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.
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.
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.
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.