There’s a new reason to hate Starbucks, say some mothers, and it has nothing to do with their coffee or their prices.
WJLA-TV in Washington, DC, reports that angry moms have been protesting stores there after a mother who decided to nurse her child inside a Maryland coffee shop was asked to either cover up or to nurse feed her baby in the ladies’ room.
Protestors claim that there is nothing shameful about breast feeding, that it is a perfectly natural thing. They claim that moms need to be able to live their lives outside of the home, and that sometimes means having to feed the baby. One of them wore a t-shirt to the protest which read, “Can you drink your latte in the bathroom?”
They also cite Maryland state law which allows for breast feeding in public. They have written letters and E-mail to Starbucks’ corporate office demanding that the stores comply with the law.
I’ve never been much of a Starbucks fan, but I’m on their side on this one. This is a ridiculous argument, as far as I’m concerned.
No one is saying that a mother should be ashamed of breast feeding. No one told the woman that she couldn’t breast feed in public. She was asked to cover herself. They make cloaks for that purpose. When my best friends had their first baby, it was explained to me that there are even pumps to extract milk for instances when breast feeding may not be possible.
There are alternatives here that could allow breast feeding to occur in public without offending other customers.
Of course breast feeding is a “natural” process. But so is the process that created the baby that needs to breast feed! I’d rather not see that happening out in the open in a coffee shop, either.
UPDATE: The first comment brings up a point I’d like to address, lest anyone think I’m being unfair to mothers. In the comment, Oceanmrc of “Midlife Matters” states:
“Most mothers nurse discreetly, without any need to “cover up.” It’s usually impossible to tell, unless you march right up to a woman and glare at her chest, whether her t-shirt is pulled up for a baby or not.”
Quite true. I am assuming that the mother who was asked to “cover up” wasn’t being discreet, otherwise it’s quite likely that no one would have noticed to begin with.
“So have a chilled latte, or whatever it is people drink at Starbucks, and avert your eyes if you’re offended, folks.”
Many of the protestors have this same point of view. They’re not willing to back down from their position at all. This seems to me to be a little unreasonable.
I’m not saying that moms shouldn’t be able to breast feed in public. I just think that common social graces might suggest that being discreet wouldn’t be the end of the world. Why should I have to “avert” my eyes if I am supporting their right to breast feed? Why wouldn’t moms be willing to breast feed discreetly? Why can’t both sides find a compromise rather than forcing only one side to “deal with it?”
That’s all I’m saying.