Breastfeeding Moms Demonstrate In Peace

A nationwide nurse-in was held Dec. 28 at Target stores in response to the troubles a Houston-area mother experienced when she was nursing her baby in public. We spoke to several mothers who participated to find out how it went. Read on to discover more about why the nurse-in was held and why mothers everywhere are passionate about feeding their baby the way nature intended.

Target nurse-in

The story

As we shared a few weeks ago, Houston mom Michelle Hickman was breastfeeding her infant son at Target on Nov. 29 when she was reportedly approached by a store employee and asked to breastfeed in the changing room. This confrontation went against corporate policy, which reads that changing rooms are available for nursing moms but customers are also allowed to nurse discreetly in public if desired.

Michelle then had a less-than-satisfactory telephone exchange with corporate headquarters after leaving the store and launched a Facebook page, planned a nurse-in and quickly gathered over 6,000 followers.

Nationwide nurse-in

A nurse-in is a peaceful public gathering of breastfeeding mothers who desire to demonstrate that nursing in public is acceptable and legal in all 50 states in the U.S. It usually happens at a business in response to an incident like Michelle went through to bring awareness to the company in question, educate employees who may not be clear on company policy and normalize breastfeeding in public.

"It was awesome to see so many moms united for a cause."

Anna, who lives in Texas and has two children, participated in the nurse-in that occurred in Webster, where the original incident took place. "I attended this nurse-in because I want to see breastfeeding fully accepted by society -- not just as the 'best' way to feed a child, but as the normal way," she said. "There were over 50 mamas there this morning, and a bunch of kids! It was awesome to see so many moms united for a cause."

Laura, mother of one, went to the Target in Vestal, New York, to nurse her baby. She attended to hopefully change the way people see breastfeeding after she had a bad experience of her own. "I nursed my baby at a diner months ago and was yelled at by a man and his wife," she reported. "I never want this to happen to another mother. I will never forget how they made me feel and every time I breastfeed in public I think of that event."

Robyn, mother of two, attended the nurse-in at her local Target in New Braunfels, Texas. "I participated so that I can tell Emily that at one point in time in America, feeding a hungry baby by breast was considered to be something that should only be done in hiding, and that she and I helped change the stigma," she shared.

Ginni, also from Texas, went to a small nurse-in with just a couple of other mothers. "We went over to the baby section and nursed standing and in the display rocking chair," she explained. "The only reaction we got was a glance here and a smile there."

A new normal

The numbers are still rolling in, but many states were represented and Target has surely gotten the point that all of their employees should be trained on their breastfeeding policy. Nurse-ins generally happen on a local level, so this demonstration has far-reaching effects and may bring new awareness to not only Target employees and their customers, but everyone else as well.

More on breastfeeding

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Comments on "Target experiences nationwide nurse-in"

Paala January 01, 2012 | 2:04 PM

Here's the thing. It doesn't matter if people are offended by women breastfeeding in public. It is protected by law. Period. If a woman is harassed for exercising her right to nourish her child where and when she deems fit, it is harassment, plain and simple.

Laura December 31, 2011 | 1:48 AM

I've never had the "experience" of being "disciplined" for breastfeeding in public. I work outside the home and DH has had plenty of experience with taking bottles of pumped milk with him to take the children to their various therapies (autism and ADHD). I recall that with Dear Son, the nanny was spoken to sharply about not breastfeeding. I breastfed DS, but his coloring matched the nanny's more than mine (they were both blondes with green eyes, I have black hair with brown eyes)--too funny when someone "yelled" at her about not nursing, then 5 minutes or so later, I was nursing that baby.

C December 30, 2011 | 3:19 AM

I think that stores do have a right to say whether or not a customer can nurse in the store (though, yes I read the article and this isn't the case with Target). But of course, a company like Target will get complaints. I have talked with a lot of people on the internet and in person about nursing in public. I softened my view from no nursing in public to discreet--though I still prefer if people did this in a private place. But a lack of compromise is not good. I have talked to people who say "Nuh-uh, pulling your breasts out anywhere is gross-especially if they droop!" To people who think that women should be able to lift their shirt and bare their breasts anywhere--and will do it just to troll. These attitudes are not good, either way. You will not make your side look good, forcing things often out the worse in people. While I lean left, I really hate "my side's" sometimes tendency to want to break past rules. Some people I know seem to think because something is too Western or puritan, it is bad. But each culture has its culture, and reasons to doing things the way we do. It would be hard to change the breast from ual to non-ual by forcing it on people. I strongly believe that we evolved to see breasts as ual objects (look it up, I won't go into it here) to some extent. Seeing breasts as ual aren't an entirely modern idea, or only Western. Most people I am close to who have had kids and have breastfed seem fine with keeping it private, using pumps. Don't worry--No one wants your kids to starve. Don't get too extreme on us. Blankets won't suffocate a baby, changing rooms aren't usually nasty. They are nice and quiet! Opposers, soften your criticisms. Everyone, compromise. It is how things work in a civilized world.

Robin Pino December 29, 2011 | 4:50 PM

I know I am going to "OFFEND" a lot of sanctomonious people out there, but this needs to be addressed..First, there are many things that are natural...urinating, defecating, intercourse, ect...But if some man pulled his privates out to urinate in front of my daughter, this would NOT be acceptable..If I decided to have intercourse with my husband in the front yard, we would be arrested..Childbirth itself is "NATURAL", but would you want your kids watching this???You women have too much time on your hands if your only worries are exposing your big, fat, stretch-mark engorged boobs to total strangers...and for the record, I was in the airport with my kids and we were all exposed to a disgusting view of this by a "BREAST-FEEDING EXHIBITIONIST" while we were sitting in a sandwich shop at the airport...It was not y or beautiful and this "LADY" left nothing to the imagination..she also wore an expression on her face that seemed to say "I dare you to say anything..." Now get a life, and cover up your ugly self..Just because something is natural does not mean it shouldn't be private...

Vern Southern December 28, 2011 | 10:20 PM

Hickman's claim of Harassment and Humiliate stuck out most, like something out of a movie. The level of "Voluntary" ignorance here is disturbing to say the least. During my observations in life the vast majority of women who breastfeed in public do a very good job of covering up the process so people hardly notice it. Then there are the few (very few) women who like to thrust their breastfeeding into the faces of other people so they can "Make a stand in support of nursing in public so this doesn't happen again." Hickman's self-aggrandizing is "Much to do about nothing". People poised to be offended. People ready to jump on the band-wagon of so called "Family Values". The perfect opportunity to enhancing and exaggerate their own importance. More proof of this self-aggrandizing is the fact that the Facebook Nurse-in page is a closed group. Only people who agree with them are allowed to be there. How cowardly can they get?

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