Friday, July 11, 2014

Let's talk breasts! And that nonsense about "Discretion."

First, a funny story:

Usually, when the Wee Boy goes to sleep (around 9:00), so do I. Especially when David is out of town, I have no one to play with, and I'm super-tired. On Wednesday, however, I decided to get a little crazy and go back downstairs for a snack, a glass of wine, and some alone time with a book.

The only thing to eat was an old bag of Trader Joe's vegetable dumplings, so I tossed them in the microwave. Three minutes later I proceeded to burn the hell out of my fingers from the steam on the covered bowl. I ran water over it, sucked my fingers, and nothing helped. Then I remembered that I make this magical elixir called "breastmilk," and I squirted a few drops on my fingers.

Immediate relief, people, IMMEDIATE!

Well ... for about two minutes. Then they started to burn again. I instinctively shoved them in my mouth and then was all, "Why do my fingers taste like ice cream?" And then, aha!!! No wonder The Wee Boy loves nursing so much. It's like ice cream all the time.

I don't know why I'd never tasted my milk before. I mean, I have tasted the milk from several other species, which seems a lot more gross than milk that came from a human.

Anyway, so that's a funny story about breastmilk.

Now a not so funny story that you may have heard about if you're in Louisville and have spent any time on Facebook:

It's gotten 151 shares (so far) because the policy is offensive and illegal.

The story behind the post: a woman was asked to go to the bathroom to nurse (Yes, he said "bathroom" to her, even though KK has special nursing rooms for women who want privacy. That is a nice gesture. I wouldn't use them because it seems unnecessary, but I understand not all women are comfortable nursing in public. Again: choice.) The bizarre thing about this situation is that the woman was actually wearing a nursing cover. There's a photo of her floating around Facebook that I'll post once I get permission (not because of indecency, but because of copyright).

I tried to wear a nursing cover a few times -- it's awkward and the baby hated it. I also can't imagine wearing a blanket over your head in 90+ weather. I mean, what they did was illegal either way, but it's truly odd that they targeted a woman who was using a nursing cover. (Maybe that just goes to show you that nursing covers actually draw more attention to it than just lifting up your shirt slightly.)

Some of you are now going to say, "But private business, but private business!"

You can read Kentucky's law here (text copied below): 
211.755 Breast-feeding permitted — Municipal ordinances not to prohibit or restrict — Interference prohibited.
(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, a mother may breast-feed her baby or express breast milk in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be. Breast-feeding a child or expressing breast milk as part of breast-feeding shall not be considered an act of public indecency and shall not be considered indecent exposure, sexual conduct, lewd touching, or obscenity.
(2) A municipality may not enact an ordinance that prohibits or restricts a mother breast-feeding a child or expressing breast milk in a public or private location where the mother and child are otherwise authorized to be. In a municipal ordinance, indecent exposure, sexual conduct, lewd touching, obscenity, and similar terms do not include the act of a mother breast-feeding a child in a public or private location where the mother and child are otherwise authorized to be.
(3) No person shall interfere with a mother breast-feeding her child in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be.
Effective: July 12, 2006
History: Created 2006 Ky. Acts ch. 80, sec. 1, effective July 12, 2006
And yes, asking someone to "use discretion," as KK is doing in their embarrassingly ignorant Facebook status, is interfering. No mother I know "whips it out," like so many people offensively suggest. I have nursed in public since the first week my boy was born, and I've never encountered any problems from onlookers. Honestly, most people don't even notice I'm doing it because it's really not very revealing -- certainly less revealing than some of the dresses I've worn. When people do notice, most have smiled, even brought me water, or thanked me for breastfeeding my child. I don't do it in-your-face because, I swear, it doesn't even occur to me that it's controversial until some business does something dumb like KK did.

It seems completely ridiculous that we are even having this discussion.

The sad thing is that they could be using this whole situation as a way to step it up and be a good company -- to inform their young staff (benefit of the doubt here -- it was surely just a young staff member who didn't know any better, right? Which, of course, says a lot about our Puritan society, but that's another blog...) of what is natural and beautiful and wonderful and really just a little baby HAVING LUNCH!!! They don't patrol the splash park asking girls and women to wear less revealing bikinis, do they?

Just a couple of days ago, Barnes and Noble issued a statement that their stores are supportive to nursing mothers. "We’ve provided safe environments for women to breastfeed since we opened our first store,” a representative for Barnes & Noble said. “Regrettably, a woman was asked to cover up while breastfeeding in one of our New York stores. We have addressed the situation and have taken to steps to reinforce our policies.”

See? It's not that hard to admit that an employee doesn't understand the law.

Also, this male-owned establishment clearly does not understand the power of the Mama community in Louisville. I'm in several Facebook groups, totaling thousands of members, and I guarantee you most of those women will not be patronizing Kentucky Kingdom until an apology and new policy is issued. You have no idea the ire that this situation provoked.

And the publicist for KK -- or whoever is running their Facebook page -- is doing a really great job ... of blocking women from commenting and then deleting posts that disagree with their statement.

UPDATE: At 9:00am the owner of Kentucky Kingdom, Ed Hart, issued the following statement:
A message from Ed Hart, President and CEO
As President & CEO of Kentucky Kingdom, it is my responsibility to set policy which is in the best interest of all our guests. To that end, I want to make it absolutely clear that Kentucky Kingdom totally supports the benefits that accrue to mother and child from breastfeeding. We have absolutely no restrictions on breastfeeding at the park, and will leave it up to mom to determine and know, when and where she desires to breastfeed – whether publicly or privately (in the several buildings available for that purpose). Regarding displaying “discretion,” we will leave it up to mom to make that determination and in no way will our staff interfere with mom’s decision. We have instructed our staff accordingly. I am sorry for any confusion this issue has caused, and I personally apologize if we have offended anyone.
Ed Hart

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