I’ve used this Universal Breastfeeding Symbol before. But I didn’t even realize I was a “lactivist” until I started getting frustrated about the breastfeeding in public issue. Who knew that an infant eating the food that was made for it could be an issue?!
But I didn’t stop to think about how the symbol might be used in public. As in:
Hey you! With the breasts and starving child! You. Must. Go. Here.
That is, until a righteous blogger brought up a Mothering Magazine online photo spread of the use of the symbol.
Here’s the thing about breastfeeding in public. There is not a woman I know who does it to be an exhibitionist. Ever. At all. (Don’t argue with me here, folks.) We do it to…ummm…feed our children?
So the use of the symbol: What is the proper way to use this welcoming sign?
We have a lovely space for you to breastfeed your little one while your older child plays nearby safely. But you are more than welcome to feed that hungry, mewing baby wherever is best for you.
We don’t want “special” rights as breastfeeders. We don’t even necessarily need a room! That is, unless there is nowhere to sit at said establishment and we’d like to do this more comfortably. We’ll do it discretely, yes, but we’ve got to get it done! The hungry child agrees.
Let’s think, here. If this sign is on a door and you have to traipse across a ginormous store or airport, kids and their accouterments in tow, to find the area to which you must be segregated, this is wrong. I’m not saying that this is how it’s normally used. I’m saying there’s a danger, here. By putting up a sign, a store, restaurant, or airport could simply be saying,
We don’t want any trouble from you lactivists. We don’t want a nurse-in smack-dab in the middle of our lunch rush. Here: Go to this little room that also has a toilet, and you can let your child eat amongst the stench of whatever people do in a “Family Room.”
Nice offer and all, but I think I’ll sit elsewhere. The hungry child agrees.