Courthouse advocates defend public breast feeding

Women nurse a cause

Monday, March 5, 2012 2:07 PM
Last updated 10:50 PM
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A sign hanging near the front steps of the Columbia County Justice Center reading “Don’t Be Lactose Intolerant” reinforced the message a group of nursing mothers hoped to get across to lawmakers Monday.

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Eliza Cagle participated in a Nurse-In in front of the Columbia County Justice Center with her children to ensure breastfeeding in public is exempt from claims of public indecency.  JIM BLAYLOCK/STAFF
JIM BLAYLOCK/STAFF
Eliza Cagle participated in a Nurse-In in front of the Columbia County Justice Center with her children to ensure breastfeeding in public is exempt from claims of public indecency.

About 20 women, a handful of husbands and numerous children gathered at the Evans courthouse for a protest, which was part of a statewide effort to bring awareness to what they say is discrimination faced by mothers breast-feeding in public.

Several signs made by protesters, who called themselves “lactivists,” were taped to garbage cans surrounding the group. One stated, “If adults can eat in public, so can babies.” Another proclaimed breast milk “The Original Happy Meal.”

“I don’t think Evans has ever seen this before,” said local event coordinator Heather Comprosky.

The idea for the turnout started when Woodbine, Ga., mother Nirvana Jeannette was sent out of church for breast-feeding and told by law enforcement she could be arrested for indecent exposure.

As a result, events similar to the one in Evans were held Monday in Atlanta, Woodbine, Savannah and Warner Robins.

“When women are under attack, we look out for one another,” said Andrea McPherson, who also helped organize the Evans event.

The women hope to change state law to protect mothers nursing in public from being harassed or arrested.

Anyone caught nursing in public now faces charges of indecent exposure and a maximum fine of $1,000.

“We’re not strippers,” said Comprosky, who nurses her 18-month-old son, Wyatt. “We believe the law needs teeth.”

Evans resident Kristin Lovell heard about the event on Facebook, where 50 people had confirmed their attendance.

She brought her husband, Steven, and four of her five children she has breast-fed.

“It just seems as the years go by, breast-feeding becomes more taboo,” said Lovell, who nurses her 8-month-old son, Jake. “It’s just a shame that people are being told it’s obscene and not to feed their children.”

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Riverman1
84887
Points
Riverman1 03/06/12 - 05:58 am
3
1
If no arrests were made,

If no arrests were made, maybe it's time to change the law to reflect the reality?

Riverman1
84887
Points
Riverman1 03/06/12 - 06:01 am
2
2
I would have paid money to

I would have paid money to have seen Sheriff Clay Whittle out there supervising deputies doing a mass arrest of those women and their babies, trying to handcuff them and so on. The booking procedures and putting them in jail with their babies would have been hilarious. Somethings just transcend government and law and we had best stay out of it.

Tots
25988
Points
Tots 03/06/12 - 06:53 am
4
4
It was way to cold to have

It was way to cold to have all those babies out there, just so the moms could protest by breast-feeding in public...

corgimom
33144
Points
corgimom 03/06/12 - 06:59 am
5
1
I breast-fed my son in

I breast-fed my son in public, I was discreet, and I didn't have any problems.

This is one of the dumbest laws I have seen. Indecent exposure, indeed!

Having said that, yes, I have seen women nursing toddlers and who were NOT discreet about it. But there are clods everywhere you go, and they are best ignored.

I have also seen, on more than one occasion, women wearing halter tops and dresses, and when they bend over, you can see EVERYTHING. Should they be arrested for indecent exposure, also?

stillamazed
1488
Points
stillamazed 03/06/12 - 08:27 am
5
1
The US is the only country

The US is the only country with a hang-up when it comes to breast feeding. Other countries embrace it and it is a natural thing. I have never seen a woman out and out trying to show her breast while breast feeding. I breast feed all three of my babies, the oldest until she was two and I had a cover to use to hide my breast. It is a mothers decision to decide how long to breastfeed. How could anyone in their right mind think it is indecent for a mother to breast feed a child when that it what a woman's breast were designed for? You see a lot more than that on TV commercials now days, even walking around the mall with young girls butt cheeks hanging out their shorts. Mind your own business, don't look and get over it. Stop trying to run peoples lives, once again the government should have no involvement here.

allhans
23752
Points
allhans 03/06/12 - 09:19 am
5
5
Usually a baby is on a

Usually a baby is on a regular feeding schedule. I see no reason for not planning activities to fit the feeding schedule.
(Unless, you are using the bottle/--) as a pacifier.

agrit
178
Points
agrit 03/06/12 - 09:21 am
6
0
This issue is no different

This issue is no different than a lot of others .. one bad egg ruins the carton ... well in this case, one woman throwing her breast out for the world to see and letting her child crawl in her lap to latch on is the start. Yes, it's a natural act. The act itself is not offensive. Having a woman who has no self respect for herself, her child or anyone around her is. I, like many other women breastfed my children. But unless you saw me pulling the baby out from under my blouse, blanket, towel or whatever, you would never have known. It all boils down to common decency - which is my opinion is sorely lacking in today's society.

Magpie
77
Points
Magpie 03/06/12 - 09:46 am
6
0
I feel that breastfeeding

I feel that breastfeeding should be allowed in public, but it should be done discreetly. My children were bottle babies, but when I had to take them with me I did so after they were fed, changed and hopefully asleep. I wasn't one to stick a bottle in the baby's mouth everytime it squealed. So I agree with the post about scheduling. Sometimes though, stuff happens and theres just no other way around it and you have to feed the baby. What's wrong with finding an out of the way spot to sit and feed the baby? Not the restroom though because that a nasty place. I wouldn't eat in the restroom either.

JSCDL
0
Points
JSCDL 03/06/12 - 10:08 am
2
1
Fundamentally, it all boils

Fundamentally, it all boils down to whom the focus is on. Some men (and women) become uncomfortable when they see a naked woman’s breast. To them, a woman’s breast is part of her sexuality. They cannot be faulted for this. Like it or not, that is the product of advertising, media and it is an underlying facet in American culture. However, they can be faulted for their actions concerning this reaction. People have become so focused on how THEY feel and what makes THEM uncomfortable, they lack the ability to see the bigger picture and understand that it’s not about them or even the mother really, it’s about the rights of the baby. A baby should have the right to eat and drink when and were they are hungry and thirsty, and not banished to dark corners, cars, and bathrooms. When the focus is on our tiniest citizens, whose voices cannot yet be heard, instead of the disturbingly increasing focus on the self-centered and egotistical, breastfeeding takes on a different hue. It takes a village, right?

GaStang22
910
Points
GaStang22 03/06/12 - 10:16 am
3
2
Little Lamb and the rest of
Unpublished

Little Lamb and the rest of you, why do HAVE to do it? No one said only feed your kid at home. What do you do when a breastfeeding mom goes to work, dad has the baby for the day etc.....You let the baby starve?? No valid argument to justify the moms who refuse to be discrete and tasteful, just attention hounds....period!!!!

GaStang22
910
Points
GaStang22 03/06/12 - 10:21 am
2
2
Amen agrit!!! Thats the whole
Unpublished

Amen agrit!!! Thats the whole point. And rather than educate moms or address the few rotton eggs, protest a law that isn't even used?? I wish mom's like you would protest against the ones like little miss pink shirt and others with no respect for themselves, others and their children for them to stop protesting dead laws and focus more on educating and calling out the ones that make respectable nursing moms look bad. I would love to join that one and so would many others!!!!

GaStang22
910
Points
GaStang22 03/06/12 - 10:26 am
4
3
JSCDL, good post but it works
Unpublished

JSCDL, good post but it works both ways.... you left that detail out. Some of those nursing moms become so wrapped up in me me me they lack the ability to see the bigger picture and understand that it’s not about them, its about being respectful to your fellow citizens, yourself and your children. Why can't it be done discretely and/or a cover? And to top it off they get attitudes from just a glance from someone who is uncomfortable, putting their child in a possible dangerous situation. Like the mom in target, rather than go to the appropriate authorities and media make a scene and have the cops called. Make snide remarks back to the people who give you dirty looks. If it was all about the children, they wouldn't go there!!!

JSCDL
0
Points
JSCDL 03/06/12 - 01:37 pm
1
0
GaStang22 - yes, I agree

GaStang22 - yes, I agree completely with you that it must go both ways. "Everything in moderation" usually works extremely well in most situations and this is no exception. I believe most mothers are willing to use a cover and most of the population is willing to accept breastfeeding like that. The outliers are always where contention comes from.

GodisSoGood
899
Points
GodisSoGood 03/06/12 - 01:53 pm
1
2
seenit84---bottle fed babies

seenit84---bottle fed babies are just as healthy. My children were bottle-fed, and never had any sign of an ear infection or infection of any kind until they were 3 years old. People like to make us think that breast-feeding is always best. My children are proof that formula is not a bad thing.

GodisSoGood
899
Points
GodisSoGood 03/06/12 - 01:54 pm
3
0
teenagers see more from girls

teenagers see more from girls in skin-tight pants and tops than anyone sees from a mom who is breastfeeding.

allhans
23752
Points
allhans 03/06/12 - 01:59 pm
4
0
I am still admiring Retired

I am still admiring Retired Army's blind father who raised a family....
That is awesome.

Tots
25988
Points
Tots 03/06/12 - 07:50 pm
0
0
Corgimom@5:59am-Very good

Corgimom@5:59am-Very good post..

Gastang22,and JSCDL -also good post/comments,you two "GET IT"...I don't think some do....LOL!

agrit@ 8:21am-one of the best..

itsanotherday1
43613
Points
itsanotherday1 03/06/12 - 02:41 pm
2
0
"Fundamentally, it all boils

"Fundamentally, it all boils down to whom the focus is on. Some men (and women) become uncomfortable when they see a naked woman’s breast."

It is (or should be) completely contextual. There is nothing sexy or erotic about a lactating breast with a baby attached to it. As I said, I've not seen one flopped out for all to see since I was a kid (more common then), and I've seen a LOT of women breast feeding in airports during my travels on business. The only way one would even know what was going on is to look square at the mother/ baby sitting there.

GaStang22
910
Points
GaStang22 03/07/12 - 12:51 am
1
0
Thanks JSCDL and Tots. Thats
Unpublished

Thanks JSCDL and Tots. Thats all I'm trying to say. Compromise and both sides do their part not to infringe on the other and this would all be a lot smoother. Some people want to throw it all up in peoples face with such attitude is creates resentment. What's the point in that and what good is it doing anyone as a community really???

lukem2006
0
Points
lukem2006 03/18/12 - 01:25 pm
0
0
I have a friend with a 15

I have a friend with a 15 year old son who has more sense than those of you against breastfeeding in public. To him it's the same thing as putting a bottle in the kid's mouth. Breastfeeding is nothing like peeing, as one poster tried to compare... one is a waste product, the other is the only source of nourishment for the baby. There is nothing sexual about breastfeeding... it does not serve a sexual purpose to feed baby.

Furthermore, you see more on a woman's body at the beach than you do when she is breastfeeding at the store/restaurant/park/etc. So what does anyone care?

As for the self-respect comment... women have enough self-respect to perform the function their body was created to provide for their children. Humans are the ONLY mammal species on this planet that choose not to perform this function for all our offspring. That should tell you something.

AutumnLeaves
8005
Points
AutumnLeaves 03/19/12 - 07:11 pm
0
0
All my children were

All my children were breastfed up to 1 1/2 years old, and they are all intelligent, high achieving, healthy and well-adjusted adults now. I rest my case, but I'll add anyway: There was always somewhere I could discretely and quietly breastfeed EVEN in church! And never the bathroom! Sometimes, in decent weather, I could breastfeed in the car if necessary, but it wasn't usually necessary.

caylasmommy
0
Points
caylasmommy 03/20/12 - 06:46 pm
1
0
i am very annoyed by the "go

i am very annoyed by the "go to the bathroom" to feed your kid comments. dude, how about i make you a nice dinner, then serve it to you on the toilet?

seenitB4
88060
Points
seenitB4 03/20/12 - 07:25 pm
0
0
caylasmommy....I agree with

caylasmommy....I agree with you on that...eat on the toilet should change some minds.

KSL
131091
Points
KSL 03/20/12 - 08:43 pm
0
0
Years ago, I knew of a woman

Years ago, I knew of a woman who breast fed her child until he was off to school. The kid would get in his mother's lap and unbutton her blouse. Talk about disgusting and just plain sick. I breast fed my two boys, but never in public. Had to switch them both to bottles before I wanted to (one because I had to leave him with my mother while I went on a necessary business trip with my husband and one because a thoughtless neighbor came over to my house with a child with chickenpox in tow. I feared my 3 month old and my 2 year, 3 month old might get chicken pox. They didn't, but I got shingles and my ob-gyn and the pediatrician said it was way too dangerous for me to continue breast feeding my son) but not before giving them enough immunity to make it an entire year without getting sick.

missvluvu
0
Points
missvluvu 04/03/12 - 03:13 pm
0
0
This whole article just

This whole article just caught me off guard, “Anyone caught nursing in public now faces charges of indecent exposure and a maximum fine of $1,000.” Seriously!
I have some issues with the mindset of some of you and issues with the person who wrote this article. 1st of all, this is not Georgia’s Law of breastfeeding. While breastfeeding laws vary from state to state, Georgia’s law is not stated above. I genuinely believed those moms, and me, just wanted it to have more clarity. Correctly, Ga. Code An. § 31-1-9 states:
The breast-feeding of a baby is an important and basic act of nurture which should be encouraged in the interests of maternal and child health. A mother may breast-feed her baby in any location where the mother and baby are otherwise authorized to be.
Whereas, a more understandable law from South Carolina Code Ann. § 63-5-40 (2005) states:
.S.C. Code Ann. § 63-5-40 (2005) provides that a woman may breastfeed her child in any location where the mother is authorized to be and that the act of breastfeeding is not considered indecent exposure.
People in today’s society need a better understanding of breastfeeding. 1st of all it is not a lewd act to nurse, whether it’s in public or private. Why should a mother be forced to leave an area she desires to feed her baby. How would you feel if you had to eat in a bathroom every time you go out in public? How would you feel if people looked at you in a bizarre way every time you eat? How would you feel if someone passed a law stating that how you eat in public is indecent exposure and if caught you would be fined? When you are ready to eat, you are ready to eat. If you are in a place where you can eat, you will eat there. So if the mom and baby are out in public and baby is ready to eat, baby is simply ready to eat, and she should be able to feed her baby/child without being under attack. The mom shouldn’t have to find a disgusting, unsanitary bathroom to go to, an undisclosed private corner so (You) wouldn’t get offended, or all the way home to feed her child. Come on, “It's just breastfeeding people”.
People in today’s society need to get off the mindset that breast are only made for a man’s pleasure, to market wings, and/ or to amuse people. They have the capability to serve dual purposes as well some of our other body parts. When you are using your breast for your husband’s desire, that usage is a sexual component of foreplay. However, when you are using your breast to nurture, comfort, and feed your child it’s different. We are giving our child vital components only found in human milk, we are simply providing our child with the best nutrition for them. Why not give them something that is easier on their little tummy and that is so valuable in healthier growth and development of their body and brain? That is simply what it is used for at that moment. The two functions of breast do not cross. Think about it. On the other hand, for the negative minded people, just leave it alone.
It’s sad to see that in the United States, we just don’t get it. We are missing all the benefits of breastfeeding for our babies, our women, and our environment because people can’t get pass the sexual connotation that our society has placed on a woman’s breast. It’s sad that we continue year after year to miss the benefit to decrease obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancers, for our babies because our society put the title “Shameful” or “Indecent Exposure” on the act of the most preferred way on infant feeding. We also miss the environmental benefits of less tin, paper, aluminum and plastic in landfills and/or less water and air pollution from the formula making factories. Oh and not to mention the $13 billion annually in medical hhealth cost that America could have saved if we breastfed our babies. Sadly because of situations like this, the once a proud breastfeeding mother was probably ridiculed for nursing in public or breastfeeding period and never tried or gave it up way too soon.
The uninformed says it’s a lewd act, it’s disgusting, its uncivilized, and/or its attention seeking to nurse in public. I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but as a former breastfeeding mom of 2, for 2 ½ and 2 years, I wasn’t thinking like you. I was thinking hey this is FREE, this is lowering certain cancers for my baby and me, and I’m decreasing my child chance of having respiratory issues, digestive issues, and/or ear infections. I’m also protecting them from SIDs, becoming obese later on in life, and developing Type 2 diabetes. I was thinking that I’m helping in my child’s Brain development, Vision development, and Oral development. It didn’t cross my mind that by me discreetly breastfeeding my child in public offended you. While on the other side of the park or church, this DD woman, wearing a deep cleavage shirt exposing 75% of her breast got praised for “Rocking that shirt!” As they would call it.
I hope you remember the reasons for breastfeeding and don’t inconvenience a mother and child cause of your personal opinions. Just turn your head and let a mom and child be. Not only do I recommend breastfeeding, but according to CNN, the Center for Disease Control, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the World Health Organization, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist, and our 1st Lady Michelle Obama recommends it exclusively for the 1st 6 months of an infant’s life. After that, AAP recommends at least 1 year and the WHO recommends it up to 2 years and beyond. As a breastfeeding mom of two that nursed everywhere my kids and I went with no shame, I encourage moms to continue to stand up and the unsupportive people to step down. America we need to stop insulting, troubling, and discouraging breastfeeding amongst our society and in public. Together lets support, promote, and encourage our more breastfeeding and the moms that chose to do so.

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