplace as well. “You need a private place to pump. Sixty percent of women with small kids are in the workplace full time. You have to make a living. Then on top of it, you’ve got that negative public attitude.”
Mother’s milk protects babies from colds, flu, infections, pneumonia, and diarrhea and nursing also help burn up to 500 calories a day.
Supermodel Gisele Bundchen fights for nursing rights.
Gisele Bundchen told Harper’s Bazaar UK that nursing should be required for all women with infants younger than six months. Several months later she posted a photo on Instagram of her nursing while her beauty team helped her get ready.
She shared, “My intention in making a comment about the importance of nursing has nothing to do with the law. It comes from my passionate beliefs about children. Being a new mom has brought a lot of questions. I feel like I am in a constant search for answers on what might be the best for my child. It’s unfortunate that in an interview sometimes things can seem so black and white.” Other celebrities who support the movement are Gwen Stefani, Natalia Vodianova, Jaime King, Kristen Bell, Alyssa Milano, Penelope Cruz, and Pink.
The award winning published fine art photographer, Ivette Ivens did a photo series of women nursing their babies. She wanted to showcase the beauty of nursing mothers. When people see mothers lactating it can be messy, uncomfortable, and even painful but despite all the trouble, a mother’s instincts tell a totally different story. Nursing is love in it’s purest form.
A mother not only nourishes the baby’s body but also fills them with their love. Ivens vividly captured these moments in its purest form. She helped women feel and relive the emotions they had from that moment. She also knows the problems of nursing so she created a photo series to put mothers in a different light. The photo series was well received and it helped raise awareness to the issues of women and lactating that she was able to publish a 188-page hardcover book.
Pope Francis told new mothers back in 2010, “not to think twice” about nursing while in public or at church. Licia Ronzulli, an Italian member of the European Parliament also voiced her opinion about nursing in public. She was already putting those ideas into action by showing up during a voting session with her child.
Victoria Donda Perez, an Argentinian MP nursed her 8-month-old daughter in the middle of the parliamentary session and was captured on camera while the Argentine National Congress was being held in Buenos Aires. She was praised for being a role model and the photo went viral on social media.
Meantime in the U.S., the United States Department of Labor’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act require that employers provide a reasonable amount of time for an employee to express milk for a nursing child one year after the child is born. Employers are also required by law to provide space, other than a bathroom so that the woman may express milk in private and away from the intrusion of other coworkers and the public.
When magazine publishers decided to put nursing mothers on the cover of magazines, the world went crazy. It got a lot mixed opinions. Nicole Trufino, posed on the cover of Elle Australi while nursing her four-month-old son, Zion. This wasn’t staged or set up. The magazine’s editor-in-chief, Justin Cullen shared, ““It was a completely natural moment that resulted in a powerful picture.”
Doutzen Kroes, a well-known supermodel, was also on the cover of Vogue Netherlands nursing her baby. While modeling in bed with her husband, and two children, Doutzen is nursing her 5-month-old daughter.
Time magazine also featured a woman nursing on its cover in 2012. This as more than four years ago, Dr. William “Bill” Sears was featured on the magazine and the same questions are being raised on nursing in public. Like, is it indecent? Is it natural? It is okay to shame a mother who needs to breastfeed her child?
Honest Body Project: “We are not ‘still’ nursing, we are just nursing.”
A majority of women start to wean their child off breastfeeding after 12 months. While the mothers who continue to nurse are seen as weird or overbearing mothers. Sadly, that is an overly judgemental misconception. No mother should be judged for how she cares for her child, and nursing is a natural and beautiful thing. That’s why Natalie McCain created a photo series of mothers nursing their children with the hopes to open the eyes of people who wrongfully criticize mothers with extending nursing.
“The question that bothers me the most with full-term nursing is, ‘When are you going to stop?’ Why do I have to stop? Do we have to have a date in mind? My child feels comforted, she is smart, confident, and independent so nursing isn’t holding her back in any way! She loves to nurse, she loves to be close to me. Let’s face it, all these cute little faces are going to be teenagers one day and want nothing to do with their parents.”
6. Highly Explosive Milk
Despite the hassle of nursing a mother will not let her child starve because it makes someone feel uncomfortable. Especially mothers who are on long flights that don’t want to pump or give formula milk they can’t just let their kids starve. A new mother once asked Delta Airlines what their policy was for nursing and she got mixed responses. The Federal Aviation Administration does not have any rules about nursing. In a different situation, a Delta airline flight attendant threw a blanket at Emily Gillette and told her to cover up. Emily’s lawyer gave a statement saying:
“The ongoing discrimination suffered by breastfeeding mothers nationwide illustrates the continuing relevance of Emily’s story. Incidents of discrimination against public breastfeeding – in Target stores, restaurants, sports stadiums, and in one recent incident, a pastor calling a nursing mother ‘a stripper’ because she was nursing her baby in church – reinforce the need to make people aware that this legal right exists in many, many states and where it doesn’t, it should. The settlement demonstrates that providing rights to mothers, as Vermont did, can create positive results and that such legal protections are crucial. But, as Emily’s story also shows, the existence of such legal rights is not enough in the absence of education and societal support.”
Actress, Alyssa Milano also experienced discrimination when she was switching planes at the Heathrow Airport. There is no U.S. law that limits the amount of mother’s milk that a woman can pass through security. The U.S. law says that a woman can bring “as much breast milk as they need to.” In Europe, the child must be present with you or a 100ml restriction can be placed on the amount of milk they will let you pass through. The actress took it to Twitter, and an invasion of fellow mothers came to her support. Others made fun of the airport’s rules saying, “just admit it – you have highly explosive breast milk.”
Mother’s from coast to coast, all over the United States, are united and rising about covering up when nursing. After a sign had been posted telling mothers to cover up while nursing, a group who supports nursing in public started a hashtag #ThisIsHowWeCoverBFMT. Women took photos covering their faces and left their nursing bust exposed.
British poet named Holly McNish even created a poem titled, “Embarrassed” addressing the double standard of anti-nursing a “billboard covered in busts.”
Katharine McKinney also expressed her opinion about how backward society have become when it comes to nursing. “Why have we made the act of feeding a child something obscene instead of something necessary? Before pumps, before bottles, when a woman nursed her child, even when she was covered neck to wrists to ankles, it was not considered private. Just necessary. It’s still necessary.”
It’s nice to know that Target supports in-store nursing for their customers. They are making mother’s feel more welcomed in their stores than ever. The store supports nursing in any area of their stores, including fitting rooms. They recently got commended because of their policy that was posted in a breakroom for their employees. The policy reads:
Guests may openly breastfeed in our stores or ask where they can go to nurse their child. When this happens, remember these points:
– Target’s policy supports nursing in any area of our stores, including our fitting rooms, even if others are waiting
– If you see a guest nursing in our stores, do not approach her
– If she approaches and asks you for a location to nurse, offer the fitting room (do not offer the restroom as an option)
If you have any questions, partner with your leader.
There is a non-profit organization helping all military personnel (active, reserve or guard) who want to nurse while serving their country. Nursing has been proven to help a baby’s physical and mental growth development, but it also benefits the mother as well. Recent research from Brown University studied the MRI scans of babies. It revealed that infants who were breastfed showed improved brain development compared to those who were just on formula alone.
Mother’s milk is the complete form of nutrition for infants. It has the right amount of fat, sugar, water, and protein needed for the child’s growth and development. Babies are also able to digest it much easier than formula. The nutrients and antibodies it contains help protect the child from bacteria and illnesses that baby formula can’t match. When mothers are away on deployment being able to pump and stock their milk is necessary to ensure that when they come back they can continue to nurse properly when they reunite with the child.
Nursing also helps the mother and child bond in the critical first few years. The site helps women approach nursing while on active duty. The site gives women the resources and the military policies about nursing in the workplace.
Pollution from local factories was poisoning women, their milk, and their children. Like the case of Phyllis Omido, dubbed as the “East African Erin Brokovich”, is a single mother who was nursing her child. After three months, her son suddenly became terribly ill and got hospitalized. She then found out that her milk made her baby sick and wanted to find out why. Phyllis discovered that many women in Mombasa were also suffering from lead poisoning. Because of the effect of the poisoning, her son’s medical bills were over $2000. Soon after she found out the cause, the company tried to pay her off to silence her. She fought hard for years to get the smelters that were poisoning them to stop. Her efforts were recognized and in 2015 she became a Goldman Prize Recipient in Africa.
Unfortunately, there are other stores who doesn’t support nursing as Target does. Karina Gomez was forced to nurse her child in a bathroom stall at a Marshalls’s store. Outraged, she took a photo of herself and posted it on Facebook with a caption, ““Yes, this is me sitting on a toilet feeding my sweet, Katalina Maria, after I was denied my right to nurse where I wanted to by a #marshalls employee. I was denied to nurse in a dressing room, instead, I was directed to a bathroom stall to nurse. What a way to treat nursing customers, shaming them for nursing, making them feel embarrassed that you need to feed your child. I am angry, upset, but more so humiliated. My rights have been violated. Please share to get the word out!” After posting up a photo on Facebook, a group of outraged mothers in Oregon staged a nurse-in. Marshall’s immediately reached out to her and apologized.
Similarly, Wal-Mart was also invaded by nursing women after a manager at one of the Oklahoma stores told the mother to cover up while nursing. Elizabeth Moreno felt humiliated by the manager’s request and called in a group of 20 other mothers to hold a nursing demonstration against the Wal-Mart store.
Now that you know all these things, isn’t nursing a beautiful and important thing? It’s not only the best food for infants but it also promotes bonding and closeness. Before there was formula milk, nursing was the only and natural way for the mothers to nourish their child. The busts are not for pleasure only but it also supports life by nourishing the tiny infants’ body. It has a much more deeper and useful purpose than objectifying it.