Did you know every state, with the exception of Idaho, Michigan, Nebraska, South Dakota, Virginia and West Virginia, have laws that allow mothers to breastfeed in any public space? That’s a new one on me. Not only that, but in Canada, there was even a staged flash mob in a mall that included – what else – breastfeeding moms. In fact, there were close to 100 moms and their babies who participated. So why now?
As these things sometimes happen, it began with one mom who was offended and upset that she was told she could not feed her five month old daughter in a store. Shannon Smith was with her three children and the two oldest ones were watching a store-hosted movie. She said she excused herself to a semi-secluded area in the store where she could keep an eye on her two oldest children. She then covered up with one of the many baby blankets she likely had with her (there’s not a mom out there who doesn’t stockpile blankets in diaper bags) and began feeding her baby. A store employee approached her and told her it was against store policy. At first, Smith said she was angry. Then…she became motivated.
She got home that afternoon and started a blog, cleverly named Breast for the Weary (breastfortheweary.com). Her first post – seriously – her very first post had 7,000 hits the first day! I’d be happy with that many hits a week – and my blog’s been up awhile. Next thing you know, there’s a Facebook page and then, several days later, the first ever mob flash featuring nursing mothers was organized. Shannon Smith has done much these past few weeks, including introducing a new bill that would provide clarification to a law that already exists. The Canadian Charter of Rights was written specifically to give nursing mothers the right to breastfeed whenever and wherever it’s convenient for baby. Clearly, this store clerk had no idea.
Ask five human beings their stance on one issue and you can be sure you’ll get five different opinions. This debate is no different. During the gathering, many at the mall were asked if they were offended. Some said yes, others said no and there were those who were non-plussed by the goings-on.
I’m all for anything that doesn’t add to a new mom’s already overwhelming days. For me personally, it’s a bit…I don’t know…intimate? It’s not something I was ever comfortable doing with the possibility of being seen. Not that I was embarrassed or felt like it was some big secret; it’s just me. I never minded excusing myself. That said – I also believe it’s the most natural thing in the world. And when it comes to Mom and a hungry baby, you can be sure she’s going to do whatever she must to be sure her little one is taken care of. You never mess with a Mom when it comes to her babies – she’ll claw through you and any army that dares reckoning with her. Chalk it up to maternal instinct.