Hundreds of women and supporters are preparing for a nationwide nurse-in at Applebee’s locations across the country this coming weekend. On Saturday September 29th at 1:00pm we are requesting a nationwide nurse in at local Applebee’s restaurants to promote our rights to choose how we feed our babies and to help educate business and the public about breastfeeding. Even if you are not a nursing mother please go to an Applebee’s and let them know you are there for a Mother’s Right to Choose and let their staff know you support mothers and their choice on how and when to feed their children.
What is the cause of this nurse-in? Dawn Holland was sitting in a booth in the back of a nearly empty Applebee’s in Covington, Georgia last week around 2 o’clock in the middle of the afternoon when she had the cops called on her for merely breastfeeding her child, despite being within her legal rights to do so. Why were the cops called? Because the manager wanted her to get up and move herself and her child to their unsanitary bathroom to breastfeed or leave. Dawn refused to be shamed and breastfeed her child where people defecate. In an act of solidarity with Dawn, supporters are hoping to help spread awareness of the importance of breastfeeding and our basic human right choose when and where we nourish our children. In no situation where a mother is merely peacefully nourishing her child in public, whether it be from breast or bottle, should the police be called on her.
Why attend this nurse-in? For a many reasons. Nurse-ins are a powerful tool for increasing breastfeeding awareness and spreading education in a positive way, helping to decrease the number of negative incidents like this from happening one at a time. Did you know Applebee’s had a nationwide nurse in back in 2007 for a similar incident? Yes, they did. Someone dropped the ball and Applebee’s needs a reminder that their customer base cares about how families are treated. Secondly, nurse-ins help mothers find a community of mothers that help strengthen their confidence in parenthood, enabling them to feel like their choice of child nourishment is nothing to be ashamed of.
Without my first nurse-in experience, I would still be running off to nurse in bathrooms, cars, or fumbling with covers because of my modesty issues and, like so many other mothers, the fear of public scorn or confrontation was always in my mind. Why? Because our culture oversexualizes our breasts long before our babies are born and the importance of their biologicial function is never stressed. Now, I can easily meet my child’s needs in public because I am finally able to feel like breastfeeding is something to feel proud of, not be embarrassed about, because I am doing what is best for my family. Also, because Dawn’s child was a toddler, it is also important to spread the message that breastfeeding past infancy is just as normal as nursing a newborn and should be properly supported in our culture, as it is in countries across the world.
Mothers no not need to hide their nursing relationships with their older babies for fear of public scorn. Another reason nurse-ins are important is to bring awareness to the fact that most states, like Georgia, do not have enforcement provisions which provide legal protection against mothers from harassment. The manager who accosted Dawn did not receive a punishment for harassing her when the manager was at fault.
Do you know your state laws on breastfeeding in public? It is deplorable that only two states have laws that contain a penalty for violating a mother’s right to breastfeed. Under some state laws though, any unwanted touching, like a waiter placing a towel over a baby’s head (yes, that has been done), might be considered assault or battery. But should a negative nursing confrontation ever need to escalate to that level for the mother’s attacker to be given a penalty? No. Every single state that doesn’t provide protection for nursing mothers isn’t doing enough. State legislatures need to gain knowledge that of this important fact and pass laws to provide protection for their nursing mothers.
WHEN & WHERE These peaceful protests will take place at Applebee’s locations across the country on Saturday, September 29th at 1:00 PM your local time.
Facebook Main Event Page: http://www.facebook.com/events/424663000914176/426013307445812/?notif_t=plan_mall_activity
Facebook Edison NJ Event Page: http://www.facebook.com/events/446857058699797/