Public Breastfeeding: Why Are We Still Having This Argument?
Pro-breastfeeding moms staged a protest outside a suburban Chicago store after the store's owner told a nursing mom that breastfeeding was not welcome in his establishment.
The Chicago Tribune reports that 21-year-old Nicole Eidsmoe was nursing her 11-month-old daughter in the No Strings Attached resale shop in DeKalb, Illinois Tuesday, when store owner John Rapp asked her to go somewhere else to breastfeed.
"I support breast-feeding, but I just think there's a time and place" for it, Rapp said.
However, Eidsmoe's right to breastfeed in public was protected under the 2004 Illinois Right to Breastfeed Act, which states in Section 10:
To promote education of the law, Eidsmoe and the group Crunchy Moms of DeKalb staged a "nurse-in" protest in front of Rapp's store on Thursday.
This whole situation seems pretty cut-and-dry as to who was in the right here. The nursing mom's right to breastfeed in public was protected by law, and the store owner doesn't have the power to restrict nursing in his store. But opponents of public breastfeeding, including a few who staged a counter-protest outside No Strings Attached, say the law is wrong and should be changed.
This kind of backlash against the public breastfeeding law is common, a La Leche League spokesperson said in the Tribune article.
Which brings me to my argument: How can we still be having the "breastfeeding in public" argument? Every possible health authority in the world extols the virtues of breastfeeding. We all know "breast is best." In fact, we are all so certain now that breastmilk is the superior infant food choice, that moms who can't or choose not to breastfeed are driven to a self-imposed state of severe guilt. And while this guilt is a legitimate problem in and of itself, it's clearly an example of the fact that we know breast is best.
Which means, we know we should choose breastfeeding. Again, let me say that I absolutely understand from experience how hard breastfeeding can be, and that there are many legitimate challenges to making breastfeeding work.Continued on the next page