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