Last month a Houston mother was shopping at Target when she decided to feed her hungry baby. She sat covered, Indian style on the ground and started to nurse. She was approached by a number of employees who insisted she either move into a dressing room or turn and face the wall. She was even threatened by an employee that she would get a ticket for indecent exposure.
Understandably upset, she called Target's corporate office the following morning and was told that Target's policies are different than the law because they are a "family friendly" place (Under Texas law, a woman is able to breastfeed her child in any location). In the past, Target has publicly stated that they support a nursing mom who wants to breastfeed anywhere in their store. See Best for Babes for the full story.
In response, a nationwide nurse-in was organized. The private Facebook group had over 4000 members as of me writing this! The goal of the nurse-in was to show that nursing is normal and well as a breastfeeding mom's legal right to nurse as a result of choosing to breastfeed her child. It was not to stick it to Target or flaunt nursing in public in anyone's face.
I have been NIP for about a year now and have done so with and without a coverup. Using a nursing cover made it very easy initially, but as E got older it became more of a game and distraction. I now nurse without a coverup, but without showing very much skin at all. Despite what a large portion of the public seems to think, a nursing mother does not disrobe from the waist up in order to feed her child in public. I feel so strongly about normalizing nursing in public that I have participated in several nursing flash mobs through the DFW area. It's natural, it's not sexual, and it has nothing to do with anything other than a quelling a hungry baby.
I did not attend the nurse-in at my regular Target. Instead, I chose to drive a little further away to an organized event in Fort Worth. Strength in numbers and all that. We arrived a little late since E had a bit of a meltdown while getting strapped into his car seat. There were about 10-12 moms hanging out in the cafe portion of Target. We stayed for almost an hour and met other like minded nursing moms. E decided he needed to have a quick snack while we were there and I nursed him without a cover.
We had some curious looks from other patrons of the cafe and a couple of Target staff members, but no one came over and said anything. I think there are bra/lingerie displays in Target that show more skin than I saw today from the moms nursing alongside of me. Nursing in public can be done without a cover and it can be done without showing a lot of skin.
I hope that this display of solidarity among breastfeeding moms and their supporters showed the general public that breastmilk is not only best, but it is normal. I hope a pregnant mom saw us and thought, "Hey, they're feeding their children and no one is topless!" Maybe someone who previously thought breastfeeding was gross had their beliefs challenged. Perhaps a nursing mother is more encouraged to nurse in public rather than in her car. Covered or uncovered, nursing in public is not about "flaunting it" - it's about making sure that a child is not going hungry. Isn't a screaming baby is more offensive than a nursing mother?
I ran across this quote while looking at a friend's album of a recent trip to New York City. It was inside the UN building and it applies perfectly to today's nurse-in:
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead