I'm late posting this, but I found out yesterday about a group of local nursing mothers who are holding a nurse-in at a local Chick-Fil-A at 12 p.m. today (so it's pretty much going on right now). The reason for this? One of these women was asked to cover up while breastfeeding her baby in the restaurant, and given a dish towel to cover up. (Read this story on the Orlando Sentinel's Moms at Work blog for full details.)
For those who live in other states, or who are otherwise unaware of the legislation regarding breastfeeding in public in Florida:
Fla. Stat. § 383.015: Section 1. The breastfeeding of a baby is an important and basic act of nurture which must be encouraged in the interests of maternal and child health and family values. A mother may breastfeed her baby in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be, irrespective of whether or not the nipple of the mother’s breast is covered during or incidental to the breastfeeding.
The full verbiage of the Florida statutes on breastfeeding are found here.
This mother was well within her rights to be breastfeeding at the restaurant, regardless of whether other patrons voiced concerns or complaints.
I think what concerns me more, now that the restaurant is making amends for their actions by placing a sign with the international breastfeeding symbol outside their restaurant, is the comments that are being made on the Moms at Work. Likening breastfeeding to the human body's excretory process and being asked to take it in the bathroom? Ridiculous. Breasfeeding is feeding a baby. And you know what? A baby does not understand the concept of waiting to eat. When a baby is hungry, it is hungry now and wants to be fed now. Sometimes that happens when you're out in public. Offended by a breast being exposed (momentarily) while getting a baby to latch on? Turn your head away! It is appalling to me that in this country we welcome violent television shows without blinking an eye, but a mother performing the natural act of breastfeeding is offensive? Give me a break!
I appreciate the concept of modesty - I am not the type of mom who would have chosen to breastfeed in public unless it was absolutely necessary, and I imagine that I am not too far from the norm. (If you remember from a previous post, my baby refused to nurse in the first place anyway, but I am a very strong advocate for breastfeeding for as long as possible.) I think moms should make an effort to cover up. But sometimes you forget your cover at home. And babies lips aren't like a magnet to the breast. It takes work to get them latched on, keep them latched on, and get comfortable. Sometimes, for a brief moment, a breast gets exposed.
[Edit] And in good news, the conflict was peacefully resolved. The Chick Fil A manager apologized, and the nurse-in continued - with the intent of promoting awareness of breastfeeding moms rights. For the full story, read the Orlando Sentinel's story on the nurse-in.