Monday, April 16, 2007

Good News & Bad News

It's late and I'm very tired after a wild night of knitting with my mom-friends, so I'm just going to block quote Melanie's update from the meeting with RMH staff and board members. Comments? I'll have some tomorrow morning, as well as contact information for further letters to the RMH board of directors.
The meeting was about 2 hours long and included myself and my sister, a representative from the LLL, and a doctor from the area who is responsible for some big research on breastfeeding. I will not mention their names as I have not asked them for permission to do that but we thank them both for their support! We could not have handled the meeting without them. I contacted the suggested LLL person in Texas (again no names) and she sent them right out. She was great as well and worked tirelessly for us today.

From the RMH Arlene, the Director of Operations, as well as Naomi, the Executive Director, attended as well as a couple of their board members.

After a very lengthy conversion with many twists and turns the RMH is allowing us to stay. We are from now on allowed to breastfeeding in the communal areas if we follow some rules they have set forth and not too many people complain about it. They said if just one person complains they will tell them they support breastfeeding and discuss with them why they are concerned. If many people were to complain they will have to deal with that as it comes up, they could not say how as they have not encountered the situation.

The rules we are to follow are that we are to be discreet, this is at our discretion, meaning we choose what discreet means but they said they will obviously know if we are not being discreet if people are complaining that they are uncomfortable with us nursing.

We are also being asked to inform the people around us before we begin nursing if we think there is anybody that may be uncomfortable with it. We are to tell them nicely that we are going to breastfeed, in case they want to leave or look away.

There was alot of discussion about what discreet meant, but after some pretty silly possibilities for discretion they decided it would be up to us as to what that meant. They said they would not bother us about nursing again unless many people complained, which nobody felt was likely to happen.

The RMH wanted us to tell everybody that the RMH supports breastfeeding moms...they were VERY adamant about it. You can decide for yourself if that is true, I am only passing on what they said to us.

Now, at this point, this only applies to us. When asked how other nursing moms would be treated they said they cannot make any changes right in the room but that they will be examining the practice, or oral guidelines, of asking breastfeeding moms to stop. They said they did not have the power to make policy change, it had to go to the board; which they said they would seriously discuss doing.

Obviously alot more was said in 2 hours but this is the gist of the situation. If they really do examine their guideline this could be a really good thing but we will have to follow up to make sure that happened. Please if you decide to write anymore letters(and they received ALOT of letters) please do so to encourage them to reexamine thier guidelines and to thank them for considering it. Although they were not apologetic to us they have agreed to reexamine their stance and this could be really good for alot of nursing moms. If we handle this correctly this could mean national change for the RMH.

We will be waiting to find out how this plays out in the following days and will will update as needed. Lots of media have contacted us from all kinds of large outlets and I am still not sure who, if anyone, I will talk to at this point. We are trying to decide how to best help ALL moms.

We want this to benefit moms across the board so me and Jessica will be working to change their guidelines as we go. And the LLL says they will continue to offer us support. We are not giving up on a full scale policy protecting moms, but we will have to wait for a board decision on that. This will take time but I am confident that we can make this happen.

THANK YOU ALL FOR OUR SUPPORT!!!!! Above all if you all had not done what you have done I suspect we would not have had the outcome we did or even had that meeting.


MojoMom said...

I read your story on's Broadsheet blog and wanted to offer my support. I've written about you on my Mojo Mom blog as well and forwarded your story to breastfeeding advocates and activist mamas.

Please do tell us where we can send letters! You are making a very important point on behalf of all mothers everywhere.

A. Lin said...

Good for you for standing up for the rights of breastfeeding mothers. I am still wondering about how you inform the people around you that you will be breastfeeding though--it seems to me that announcement would draw more attention to the situation. Most people do not notice a nursing child anyway.

Chris said...

MojoMom--Thanks for the link and the heads up about the Salon article (I had no idea).

A. Lin--I don't know either how one nurses discreetly after making a public announcement.