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Breastfeeding Showdown On A Detroit Bus Getting Lots Of Attention [video]

By ceridwen |

A mother speaks out and gets some deserved attention.

Breastfeeding in public has been in the news a lot lately- it seems every month or so there’s another incident that gets  major news coverage. But this story is getting a lot of attention, and I wonder if Michelle Obama isn’t watching the youtube video (after the jump) right now.

It involves a Detroit mom, Afrykayn Moon, who was rudely asked to leave a Michigan bus when she discretely nursed her newborn baby in a sling. According to Moon, this is how it started.

“‘What is that you’re holding that way?! I know that’s not a baby…’ she said to Moon, leaning over for a better look.  ‘Ah… is that a titty?!’ Darcell [the bus driver] shrieked.

‘Yes,’ Moon replied. ‘That is my son. I am feeding my son.’

‘You’re going to have to cover that up!’ Darcell ordered Moon, who continued to nurse …. ‘You’re going to have to cover THAT up!’ Darcell repeated two additional times – the order becoming more forceful.”

The mom pointed out that it was her legal right to feed the baby, the argument escalated, the driver asked her to get off the bus and even got uniformed officers involved. Passengers worried they wouldn’t get to work on time when the driver refused to drive. Moon was also with her three year-old and had an hour-long bus ride ahead of her.

Moon stood her ground and is now speaking up about the harassment to raise public awareness. The bus driver has been taken off service until further notice– the SMART bus line issued an apology and made a statement that breastfeeding on the bus is permitted as per Michigan laws.

I felt really sad reading this story. I felt sad for a mom with a nursing baby and a three-year-old who had to endure this kind of hassle. Have you taken a city bus with a three year-old (with stroller) and a two week-old baby lately? She should have been helped, smiled at and encouraged the entire time, if not given an actual medal.

But obviously this is not just about harassment of moms, it’s really about deep cultural ideas about breasts and breastfeeding. When the bus driver called “dispatch” to find out what to do, dispatch told the bus-driver to kick Moon off the bus. This incident shows that we are really divided on this issue, there are deep ideas about breastfeeding being disgusting that still have a strong hold on many Americans.

Here’s Moon’s account of the incident, it’s a great video and gets to the heart of many issues facing new mothers:

Thank you to Peaceful Parenting for bringing the story to my attention. You can read more of the account here.

These ladies are setting a good example: Celebrities who breastfeed in public!

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About ceridwen

ceridwen

ceridwen

Ceridwen Morris is a writer, mother, and certified childbirth educator. She is the author of several books and screenplays, including (Three Rivers; 2007). She serves on the board of The Childbirth Education Association of Metropolitan New York and teaches at Tribeca Parenting in New York City. Read bio and latest posts → Read Ceridwen's latest posts →

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19 thoughts on “Breastfeeding Showdown On A Detroit Bus Getting Lots Of Attention [video]

  1. Paulina says:

    I live in the area where this all took place and heard about this incident earlier this week. Many breastfeeding moms in the area are holding a ‘nurse-in’ like a sit-in only while nursing thier babies, at the bus stop where this incident took place. The worst part of this story is, in my opinion, that the bus driver was also a woman.

  2. Violeta Gill says:

    Awful! People in America need to get over it!! They don’t treat breastfeeding mothers like this anywhere else!! How is gross or sick to feed your own baby?

  3. bwsf says:

    Breastfeeding is pretty much the last fully natural thing humans still do. Why is it treated as if it is so unnatural?! People need grow up, and recognize breasts for what they are (hint: NOT a sex object). If humans weren’t meant to breastfeed, women wouldn’t even HAVE breasts!

  4. summer woods says:

    may daughter is 7/1/2 and I use to have people look at me dirty and say mean things to myself when I was trying to feed daughter and I was covered up so no one could even tell was feeding all you could see was her feet sticking out of the side of the blanket and I had a nuersing shirts on so it was not like you could see my skin this has been going on for years and let me tell you when I got those looks I always tought well you have to eat when your hungery and my baby is hungery so she has to eat Too and she only eat from my boobies what is the problems, it is a natrual thing if it was not god wouldn’t have made it where we produce milk from our tatas to feed our child, people need to get at life. mother have been breast feeding since the being and back then that had nothing to cover up with so what is the big deal , at least we are not just whipping it out for all to see, we have cover ups and shirts to help use not show as much these days and most of the time you can’t even tell , i have no problem with breast feeding it’s a mothers right.

  5. summer woods says:

    it was suppose to say my daughter is now 71/2 but when she was a baby

  6. Ashley says:

    It always blows my mind when crap like this happens. There are state and federal laws that protect a woman’s right to breastfeed in public, yet people are still ignorant of this fact.

  7. Sojourner Marable (@sojournerruth) says:

    Thank you for writing this story. I’m working on an initiative to establish designated lactation rooms at airports across the country. We need to get the message out that nursing in the bathroom is unacceptable. Women deserve a designated, safe and clean place to nurse.

  8. momof3 says:

    BUT if she would have been wearing a see-through shirt with lots of cleavage showing everyone would have inwardly smiled and gladly accepted her choice of attire. people are so brain-washed to think that nursing is disgusting – there are boobs galore on the media and on the street and no one thinks twice. pathetic.

  9. Ellen says:

    It’s great that work is being done to establish lactation rooms instead of using bathrooms, but really the work that needs to be done is to have some sort of public health/public policy awareness campaign to help promote breastfeeding in public. Nursing mothers shouldn’t have to hide in a lactation room! Especially when both federal and state laws are on their side!

  10. Kim says:

    People in this country need to be educated about breast feeding. It is so sad that formula is known as the “right” way to feed a baby.

  11. Jennifer Matos says:

    I am currently nursing my fourth child. She is 6 months old and she, as well as my other children were nursed everywhere and anywhere they wanted. I have definately received looks from some people, but never have I had anyone actually verbalize anything to me in a negative way. It is our right to feed our children in public. That is why there are laws that protect our right. It is just unfortunate that more people are not pro breastfeeding and aware of such laws. I will never feed my child in a bathroom stall. I have used dressing rooms, but only if I was out shopping and there was no where else to sit – not to hide. While it is great that work is being done to have nursing rooms in places, I do not feel that we should have to hide. If people have a problem with me feeding my child in thier view, it is thier problem – not mine. Good for you for not giving in and being made to feel ashamed of!

  12. Diana says:

    if you wouldnt expose your breast any other time why is it ok to expose them because your child is hungry, lets say a man walked on the bus with his private areas exposed , he would recieve public ridicule, both the breast and penis are private areas , so what if one gives nutrients guess what so does the other its called protien. The bus driver obvously recieved complaints, this women obvously refused to cover up her private area, in any convienance store, grocery and restaurant it clearly states no shirt, no shorts, no shoes no service should be the same for every area others use publically especially when with there children voyerism is against the law, i have breast fed in public but have the sense to cover up my private areas as i do not want anyone to feel uncomfortable from my exposed areas, what the flack are clothing made for , to cover up your body if you dont like it move to a nudist colony where both men and women of varying ages from newborn to old age refuse to wear clothing.. and dont bring up other countrys please because this is america, not india,africa or china for that matter and guess what rape happens alot more there it is just not reported due to fear of punishment because guess what happens to rape victims there , they are either killed by there family to return honor, jailed, or murdered, i wouldnt want to report i was raped either if i resided there because nothing is done for them any way and they suffer because of it, not like in america where criminals are punished! i wouldnt want some stranger to get a chance at taking a pic of my exposed breast for them to post on the internet just like i wouldnt leave an expensive stroller out on my porch, why give anyone the chance to take it. the breast is a private thing between you,your child and mate, i dont want my son or daughter to see it, nor would i want any of my children influenced by it like its ok, cover up for peets sake or has modesty gone out the window.breast is best but doesnt need to be show cased for all to see, why should i avoid public areas because a few feel its right to flash there unmentionables out in public. i dont want my children to see examples where voyerism is ok. i have seen women not only expose one breast but both while breastfeeding i have also seen people change there children in public right on restaurant tables, so if its ok to flash whats next, men flashing there penises and arses too? children running naked whatever get over your selfs and your individual entitlement at the expense of others.

  13. just me says:

    Lol!

  14. cover up please says:

    I don’t want to see anyone’s boobs, when I’m out taking a stroll with my kids. Buy a cover up, breastfeeding is wonderful for you and your child, but it makes everyone around you uncomfortable when your boobs are exposed. Also breasts are sex objects and always will be, just ask a man! Lol! If they weren’t sex objects, no one would ever wear shirts.

  15. Na Tasha Lowe says:

    I agree with her story but she really needs to support her newborns head better!

  16. Diana says:

    plus i wouldnt want my man to see your breasts, nor would he, i remember one halloween in the year 2007 me and my fiance went to a convienance store and this women wakd in only wearing mesh you could see everything the store clark didnt notice until he looked up and refused service she was swiftly arrested upon leaving because the cops showed up to get there own snacks what upset me was my son who was 1 yrs old saw that crap, you cant walk around naked or exposed. unless you live in a nudist colony.and fyi alot of crap happens at nudists colonys like rape, molestation etc so get it out of your heads if flesh was made more availabel things of the nature like rape wouldnt happen.just because breasts are exposed in the open does not make them less of a sex object. they are a sex object, they are a feeding source, they are your personal areas, not meant to be publically viewed by others, why wear clothing if your not going to use it all the time. why be half assed modest if your not even going to discreetly breast feed while in public? i dont want my child to see you as an example that voyerism is ok, i dont want my child to see your breasts just like i dont just like my man doesnt so keep them to your self. i am not saying breast feeding is wrong i am saying publically exposing your self is

  17. Maria says:

    @Diana: I haven’t heard that argument used ever, comparing breastmilk to semen! WOW. so you get your protein from a penis? I don’t think many people get their daily allowance of protein that way. whereas breasts were MADE to feed babies. Your poor child will have the same sad opinion of breastfeeding because you choose to sexualize it. You say breast is best but you sure don’t sound like you did it yourself, for sure your child will not think positively of it. If a guy arrived on the bus with his penis hanging out, that IS indecent exposure. If a woman breastfeeds her baby on a bus, that’s FEEDING her baby. She’s not having an orgasm on the bus for godsake. But then again, you’re so uptight i don’t think you’ve ever had an orgasm. Also, you sure know a lot about nudist colonies. Have you ever been to one?… Really? No? So then, maybe you should stop making up stories.

  18. Diana says:

    lol it was a comparison in terms of nutrients i dont give head thankyou very much, and that is a double standard so its ok for a women to expose her breast, a private area but not ok for a man to expose himself only because hers is used for a child? bull shit! cant wait for this to backfire when men start screaming for rights to publically expose themselves .

  19. Kelster says:

    Diana,
    The lady did not walk onto the bus with her breasts hanging out. Did you listen to her story? You advocate covering up. Well, she had her child in a Moby Wrap. In fact, the bus driver did not even know what was happening she had to really look hard to notice that there was a baby being fed. She can feed her child with the same amount of breast showing as that which shows when people are walking along the beach and wearing extremely low cut tops. She isn’t flashing her areolas at the bus.

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