Sunday, September 09, 2007

Fun in Arizona

I've been having a blast visiting my friend Jen in Arizona. We went to the Applebee's nurse-out last night with over 100 other people. Even though the sun had set, it was still over 100 degrees! There were several television stations and reporters present. Zari and I made it on channel 5 news last night (twice, if you watch carefully!), and we're on their website too if you click on the breastfeeding feature! We also made it onto the local Fox news. I've also found some newspaper articles about our protest from the Arizona Central and the East Valley Tribune. Note the preponderance of ignoramuses on the AZ Central comments section. Sigh...breastfeeding is not like having sex in public, or like smoking in public, or like peeing in public. It is a legally protected right.

Jen & I (and babies!)
Brief editorial comment: asking a woman who is breastfeeding in public to leave or cover up is analogous to asking an African-American person to please sit in the back of the bus, because someone else is offended by their presence in the front. It doesn't matter how much someone is offended; all citizens are legally protected against racial discrimination. As are breastfeeding mothers. End of discussion. Doesn't matter how much you dislike it, it's against the law to prevent a mother from breastfeeding in public.

We hit the thrift stores yesterday--Goodwill had a 50% off sale on everything in their stores--and I found several nice outfits and pajamas for Zari, plus a pair of sandals and a small backpack. I also found this hiking baby backpack at a consignment store. Zari really likes it, enough to fall fast asleep in it while we were making double chocolate cookies from my all-time favorite chocolate cookbook I Want Chocolate! (ps--you can search for the recipe on Amazon. I don't usually add the milk chocolate chips; I find that the cookies are plenty intense and chocolatey without them.)


  1. Up to this point in my life, I've been fairly conservative in the breastfeeding arena. When my babies were hungry, I fed them, but I generally covered them up, at least as long as they allowed me to. After reading the ignorant comments in the AZ Central, I am astounded at the level of animosity and even hatred directed towards breastfeeding mothers, and I intend to make more of a stand when my next baby is born. I want my children, all boys so far, to grow up realizing that breastfeeding is a completely normal, completely natural part of life, and not something that is to be regarded as gross or revolting.

  2. "Mo. Rev. Stat. § 191.918 (1999) allows a mother, with as much discretion as possible, to breastfeed her child in any public or private location."

    I'm not really sure what to make of this law, though.

  3. Woo-hoo Rixa! :D

    Gotta love the good ol' "breastmilk is poo!" argument. I swear, sometimes I don't know how we evolved out of the Stone Age.

    -Jill (nsi)


    the nurse-in i went to. we had a bunch of proud daddies there. it was wonderful.

    when my mom birthed my sister she was determined to breastfeed her and was continually told she was starving my sister because of this decision. so lame. so lame.


    oops. sorry. here's the rest of the link.

  6. I went to read the comments you provided a link for. I feel like my head is going to explode. I didn't even get past page five. I just don't know how to reach people that insist on being misogynistic idiots.

  7. Yep, it's a great way to raise your blood pressure.

    That Missouri law is ridiculous! "with as much discretion as possible"???!! So who gets to decide what is discreet or not? Sheesh...if I ever move there you betcha that's the first law I would work to get changed.

  8. Exactly, Rixa. It makes me wonder what my rights as a nursing mother really are. It sounds like very up in the air to me.

  9. Here is a link to what all the legislation is in all 50 states - I don't know if Rixa might have posted a link to it before or not - but I never actually knew that there was an established legal right to breastfeed in public - it's probably a good thing to know if it ever comes up.

    That said - I do think that it doesn't seem to be too difficult of a thing for a mother to attempt to cover up in public places - is nursing under a blanket really such a terrible thing to do? This could be something coming from ignorance on my part (I don't have children yet), and if it does negatively impact the process of breastfeeding, then women shouldn't feel a need to cover up. But if it is just to make it so that the baby doesn't have to "suffer the indignity" of eating under a blanket, then that doesn't make sense to me - because I don't think most kids actually develop a sense of dignity (or indignity) until much later in life. The kid probably just cares about being fed.

    Please don't flame me. I'm not wanting to come across as sexist/anti-breastfeeding mother - I just want to know why it is a terrible thing to cover up with a blanket.

  10. I'll try to answer your question about covering up, and other readers please chime in too.

    1) it's hot and stuffy for the baby. Put a blanket over your head and walk around for a while on a hot summer day. Yeah, not fun, right? Neither for the baby.
    2) most babies, after a certain age, will not let you put a blanket over them anyway.
    3) you need to see what you're doing when you have a newborn and are trying to get the latch right. It can take a lot of learning at first before mother & baby figure out how to breastfeed correctly.
    4) it implies that what you are doing is inappropriate or shameful, otherwise why would you be hiding it?
    5) covering up draws far more attention to the act of breastfeeding, than does simply nursing your baby with no cover. I, and many friends, often nurse and people simply think we're holding a sleeping baby. A blanket screams "Hello! A baby is sucking on someone's nipple over here! Don't look!"
    6) we have no other precedents for covering up the act of eating--not for babies who bottlefeed, not for toddlers (no matter how messy they are or how often they chew with their mouth full). Eating is a social act that we do every day, without shame or isolation. It is unfair, as well as illogical, to request mothers who nurse to cover their babies when mothers who bottlefeed are never asked to cover their babies.
    7) Breasts are not inherently sexual; our culture has sexualized them, but they are not sexual organs or necessary parts of reproduction. Their physiological function is to nourish and comfort human babies.
    8) Asking women to cover up while nursing (even though frankly, you hardly see anything) but condoning scantily clad, busty women (look at any cover of major fashion magazines and you'll see a lot more breast than on just about any nursing mom) is a double standard. If anything, we should discriminate against the non-functional display of excess breast tissue (ie, Cosmo or Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition) rather than the functional display while a mother is nursing.
    9) *** In most states, it is a mother's legal right to breastfeed in public or private, wherever she is otherwise allowed to be.*** To me, this is the most significant reason. The law says we can do it--so why should we start whittling away at the law and asking women to do silly, uncomfortable, and counter-productive measures that essentially limit her ability to breastfeed successfully?

  11. I think your best reason, Rixa, is your first one. From personal experience, it gets HOT! when I've covered up my babies while they eat. Yuck! We'd both rather have some air flow, and make the experience much more comfortable and pleasant for both of us.

  12. Rixa, that nurse-in looks like it was so much fun!!

    Rant: Call me dense, but I don't get why covering up is more modest. AT ALL. It's not like I pull my shirt up to my neck. It's riding right above my baby's nose and mouth so she can breathe, covering the upper half of my breast and chest. My nipple is in her mouth, therefore not visible. The rest of my boob is under her head, also not view. The arm cradling her conceals any skin on my tummy or side. What is there to see???? Seriously! What in the world do people get so worked up about? That nursing REMINDS them of a naked breast???

  13. Rixa-- I especially agree with your reasoning about the double standard our society has made regarding breasts ie that it's not OK for people to see them being used to feed a baby (though as Judit said, someone really can't see anything at all) but all the people walking around with them mostly uncovered are just fine. That makes me mad! I didn't even read the comments, just thinking about them makes me angry.

    None of my babies has ever really consented to having a blanket over it while nursing, it's just a pain to try to keep a blanket over them while I'm busy attending to what's really important-- feeding my baby.


  14. Yes, it's not like we go about pulling our breasts out and squirting passers-by! Which would be a really comical sight. Look! Human squirt guns!

  15. I just wanted to add another reason to Rixa's list above...breastfeeding goes far and beyond simply providing food to the baby. The mother's bonding, love, and attention, perhaps I'll call it "soul nourishment" - accompany the act of eating. To me this is another reason I wouldn't cover my child while nursing...I want to make eye contact!

  16. Well well my dear friend Jen, aren't you getting old and sentimental? ;-)
    Do I remember correctly that you once said you didn't find it particularly romantic to breastfeed, simply the only appropriate way to feed an infant? Or it's me getting old and senile hee hee.
    Jesting aside, that is really a good point.

  17. Aw, that is a precious sleeping baby picture!

    If I were nursing, I would have been at Applebee's too!


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