The Great Nurse-In

August 4: Save the date

A peaceful nurse-in will be taking place August 4 on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building to raise breastfeeding awareness as well as support and empower nursing moms.

Read on to learn about what prompted the nurse-in and how to join in.

Mark your calendars — on August 4, breastfeeding moms and their supporters will descend upon the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building for a peaceful nurse-in. In the Washington, DC area? This is an excellent opportunity to help raise breastfeeding awareness.

The origins

The Nurse-In

Program events and activities are scheduled from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday, August 4, 2012. The program will include a main stage with keynote speakers and entertainers, centers with breastfeeding support activities, opportunities to share stories and experiences and other family activities for all attendees. Rachel expects around 500 participants to partake, and if you’re a breastfeeding advocate in the area, why not stop by?

The Great Nurse-In was prompted by a number of individual mothers who have been harassed or embarrassed for breastfeeding their babies in public (such as the mothers at Target and at an Ohio water park). While most publicized breastfeeding-in-public stories resulted in local nurse-ins, Rachel Papantonakis, founder and lead organizer of the Great Nurse-In, wanted to do something on a larger scale.

“While the events planned in response to many of these individual incidents have their merits, I thought having a proactive, positive event would also help the cause, where we're promoting public breastfeeding as a whole,” she told us. “Our goal is to empower and support current and future nursing mothers, and to educate and engage non-nursers. We aim to remove the social stigma of public nursing so that all families can make the feeding decisions that work best for them without the fear of public scrutiny.“

Breastfeeding obstacles

Mothers face countless obstacles that their grandmothers may not have faced, especially issues surrounding nursing in public. “We hear that we should exclusively breastfeed until 6 months and then nurse until at least a year as solids are introduced, but since the United States, in general, has woeful maternity leave policies, we have to be away from our babies far too soon, which can cause strains on nursing relationships, work dynamics and other aspects of our lives,” Rachel said. “Somehow, particularly in the United States, it became socially unacceptable to feed our babies the way our bodies were made to do it.”


"We're showing other moms that it can be done."

Rachel shares the goals of many breastfeeding advocates — that a federal law be enacted that makes provisions for workplace standards for breastfeeding and pumping, improved maternity leave, public breastfeeding protection with an enforcement provision and breastfeeding education funding.

“By doing the Great Nurse-In, we're showing other moms that it can be done, teaching children that this is what our bodies were made to do, and making it a normal sight for non-nursers so that it will be a non-issue in the future,” she explained.

More on breastfeeding in public

Is breastfeeding in a military uniform taboo?
Breastfeeding a toddler and conquering challenges
Target experiences nationwide nurse-in


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Comments on "Breastfeeders planning a nurse-in at the Capitol Building"

Amber August 05, 2012 | 10:38 AM

I'm a breastfeeding mom and this really gets on my nerves. I also have a 7 yr old son who I would like to wait until he is a little older before he sees a boob. You can say that its a natural sight, but in our culture having boobs out in front of men raises a lot of concerns for me. Whats wrong with wearing a nursing wrap? I feel like this is just to start a fight where there shouldn't be one.

Merry Miller Moon July 31, 2012 | 8:36 AM

This is fabulous! I'm still nursing my 21 month old. Breastfeeding is so important for both child and mother! I'm organizing a nurse-in in my town on this exact day! Although it won't be as well attended, hopefully we can help spread the word! :)

Jeanne Medina July 28, 2012 | 9:23 PM

I'm so glad to see this happening. I nursed my kids for 3.5 years each, years ago, when full term nursing was still " in the closet" in the US, (not in other parts of the world). I think the reason people feel weird about it, is that profiteering companies sought to convince all mothers that their milk was better, just like they sold all kinds of other products to people. They were so successful, that generations of people have never even seen breastfeeding, so it's strikes them as odd. Add to that, the fact that the only other context these people ever see a breast, is in the framework of , then that startling scene, suddenly places and innocent baby into that context, and it feels "wrong" to them. The true perversion is actually happening in the person's own mind, which has been twisted into thinking what they are seeing is unnatural, when in fact, the opposite is true. Only by reintroducing the regular sightings of women and babies doing what both their bodies were designed to do, will this "perverted" reaction be corrected.

Tina July 24, 2012 | 9:35 AM

This is great!! I am new to parenthood and breastfeeding, but it's a natural thing and it shouldn't be "hidden" or taboo. Breastmilk is the best nutrients for your baby, hands down. It's weird to me that society has made the act so shameful, in some ways. I'm excited to read about how this nurse-in turns out!!

Julie July 23, 2012 | 10:07 AM

Go nursing moms!!!

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