Seriously, Another Public Breastfeeding Controversy?
A Houston-area mother is planning a public nurse-in at a women's-only gym, after the gym's owner said breastfeeding was not welcome in the gym's daycare.
Penny Montgomery-Schlanser was discreetly nursing her son in the daycare facility at Fitness Elite for Women in Spring, Texas, when gym owner Martha Velasquez approached her and told her that she was not welcome to breastfeed in the daycare facility, reports Houston TV station KHOU.
Velazquez's reasoning? The gym is entrusted with watching children up to 11 years old, both male and female, and breastfeeding constitutes indecent exposure in front of these minors.
However, Montgomery-Schlanser has the law on her side. Tex. Health Code Ann. § 165.002 (1995) authorizes a woman to breastfeed her child in any location.
To protest the violation of the law, Montgomery-Schlanser is organizing a public nurse-in at the gym on Friday, August 26. She welcomes men, women, and children of all ages, nursing or not, to join in the protest. Those who cannot make it to the location are invited to join virtually by sending in pictures of breastfeeding mothers. For more information, you can visit the Facebook page dedicated to the nurse-in.
I, personally, do not live anywhere near Texas, so the best I can do is weigh in with my two cents here. And that is:
Seriously?! What was this gym owner thinking? You are a gym for women. You will offend, and therefore lose, a huge percentage of your clientele by coming out against public breastfeeding.
And not only that, it's ridiculous to be against public breastfeeding in the first place. Why? Because babies need to eat often, and it's just not practical for a woman to run home or to a restroom every time a baby needs to eat. Babies tend to be somewhat uncooperative when the fulfillment of their needs has to be delayed for a location change, and their older siblings tend to be somewhat uncooperative when forced to sit in a restroom for half an hour while their mother feeds a baby.
Furthermore, as I said in this article, you can't keep telling us breast is best, but then place obstacles to breastfeeding. Because then all but the most tenacious of breastfeeders will quit, and I honestly don't blame them.
Can we, as a society, at least get to a place where we agree that if the breastfeeding mother is okay with the exposure, everybody else should be, too?