Just when you thought that we didn’t need a World Breastfeeding Awareness week, yet another mother, this time a young mom in Berea, Kentucky, is asked to leave a restaurant for breastfeeding her child. Kentucky actually has a law that forbids public interference of a breastfeeding mother, but because she was not breastfeeding when the police arrived (who threatened to charge her with criminal trespassing if she did not leave), the police did not enforce the law.
The McDonald’s has since apologized to the mother, but sadly, this situation is too often repeated, not only in restaurants, malls, and other public places, but on the internet as well — most recently with a mom’s breastfeeding pictures being banned from Facebook.
As evidenced by numerous comments on a YouTube Breastfeeding montage created by the League of Maternal Justice (in protest of the Facebook Photo bannings), people still compare public breastfeeding to public urination and masturbation, and insist that it’s inappropriate for women to expose themselves in order to feed their children.
With a long list of arguments that most breastfeeding mothers and breastfeeding supporters could list, there are still many people in society who are aware and may appreciate the benefits of breastfeeding, when it comes to doing it in public, it’s still amazing how many people in this country specifically are uncomfortable.
It’s apparent that World Breastfeeding Week, along with organizations such as the La Leche League and Breastfeeding is Normal, are essential in the fight to bring the much needed awareness of breastfeeding, most specifically breastfeeding in public, to folks who may not understand that we can’t always just go somewhere and hide when we need to feed our children.
Of course, I can’t help but point out the irony of a woman being asked to leave McDonald’s, a restaurant that is attempting to promote family friendly eating with their new “healthy” menu. Apparently apples and caramel (mmm, healthy!) and juice boxes are cool.
But breastmilk? Not on their list.
[This post was written by Kristen Chase.]