Open Letter To Business Owners Who Shame Nursing Mothers

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Model: Clarissa Schmitz               Photo: Lost Sock Photography
Dear business person who likely was born of a human mother,
I applaud you in your efforts, though misguided, to turn the most natural thing into a “situation”.
Since I assume that you don’t understand (because it can’t be that you simply don’t have the human decency to care about your patrons and their rights), let me walk you through the journey that a nursing mother goes through.
First, you have to make sure that you know what you need to know, accurate information, about nursing.  If your experience is anything like mine, you may be told misinformation like I was by the lactation consultant sent to “help” me at the hospital when I was born.  I was told that my breasts were too big and that nursing would be impossible.
I proved that theory wrong by nursing my now 2-year-old son until he was 18-months-old.
Then, you have to deal with well-meaning family and friends who want to impose their will on you, wanting so badly to touch, hold, and feed your baby, a new toy in their minds.  They say things like, “Why can’t you just pump?” or other things that try to diminish the journey that is rarely easy for any mother in a society that sends formula home with each mother like a party favor.
You know, just in case all of the odds are so stacked against you that you just want to give up and give formula.
And let’s not forget about how we war with our own bodies.  Depending on our stress level, if medical interventions are used, hell, if the moon is not perfectly aligned, many factors, really, can make it hard for a mother to enough milk to satisfy her baby.
Then, there’s the baby’s temperament to contend with.
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For your information, just like a regular human doesn’t like to sit at the dinner table with a blanket over his or her head, a baby doesn’t either, so your suggested to “just put a blanket over them” is often met with a blank stare.
For us, the most important thing is being able to nurse our babies for as long as we would like.
We endure the dirty stares, the rude comments, the perverted gawking.
It comes with the territory, unfortunately, in a society that has turned nature’s food bags into sexual play things.
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But, what we do not expect or deserve is to have employees or owners of an establishment shaming a mother by asking her to leave.
I understand that customers may be making comments.  Maybe some even leave.
I understand that your focus is on your business, not some random mother stirring up your establishment.
But, in the same way that you would allow the person sitting at a table, quietly enjoying his pizza, sit there, even if someone were complaining about not liking it, the same courtesy should be extended to nursing mothers, covered or not.
Sydney Cafe Controversy After Owner Discourages Breastfeeding By Patron
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – FEBRUARY 26: (AUSTRALASIA OUT) Mothers protest outside Satellite cafe where an employee asked a customer to refrain from breastfeeding her baby on the premises, on February 26, 2013 in Newtown, Sydney, Australia. The mother, Regan Matthews told the media she was shocked by the request, and she was tending to the needs of her child. (Photo by Tamara Dean/The Sydney Morning Herald/Fairfax Media via Getty Images).
You know who else complained about people simply existing, being in their presence and disturbing their eyes by doing what people naturally do?
Business owners who put up “No Coloreds Allowed” during the Civil Rights Movement.
Black faces affecting our bottom line?
Gotta go.
Just trample allllll over our constitutional rights.
But, I challenge you, dear esteemed business owner, to be more about the bigger picture than just your bottom line.
Because, the truth is, how you treat one nursing mother can have a lasting affect on how families view your business within the community.
The bigger picture is that there are people out there who’s minds are so warped by society and the media that they see a mother feeding their baby and get turned on or are scared that their children will get turned on or whatever perversion is concocted to make them too offended to avert their eyes, swivel their necks, or walk away.
We will leave out the fact that most of the time, you see more on a woman wearing a bikini, something kids and adults sees at every checkout line, on TV shows, music videos, hell, in pop commercials.
Because Fanta can only really be enjoyed on the beach, anyway.
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So, you may be wondering what you should have done differently, what you can do the next time to avoid this unfortunate situation and even further action, like a gaggle of nursing moms sitting in your establishing and REALLY making a spectacle of your business.
In case you aren’t sure what to say if approached by a patron with their panties in a bunch, here’s a great start:
“I’m sorry, sir or madam, that this person sitting quietly, doing nothing to you, is bothering you.  We wholeheartedly support nursing mothers here and, if you have a problem, you should leave.”
And if that is simply too much to ask, may all of your meals be served on top of a filthy toilet with your head under the hottest wool blanket.
Because, honestly, unless the nursing mother is nursing while screaming like a banshee, punching old people, spitting on children, wielding a gun, or any combination of actually offensive things, leave her alone.
So seriously,
Coco Tubman
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