Five reasons why it's perfectly okay to breastfeed in restaurants
Annnnnnd Chick-Fil-A is in the news again...
In yet another demographic-alienating screw-up, an employee at a Tennessee Chick-Fil-A approached a woman who was breastfeeding in the store's play area and asked her to cover up. The woman said didn't want to throw a towel over her child because the hungry tot would just push it away -- and by law she didn't have to cover up, anyway, because breastfeeding is perfectly legal in Tennessee. With or without cover.
The Chick-fil-A employee apologized. Smart move, because Chick-fil-A is obsessed with reminding us how family-friendly it is. And that means it should be best friends with breast-feeding mothers. Here are five reasons why:
Give 'em a couple weeks before they are ready for chicken sammies.
5. Babies need food!
There is a stage between birth and Happy Meals in which an infant receives nourishment through either breast milk or formula. It's generally accepted among pediatricians and parents alike that except for certain circumstances, breast milk is better for babies. Breast milk is produced in and is expressed through...you guessed it!... breasts! The easiest and most convenient solution to the infant-feeding dilemma is to put a baby's mouth on a nipple, and let nature do the rest. Yes, a mother could use a breast pump and place the milk in a bottle for on-the-go feedings. She could also use formula for dining out.
But she gets to make those choices for herself and her child, and the possible mild discomfort of peeping bystanders -- especially in family restaurants -- shouldn't be a factor in her decision-making process.
4. Boobies aren't just for oogling...no really, they aren't
Oogling boobies is a time-honored pastime in our culture, but it never hurts to remind both men and women that fun-bags are also milk-bags, and what is visually appealing in non-food-producing titties does not automatically become disgusting and abhorrent in breasts that are fulfilling biological functions.
If it's totally cool to dine at restaurants like Hooter's, Twin Peaks or Tilted Kilt where you get to see everything but nipple, then a little snippet of nipple should be okay, especially when the nipple is doing a job way more important than bringing you bad hot wings and pretending to like you.
This is actually kind of adorable!
3. It's not indecent exposure -- unless you are an idiot
What is decent and appropriate with bare body parts is subjective, but there is a world of difference between a drunk girl flashing her mo-mos in a restaurant and a woman freeing up a milk nozzle for a hungry kid. Drunk girl is trying to get attention -- an effective method, to be sure -- and nursing mom is trying to discreetly make sure her infant gets dinner. Mom isn't trying to be indecent, and it's unlikely that she is going out of her way to expose her milkers to everyone within a ten-foot radius.
If you are someone who is offended by the sight of a breast, you could just utilize the age-old solution called "look away," eat your dinner -- and and everyone wins.
"We'll have the number two."
2. Babies should not have to dine in the can
Most restaurants do not have lounges with porta-feedies set up where new mothers can do their business. So they usually have two choices: breastfeed at the table, or use the bathroom. Restaurant bathrooms are not always the ideal model of order and cleanliness, while some have chairs most do not, and forcing a woman to feed her baby while sitting on a toilet is not only gross but pretty dehumanizing as well.
Do you want to have your meal on the commode? Then why should little bitty people have to?
Stick to making these, Chick-Fil-A.
1. Because following Chick-Fil-A's example is a bad idea for other restaurants
The mother breastfeeding at Chick-Fil-A was actually doing it in the play area of the restaurant, the best possible place to be unobtrusive and be surrounded by other customers with kids. The employee asking her to cover up was in the wrong, the manager did apologize, and the resultant nurse-in was peaceful and without incident. But it shouldn't have happened in the first place, and with all the controversy Chick's has been collecting over the last few years, and all the insanity about policing women's bodies that has been saturating the media lately, it seems like a winning PR strategy to observe whatever Chick-Fil-A is doing -- and do the exact opposite of that.
Chick-Fil-A does two things well: produce fried chicken sandwiches and piss people off. And only the first one is going to make it money in the restaurant business.
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