Tuesday, December 27, 2011

International Nurse-In at your local Target store

Nursing mama Michelle Hickman was harassed while feeding her baby at a Houston, TX Target store.  She is now organizing an International Nurse-In for all Target stores.  There is power in numbers so let's go fight for our rights!

Here is her story...

"I am a mom of 4 who has been harassed and humiliated by Target employees for nursing by infant in their store. On Thursday, November 29th around 7-8pm, I was Christmas shopping with a basket full of items when my infant woke up hungry, so I found a remote area of the store in the ladies clothing department close to the fitting rooms and sat Indian style on the floor next to my basket and a display of jeans and nursed my hungry baby with a blanket completely covering him. Briefly I will say that 2 female employees came and verbally asked me to move. The 2nd one told me that Target employees had been told/trained to interrupt nursing and to redirect mothers to the fitting rooms. Even after I informed the 2nd employee of my legal right to nurse in public she still suggested me moving closer to the jean display, turning to face another direction, and also turn my basket a certain way which would have put me practically underneath the jean display and totally barricaded me in. Employee #2 even hinted in a threatening way “you can get a ticket and be reported for indecent exposure” when nothing was being exposed and there was more boob showing from low cut shirts several shoppers were wearing that night. This does not include the other 3-4 employees besides the 2 verbal ones who were all watching and making a spectacle of my nursing by standing around pretending to do something and giving me mean looks and shaking their heads no back and forth. In a side note not a single non-employee customer ever saw the incident so I’m not sure why the employees were trying to act like I was offending “the public” and that it was their job to step in.

After I left the store I decided to call the Target corporate office during normal business hours the following day on November 30th, and speak to a guest relations person to notify them of the situation and to suggest that they educate their employees as to the legal right I have to nurse in public. The phone call however took a turn for the worse. The lady (I wish I would have gotten her name) told me that she and Target were aware of our legal rights as nursing mothers, but that Target has different policies because they are a family friendly public place. I can’t think of a more family friendly act than breastfeeding and providing the irrefutably proven healthiest diet to my baby. She continued to inform me repeatedly that Target’s policies were different than the law and even went as far to say several times that just because it is a woman’s right to nurse in public even without a nursing cover like I was using doesn’t mean women should walk around  ”flaunting it” and was extremely rude. I also talked to the supervisor of this rude lady and that didn’t get anywhere either.

It saddens me that mothers are being treated this way as if breastfeeding is vile and offensive. If this would have happened to me with the first child I nursed I would have considered giving up on nursing due to embarrassment and that is what concerns me the most. I know that breastmilk is best and that nursing is hard work and a selfless act that mothers choose to do for their babies, and I would hate for this to happen to someone else causing them to give up on nursing. Please help me support the best nutrition for babies and to make a stand in support of nursing in public so this doesn’t happen again. "

Targets statement on the matter is as follows:

"For guests in our stores, we support the use of fitting rooms for women who wish to breastfeed their babies, even if others are waiting to use the fitting rooms. In addition, guests who choose to breastfeed discreetly in more public areas of the store are welcome to do so without being made to feel uncomfortable."
...for goodness sake...fitting rooms while others are waiting?? 

To me, this is inconsistent with the way that Michelle was treated in a Target store!  This is not the first incident that has occurred.  There was one in Minnesota in 2006 and another in Michigan in 2009.

Lets hold Target to their word! Join the Facebook page to see locations and to get more information on the event.  I'll be at ours in Temecula, California.  Hope to see you there! (or on CNN! ;))


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Don't hide your hooters... I won't give it away

I received a lot of things from my friends during my pregnancy.  Gently used items that were given to me out of the graciousness of my friends. (be jealous, I have the best friends in the world) Now that my daughter has outgrown some of these things, or just plain never used them, I'm passing them on to others.  It seems like the right thing to do.  Paying it forward you could say.

One item I received was a brand name Hooter Hider.  Not only did I refuse to use it...

I refuse to give it away. 

1. The name
My problem with nursing covers starts with the name.  Hooter Hider.  Why would a woman, most likely a women has has previously worn a bathing suit or a cleavage bearing v neck tshirt, want to wear what amounts to a frumpy looking, patterned burlap sack with a strap to go around the neck?  The same woman most likely also would wear a form fitting tshirt that shows her shape... including the shape of her breasts.  Yet she feels the need to 'cover' herself with a shapeless flap of fabric while nourishing her baby.  If we were really concerned with 'hiding our hooters', we would do so on a daily basis.  This logic would point you to the fact that it's not our hooters that we are embarrassed to show, or need to hide.. It's the act of breastfeeding itself.  

2. The breast itself...
I always get a kick out of breastfeedingphobes... so offended that a mother is breastfeeding her child in public at the mall, yet walks past this Victorias Secret photo plastered on the wall in a large 14x16 ft fashion.  This person isn't concerned with seeing a breast, they are concerned with the act of breastfeeding.  I've never met a mall security guard that would ask a woman with a cleavage bearing shirt to use a blanket to cover herself while shopping, yet they feel the need to harass a breastfeeding mother who is most likely showing LESS of her breast than half of the women in the building.

Let's explore this logic further.  Facebook has been notorious for deleting breastfeeding photos.  Here is a banned photo:
Oh the obscenity! Photo from here

And here is one that is allowed:

May you not be fooled.
It's not the breast itself we want to hide, it's the act of breastfeeding.

Something as simple as a photo on facebook takes us one step further into redefining normal.  On the other hand, the image of a banned photo or a nursing cover can set us 10 steps back. 

3. The example
When a woman sees you breastfeeding your child with a cover, it reinforces her bias towards breastfeeding whether or not she realizes it.  Maybe she does realize it.  When she looks at you and thinks, 'Should I cover up?  Do I have to cover up also?' you have now successfully planted the seed of doubt in her mind.   Whether or not you know it, you have reinforced the idea that breastfeeding is obscene, embarrassing and should be hidden.  

Not only does this apply to all women of childbearing age, it also applies to little girls.  Children hear example much louder than we do.  A child sees a nursing cover and relates it to everything she has learned in her short life.  She knows that you cover something that you are not allowed to show... something obscene.  So in her mind, a nursing cover means that nursing is obscene or embarrassing.  It's a large message that comes out of a small image.  

4. Modesty
You can be modest and breastfeed.... WITHOUT a cover!  Since a picture says 1,000 words, look and see for yourself... 

This is me, modestly breastfeeding my 3 month old daughter. 

In fact, when I'm in public, I often get approached because most people just think I'm holding her.  When they realize I'm breastfeeding, they're usually embarrassed... despite all of the 'it's okay's from me. :)

My tshirt, combined with my baby's head, cover all skin that could possibly show.  This is not totally by choice... breastfeeding just isn't usually something that requires showing skin.  But when I see a proud mama whip out her boob, I wanna holler REPRESENT!  I love her for that.  I even made some 'Thank You for Nursing in Public' cards to hand out to all of the lovely ladies I see feeding their little nurslings.

While I am so, so, so completely happy that a mom who uses a cover is nursing her baby instead of choosing formula, I have to think that her choice to cover is still detrimental to the fact that breastfeeding is normal, breastfeeding is natural and breastfeeding is OKAY!

So, I will not be giving away my hooter hider and I will go further to ask all breastfeeding mommies to ditch yours and set the example.  Teach your little girls that they can breastfeed wherever they choose and it is the normal thing to do.. not the other way around.  Teach your little boys that breasts are for feeding babies and to fight for the mothers of their children to breastfeed because it's the normal thing to do.

Change starts now, with you. 


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Strawberry Milk

If your kid is like mine, he'll beg you every. single. time. at the grocery store to get strawberry milk.  You know, the nesquick kind that's chock full of sugar and artificial food colorings.  Since I don't enjoy the 'red 40' days we have around here, I've come up with a better solution.

It's one of those things thats so easy it isn't obvious.  I'm an overthinker, I can't help it.

Anywho, guilt free strawberry milk:

1 cup Rice or Almond Milk(I suppose you could use cows milk or soy milk, but we here at the crunchy corner aren't big fans of either)
3 frozen strawberries (fresh works, too :))

Blend and serve.  See?  I told you it's easy.

Big hit