Unless you've nursed a baby yourself, it's hard to understand the challenges nursing mothers face. Even when you have nursed a baby, all babies are different and present different challenges. My daughter was a natural-born nurser and never had any trouble breastfeeding, though she steadfastly refused to drink from a bottle. As an experienced breatfeeding mom, I didn't expect to have any problems nursing my second, but my son has had difficulties nursing since he was born. I think we have finally determined the cause of his problems (tongue-tie) and hope we'll soon get that resolved for him.
I'm going to address a comment I received here point-by-point. It's clear to me that many folks just do not understand the nursing process, how to mind their own damn bidness, or that breastfeeding is a baby's basic human right, that should not be restricted because the thought of a baby getting food from his mama's breast makes some people squeamish.
"I think FM was right."
Well, from the phone call I received Wednesday, it appears not even the folks at Fred Meyer thought they were right. So there.
"You should have been more discreet if this caused so many complaints."
No, people should mind their own business. It's my breast that was incidentally (NOT intentionally) exposed, mostly due to the fact that my son was crying. It's clear that those of you who have never breastfed (or even seen a live baby breastfeed) don't really understand the process. Mama unlatches her bra, lifts her shirt, and brings Baby to her breast. Typically, depending on the finesse of Mama and age of Baby, the breast will be exposed for a brief second or two between shirt lifting and Baby latching on. Once Baby is latched on, his head covers Mama's breast. A crying Baby, however, pulls away from the breast, exposing (gasp!) Mama's nipple at the very moment his cries are calling attention to the scene. This is what happened to me at Fred Meyer. So the self-absorbed people who complained to management about my "indiscretion" were complaining about a mother who was trying desperately to feed her crying baby.
"The world does not revolve around you."
No, it does not. I haven't asked the world to revolve around me. All I wanted to do was feed my baby in peace. It seems to me the people who believe the world revolves around them are the ones who complain to store management when they see a mother nursing her baby. Complaining about a baby eating??? How much more self-absorbed can you get?
"It's THEIR property, not public property. They have a right to do what they did."
Actually, as the aide to my state legislator put it, Fred Meyer created a public place by inviting the public to congregate there. And as I have already noted, Fred Meyer has admitted, to me and everyone else who wrote in support, that those managers were indeed wrong.
"Perhaps you should not go to Freddy's anymore until your chlidren are a bit more grown."
So, if Fred Meyer happened to be my only choice for groceries I should not grocery shop until my son stops nursing? I nursed my first 'til she was 14 months old and plan to nurse my son at least as long. That's a long time to go without groceries. Thankfully, Fred Meyer is not my only choice. I'll put in a plug here for New Seasons, where I have been shopping and nursing in peace for the last couple weeks. I always prefer shopping there, it's just located a few miles further away from my home than the Gateway FM, so slightly less convenient.
"Couldn't you have gone to your car?"
Couldn't the people who found the sight of a baby breastfeeding so offensive just have averted their eyes? Wouldn't that have been easier than a mother negotiating a busy parking lot with her flighty toddler and bawling baby? What if it had been pouring rain, freezing cold, or scorching hot outside?
"Carried a baby bottle of breast milk?"
Again, clearly the poster has no idea what's involved. Pumping breastmilk is extremely inefficient. It takes me 30 minutes to pump three ounces of milk, not nearly enough to satisfy my son at his age, whereas 15 minutes of nursing typically does. Pumping is also uncomfortable and can lead to mastitis. Besides the time involved in actually pumping, there's also the need to wash and sterilize the pump, bottles, and containers for storage. From an ecological stand point, there's also the materials and energy used to make pumps and the energy required to keep expressed milk cool or frozen during storage and to heat it up for use. Why go through all that when I'm walking around with the perfect food for my baby, at the perfect temperature, in the perfect delivery system? Just so people who don't seem to get that none of us would be here if it weren't for mother's milk coming from mother's breasts won't make themselves uncomfortable?