“Brittany Warfield was nursing her beautiful 7 month old daughter on a bench right outside Hollister in the Houston Galleria. The store manager came out and bullied the nursing mother by yelling at her to leave. She was humilated and embarrassed. No mother should EVER feel that way. Breastfeeding needs to be supported and encouraged to ensure a nursing mother’s success. It is also our right as women to nurse in public. So come on out, bring your baby and lets show our support for not only this mother but ALL mothers and their right to nurse their children when ever and where ever that may be. Let’s make sure not one more mother ever has to feel this way again.”
From the Nurse in @ Hollister Galleria Store and Nationwide Facebook Event Page
When Brittany was bullied for breastfeeding her infant, and yelled at to leave the Houston Galleria Hollister store by one of the store managers, it demonstrated a deep-seeded cultural belief that breastfeeding is inappropriate in public – a pervasive opinion that threatens our nation’s public health by criminalizing a perfectly normal and necessary activity – nursing a child.
Nursing is Normal
Nursing is like breathing, walking, or sipping a cup of coffee. It’s normal, natural, and there’s nothing inappropriate about it. But still, there are many reported cases every year of women (and their children) being discriminated against, bullied, and harassed by individuals and employees of businesses like Target and Applebees – for breastfeeding. These incidences keep happening, even though breastfeeding openly, in public, as needed by the child, is legally protected in 45 U.S. states
Another example of how uneducated our culture is on breastfeeding is the volume of reported cases that do not receive public attention: Best for Babes recently started a Hotline for moms who are harassed for nursing in public, and within the first week, 8 cases were reported to the Hotline. It’s incredible how uneducated the public is on the legal and human rights of a mother and her baby to nurse, and how pervasive the thought that nursing is somehow an inappropriate or inherently “private” act . . . nursing is normal, and I wish that everyone could understand that.
Bullying is Not OK
Even if an individual doesn’t understand that nursing is normal and not inappropriate at all, I am struck by how eager our culture can be to bully and harass. What happened to Brittany and her children at the Galleria Hollister was mean spirited, unprofessional, and rude. Simply put, bullying and harassment is NOT ok – no matter how you feel about something.
Still No Apology
What separates Brittany’s case from the others in the recent past is that Hollister has declined to even make an attempt at an apology or movement to rectify their obviously lacking training for employees regarding state breastfeeding laws. Because of this reaction, breastfeeding advocates (including myself) are planning a Nurse-In at the Houston Galleria Hollister and Nationwide, to support Brittany, educate to the state laws that protect breastfeeding in public, and try to show the public that nursling is normal.The Nurse-In will occur on Sat January 5th at 3:00 PM local time.
The Nurse-In will be a peaceful gathering of mothers, nursing babies and children, and our supporters. We hope that it will receive local and national attention and that we can make positive change toward helping our culture respect the human and legal rights of a mother and her child!
If you are interested in participating in the Nation-Wide Nurse in, you can join in the discussion and find Hollister Nurse Ins near you HERE.