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Have You Ever Been Asked To Breastfeed In The Bathroom?

A group of Arizona moms descended on McDonald’s en masse to hold a nurse-in after an employee kicked a nursing mom out.

On August 11, Clarissa Bradford and her kids were asked to leave a Phoenix McDonald’s when Bradford began nursing her 6-month-old baby. The restaurant has apologized, and says it won’t happen again.

But about 100 women turned out for the breastfeeding demonstration all the same. The protest wasn’t targeted so much at McDonald’s as at the mixed public reaction to the story. Commenters on the Internet and talk radio suggested women should not breastfeed in public. Many thought nursing moms should feed their babies in the bathroom if they must do it at all.

As one mom said, “Would you want to eat in the bathroom? That’s disgusting.”

It is. It’s also a pretty common request to nursing moms.

I’ve been breastfeeding in public for six years. I’m not shy about it. I nurse on airplanes and at restaurant tables and in city parks. I’ve never owned any of those special cover-up devices I see women wearing these days. Most of them weren’t on the market when I started. I’d throw a receiving blanket over my shoulder if the noice or light was distracting my baby, but I’ve never worried about my modesty when nursing.

Which is to say, I have flashed a lot of boob at a lot of strangers over the years.

Only a tiny handful of times has anyone asked me to cover up or take it elsewhere. At the Museum of Science, in my daughter’s first daycare and at a children’s clothing store. These are, notably, all places that kids and mom’s congregate. Places that, for the most party, exist to serve children and their mothers.

McDonald’s could be seen in that light too: it’s a restaurant with a playground attached, famous for their kid’s meals. Clearly they value their tiny customers.

Why are places designed for kids the least tolerant of public breastfeeding? The daycare director actually had the nerve to tell me I had to nurse in the toddler bathroom and not in the cozy rocking chair in the reading nook outside my daughter’s classroom because “a child might see you.”

Yes, a child might see me. And while walking around topless is sadly still against the rules for women, feeding a baby isn’t. It’s a healthy activity that children should grow up comfortable with. Most of them will have kids of their own one day, and those babies will need to eat, too.

Has anyone ever asked you to nurse in a bathroom? How did you respond?

Photo: viralbus

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