We hear in the news about specific places set aside for a breastfeeding dyad, such as in airports - this allows for a mother to seek out a private space if needed. It also allows for a private space for breastfeeding moms who use a pump to express milk for their babies. Some retail establishments create mother/baby spaces also - some places that come to mind for me are Nordstrom Department Store at Somerset in Troy and Modern Natural Baby Store in Ferndale. We have to remember; however, that wherever we have people, we have nursing moms ! Libraries, sports stadiums, zoos, malls, restaurants, farmers markets, amusement parks, outdoor festivals, concerts, churches, schools, doctor office waiting rooms……nursing moms are everywhere in Oakland County ! And breastfeeding moms are hopefully not feeling as much pressure to nurse in private - their cars, a restroom stall, someplace hidden, with OR without a cover. Moms have the choice of where to feed their babies based on their comfort level.
Target was in the news recently for a section of their employee handbook addressing breastfeeding customers - the policy allows for a nursing mother to be given a fitting room in order to privately feed her baby, even if others are waiting for rooms. It tells employees NOT to approach a nursing mom unless she requests assistance. These types of policies are needed in order to remove personal bias that employees may have or due to employees who are uneducated about the rights and needs of a nursing mother to feed her baby.
I applaud all businesses and organizations who recognize the needs of nursing moms and work to create a breastfeeding friendly place and I encourage them to reach out to the Oakland County Breastfeeding Coalition if they want more information on how they can further support nursing moms.
I am hopeful for our mothers and babies in Oakland County, that as breastfeeding is normalized through the efforts of mothers and organizations, that these breast-feeding "couples" can go about their days not having to worry about their ability to safely feed their baby, to feel supported, to be encouraged, to be protected from harassment, to be applauded by their communities ! From Royal Oak to Pontiac, from Oxford to Bloomfield Hills, let's create communities that support mothers and babies and their right to feed at the breast.
Where's Breastfeeding? Everywhere!
Marisa Prince is a mother of 3 who recently relocated from Ferndale to Ortonville. She is a La Leche League Leader who provides free mother to mother information and support to expectant and nursing moms. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.