I have to give my sister credit, after having four kids she is the grand master of stealthy breastfeeding in your presence; it’s like she’s got some kind of cloaking device.
What I have learned over my 8 years of being an auntie is that when the baby is hungry, the baby’s gotta eat. Some women slip away to another room, others use a blanket to mask the process, and others just whip it right out and let the baby go nuts. Admittedly the latter makes me somewhat uncomfortable for the first 10 seconds, but all in all, it’s a perfectly normal and natural act.
Recently two stories about breastfeeding have made headlines in Canada. The first involves an incident in Windsor, Ontario where a mother started feeding her child while waiting to check out at a local La Senza lingerie store. She was asked to move into a fitting room after being told that breastfeeding was not allowed in the store. [source: Canadian Press]
The second mishap of this nature happened here in Vancouver at our shiny new H&M store in Pacific Centre. Once again a nursing mother was told she had to move to a change room as she could not breastfeed on the store floor. [source: CBC]
At both of these locations, protests have been held in order to express outrage at the stores’ policies and/or the staff’s behaviour. Moreso it was also to show support and solidarity for mothers, as demonstrated in the Nurse-In at the H&M a few days ago that saw crowds of nursing mothers gather inside the store to nurse.
“I don’t want to live a world or city where that’s acceptable to shun women for breastfeeding,” said nursing mum Sonia Tilley-Strobel.
As for H&M, their corporate spokeswoman Laura Shankland flew in from Toronto for what could have been a public relations disaster to openly welcome the nursing moms.
“We apologize. And it seems to be a miscommunication and a misunderstanding. Our policy is to allow breastfeeding nursing mothers to breastfeed or express milk freely in our stores,” said Shankland. [CBC]
I can almost see the Breastfeeding is not a crime tshirts now (complete with easy-access flap of course). I’m curious to see the reaction of everyone else regarding these incidents and their escalation (by the Vancouver mother) to the Human Rights Tribunal [24 Hours]. As such, it’s time for another Miss604 poll and feel free to share any other thoughts in the comments.