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.