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Breastfeeding Moms "Nurse-In" at 100+ Target Stores

In November, Michelle Hickman was harassed and humiliated by Target staff for breastfeeding her baby in one of their stores in Houston, Texas. Yesterday, breastfeeding moms across the United States (and even a few in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada), headed out to Target stores for a nurse-in. In the end, there were moms at more than 100 different Target locations and the participation ranged from one mom and baby pair, all the way up to 40+ moms with babies. Some were nursing one baby, some were tandem nursing an infant and a toddler, and some were former nursing moms or partners of nursing moms who came out to support them.

Here is a video that I put together with photos from some of the nurse-in locations set to music from Moorea Malatt's "Whip It Out: Songs for Breastfeeding".

Here are some pictures of some of my blogging friends at the nurse-ins. On the left is Heather from The Bee In Your Bonnet tandem nursing and on the right is Amanda from Mommies Are Light nursing her newborn.

Was the nurse-in a success? That depends. It did bring out a lot of moms and babies and got a lot of media coverage about the rights of breastfeeding mothers. That is certainly positive. However, Target's breastfeeding policy still leaves a lot to be desired. In particular, the requirement for moms to be "discreet" (Why? By whose definition? What about the not-so-discreet pictures of women in their underwear hanging up in the stores?), when we know that whether and how much to cover should be up to each mom. Read Heather's great post on the problems with the policy for more detail. Also, Target still hasn't apologized directly to Hickman for the treatment that she received.

Ultimately, I think that we need more moms and babies breastfeeding in public, including at Target, every single day. We also need more moms breastfeeding on television, in movies, in magazines, and on websites. Once that happens, breastfeeding in public won't be a big deal or something that people need to be educated about, because it will simply be regarded as normal.

Congratulations to all the Target Nurse-In moms for taking a stand and being part of the positive normalization of breastfeeding.

P.S. To those who are wondering what happened to the Carnival of Toddlers, it will be continuing soon with posts on sleep, discipline, fun and more.

« Creating a Happy, Healthy Relationship Between Your Toddler and Food | Main | Breastfeeding Your Toddler: Nutrition and Nurture »

Reader Comments (58)

[...] posted here: Breastfeeding Moms “Nurse-In” at 100+ Target Stores — PhD in … Tags: advertising, breastfeeding, canada, children, co-sleeping, discipline, election, ethics, [...]

Thank you, this brought happy tears to my eyes <3

December 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKristina C.

What a beautiful video, thank you so much for putting that together.

Big thanks to also to all of the moms who went out and stood up for breastfeeding! (love)

You did a beautiful job with this video. I was at the nurse-in yesterday, but I forgot my camera. What an experience though! I am so proud to have been a small part of this movement.

December 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle Robertstad

I think Target better get the message! Breastfeeding is the most natural gift in the world. Shame on you! The people in Houston should be fired!

December 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCindy j

I nurse when and where my baby needs to eat. To my 4 yr old son it's normal. What's not normal for him is seeing people walking around showing a lot of skin. He doesn't like men to go topless any more than women to be showing a lot. To him, they're naked. I hadn't quite figured that out when we were shopping at Target, "mommy, they're naked." He was referring to the pictures all over the wall of girls in bikinis. So until Target only uses discreet advertising, I will nurse how my baby and I are comfortable.

December 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKerri

Great job, Annie! Love it, and the song!


December 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAdventures In Babywearing

Loved the "snacks in a second" on the wall in one shot! Well done nursing mamas :)

December 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJuliette

I needed to read this. Just finished reading the depressing, ignorant comments on the apology of Nascar driver Kasey Kahne for tweeting disparagingly about a mother breastfeeding in a grocery store. So much work to do before NIP becomes an unremarkable part of our society.

December 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterOlivia

Beautiful video, Annie. It warmed my heart and brought tears to my eyes. There is nothing like seeing a bunch of loving mothers feed their children.

December 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

Fantastic video! Hopefully Target will step up and change their policy (and educate their staff). I hope this also happens when they move here to Canada.

December 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJen

Thank you for posting this! I like to think of myself as a breastfeeding warrior every time I feed my daughter in public.


December 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJenna@CallHerHappy

If I had known about this, I would have been there! My daughter is 34 months and I haven't been able to nurse her in over 18 months - I would have longer if the supply had held up. I did it all across town and in every store without once covering up - and the only kind of weird response came from a friend who seemingly was worried about her boyfriend.

December 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNicole Stockwell

I'm not impressed with Target's family-friendliness at all. My husband was so pissed about them not having a changing table in the men's room OR the FAMILY restroom (and their rude response to his request) that he changed our son's diaper on the checkout aisle. It's amazing how fast a manager will come and see what the problem is when you start doing that in the middle of the day. And six months and emails to corporate later, they still don't have changing tables out where fathers can use them.

December 29, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersharah

i get so angry when anyone suggests moms not nurse in whatever way they feel comfortable... its a breast people... this is what its for. when they start asking young braless girls is see through tank tops and shorts so short i can see their butt cheeks to leave, then maybe they will have their priorities straight. i personally nursed mostly uncovered (my son did not like to eat under a blanket imagine that) and was pleased to encounter no more than a strange look from time to time. i remember walking through fry's on black friday nursing my son while we shopped.

December 29, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjulia nead

Yes, let's promote the normalization of breast feeding, and while were at it let's promote the normalization of sex. Both are healthy and natural. I propose we stage a Target fuck-in to promote healthy sexual views. No need to be discreet with something so natural and healthy, right!?

December 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGerry

Also expelling digestive byproduct is healthy and normal, so I would also like to propose a Target shit-in. Why should I have to interrupt my shopping to drop a healthy natural log in the bathroom where it won't bother anyone? From now on I'm just going to drop my pants in the dvd aisle and cut some dookie.

December 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGerry

Really? Equating feeding a baby with defecating is nothing new. Why don't you come back with something original. In the mean time, our babies will keep eating out in the open just like the rest of the population.

December 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterOlivia

No I'm not equating it with feeding your baby, I'm equating it with you feeling that you have the right to expose yourself in public just because something is natural. Go into the bathroom, go out to your car, use a breast pump. There are many other more considerate options you can exercise rather than exposing yourself in public because you have some sort of entitled Madonna complex. If everyone has to go into the bathroom to do their business so can you.

December 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGerry

Brought tears to my eyes watching all you mamas contribute in this way! I couldn't do what you did, as my children already weaned themselves (at 4.5 and 7.5 years). Every bit of awareness you bring is helping countless children enjoy the benefits of breastfeeding that much longer.

December 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTiffany

Yeah, I feel the same when people suggest I not just piss anywhere I feel comfortable... It's a dick people... that's what its for.

December 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

Yes, that's because your four year old is four. You see, people who don't still eat happy meals know the difference between a bare breast and a bikini top.

December 29, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterted

Also for the love of god, your kid is almost old enough to make a sandwich. Cut the cord lady.

December 29, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterted

your site talks about "parental attachment" and breastfeeding your children up til age SEVEN?! I have full memories from that age. I am SO glad my mothers' breast is not one of them. A seven year old boy will probably be having sexual relationships within ten years.. Shouldn't there be a little more time between breastfeeding and breasts as objects of sexual desire? Though with all your talk of parental and familial attachment, it seems like you are trying to cement a neediness in your children, that I doubt very much results in a normal, well adjusted child with healthy relationships with peers. This seems like it's more about YOUR needs to be needed, than your childs' health.

December 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarie

I see the troll(s) are out already :) I guess that's an indication that this issue is getting the kind of attention from everyone that it needs! Good for all you moms...truly a victory for EVERYONE who doesn't eat in a bathroom stall (which I assume the trolls do?)

December 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

Truly a victory for inconsiderate, entitled women everywhere! Use a breast pump for when you're in public, no one wants to see your mommybags.

December 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPat

@Marie and @Pat... women were among the most voracious opponents of female enfranchisement as well... just because you don't care about your rights doesn't mean I should have to give up mine.

December 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEndre

Please, no one's asking you to give up your rights, they are asking you to have common decency and consideration. I have the right to repeatedly scream fuck in public but I don't because it would make me a jerk. It's really not that difficult to be discreet about your nursing. Stop acting like this is some sort of oppression. You're not Rosa Parks hon.

December 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPat

contrary to common belief a breast is not genetalia. it has no function in actual reproduction. if men with breasts larger than mine can go shirtless in public, then my kid can eat where and when he wants. there is a reason why public urination is illegal and public breastfeeding is not. oh, and by the way, you may be shocked it is actually called a penis.

December 29, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjulia nead

Your husband should have respect for men not wanting to see a changing table in a restroom. It's your right to change him but they're right to my have to see it! Jeez, stop rubbing it in everyone's face that your baby poops/pees. ..Wow, it was hard to be that ignorant. The anti-NIPers work really hard to act the same way.

December 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLeighanne

I dont think she was talking about breast feeding her four yr old. I think she meant her four yr old thinks nothing of her nursing his baby sibling but notices the half naked ads for underwear/bras.

December 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNorth Carolina

You eat in the bathroom? Do you know how much fecal mist you are getting on your food?

December 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJen

I'm a bf mom and my baby has eaten all over the city but I do it discreetly when at somebody's private property. Please don't throw stones at me! Let me put it this way. Yes, it's my right to munch on snacks at Target but when I go to a boutique store I'm asked to leave my coffee/dog outside. A bouncer can deny your access to a fancy dance club and once you are in and have spent money you can be escorted out without a reason. People screaming at each other at the restaurant would be warned by a waiter but parents of a fussy baby can't be reprimanded because "it's just a baby". I saw a sign on a small grocery store: "we do not serve students on a school day".
Again, I'm all for NIP as it creates awareness and we do need to see more bf moms but please somebody walk me through this

December 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterOlga

Oh please. You see more breast from teenagers in scanty tops than you do with a mother breastfeeding. I find it disgusting that so many men scratch their balls in public, but they do it discreetly as they can - you tolerate it and move on.

Grow up.

December 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLise

Definition of a troll - see above. :)

I guarantee people would be a lot more offended if I strapped my pump on at Target. And you'd see my breasts then - you don't when my 2 year old nurses.

December 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLise

Actually, I think pumping in public would raise more eyebrows than just nursing the baby. :D

December 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTopHat

The language in many laws protecting a woman's right to breastfeed in public states that a mother may nurse her baby anywhere that she and her baby otherwise have a right to be. That means if they have a right to be in Target, or the boutique store, or the restaurant, then they have a right to nurse there. The kind of behavior that might get someone kicked out of a bar or restaurant is disruptive behavior. Breastfeeding in public is not inherently disruptive.

December 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNatalie

The problem is, Pat, that there's no single standard for what's offensive in these instances. Some people are offended if they're aware that a baby is nursing, some are offended if they see flesh or if they see a nipple. Who gets to decide what qualifies as discrete? The laws don't take into account the wide spectrum of what may or may not offend people, nor should they have to. You need to accept that the laws are what they are. You may not like it, but they exist to protect mothers and babies. And I'm not sure that you have the right to repeatedly scream 'fuck' in public. You might want to look into that before you try it.

December 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNatalie

Do you remember kissing your parents on the mouth? Was it sexual? Breastfeeding is nutrition, but it is also comfort. Kissing can be sexual, or it can not be. Breasts are objects of sexual desire in some countries, but in others they are just another body part. Some children have sex at 11 or 12; should we stop nursing at one or 2 just in case they have sex early?

Contrary to what people seem to think, moms do not engage in extended nursing for their own needs. If the child said no, the mom wouldn't continue. Some children continue to choose it as a method of comfort.

December 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLise

My husband also hates it when there's no changing table in the men's room. What kind of assumptions go into that kind of design?

December 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNatalie

"Common decency"? Have the young people on the street should show common decency when they get dressed in the morning. Men who think it's cool to ogle women and lear should show common decency. NIP is at least serving a function.

December 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLise


December 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLise

Yeah, nothing like the "wheeze-wheeze" of a pump and a giant piece of plastic attached to a boob to draw attention.

And the trolls...*yawn* Same old tired, ignorant arguments. Seriously, we (breastfeeding mothers) have heard them all before. Not gonna stop us from caring for our babies when and where THEY need it.

December 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterOlivia

Interestingly, there is actually a YouTube video (popped up as a related video to mine yesterday) of a woman pumping while shopping at Target. I support her right to do so, but I wouldn't exactly call it discreet. I think me walking around (or sitting down) with a baby attached to my breast was a lot more discreet than wandering around with two plastic flanges hanging off your breast. Here's the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWDwvqHS7vI

December 30, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Heh, I like that though. It's a nice counter argument for all the people who say, "just pump instead". I think most people don't know what work goes into pumping compared to just nursing.

December 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterOlivia

Wow... i am acctually surprised by how ignorant men are.. and yes i say men because i do not see ONE ignorant comment from a woman! This has nothing to do with you being uncomfortable with seeing a breast, because we all know if a woman walked around topless men would be very happy indeed. It is the fact that you are uncomfortable seeing it being used as it is SUPPOSED to and not just for YOUR sexual pleasure! Grow up and stop being so narsasistic!

December 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCassandra Pettigrew

I would like to take my comment about there not being nay ignorant comments from women. That is wrong... some women are just as ignorant!

December 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCassandra Pettigrew

Given that it's considered a human rights violation to ask a woman to cover up when she's breastfeeding, how can a company get away with effectively saying that in official policy? Can't they be charged over the policy just as much as over an employee saying something?

December 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChristine

Nice video. And I love the concept of songs for breastfeeding. When my older son, who loved to nurse, was a toddler, I used to sing him a song I had composed (called "the other side") and he would sing along :)

December 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChanna

Gerry, you may not have noticed, but we're talking about breasts, which are different from penises, vaginas, and anuses. I strongly recommend that you Google "human anatomy."

December 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

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