Thursday, July 8, 2010
The Breastfeeding Friendly Initiative
This is the International Breastfeeding Symbol. You may see it around town more, as I've been making a bigger effort as of lately to raise awareness about mothers' rights to feed their babies when, how, and where they need to. The local newspaper ran an article about this tiny campaign 8 months ago, and since then, I have been making my way around town to talk with local businesses about it.
So basically, to be considered a Breastfeeding Friendly Establishment, a restaurant or business needs to hang these guidelines (look below) in a place where their employees can see them, and also hang an International sticker in their window. By having a sticker up they are showing patrons that they not only understand the Utah State laws protecting a breastfeeding mother, but that they sustain and support it in their establishment. The purpose of the symbol is not to segregate breastfeeding, but to help integrate it into society by better accommodating it in public.I feel that the more awareness that is raised, and the more stickers put up around town, the more normalized breastfeeding will become.
I have to tell ya, though, some of the reactions I've received have been outright funny/disturbing, while approaching the various business folks of Cedar City about this issue. For the most part people have been open about doing it, some saying,"Oh yes, we would never ask a mother to leave or cover up during a feeding." This is really nice and reassuring, until I talk to a store manager who says,"Yah I'll hang up the sign and follow the law, but I still think it's indecent to breastfeed without a cover." Or, "Yah we'll hang a sign in the back, but the sticker is unnecessary." or, "Well the law might support breastfeeding in public, but you know most moms feel more comfortable in the car." or, "We don't have that problem in our store so we don't need a paper or sticker."
Of course these responses further validate why I am trying to raise awareness in the first place. These are the people that need to hear first hand that breastfeeding is normal, and a breastfeeding mother needs to feel validated and accommodated in public.
So finally, I get this huge smile from one store owner who sits me down to tell me that she breastfed all 8 of her kids, and thinks it's wonderful what I am doing. She wants two stickers; one for her front window, and one for her back window.
The Breastfeeding Friendly Initiative:
To be designated a Breastfeeding Friendly Establishment, a business must meet the following criteria:
•Understand that Utah State laws protect a Mother’s rights to breastfeed in public.
•Honor these laws and uphold them in your establishment.
•Inform employees of the importance of these laws, and hang this paper in an open area for employees to refer to.
•Have an “International Breastfeeding Symbol,” hanging in an entryway, which lets patrons know you are a Breastfeeding Friendly Establishment.
•Offer a comfortable, non-discriminatory atmosphere for Mothers to breastfeed.
•Support a Mothers’ choice to feed her baby how, when, and where she may, no matter what method of feeding she chooses.
Utah State Law includes:
Utah Code Ann. § 10-8-41
(2) (a) A woman's breast feeding, including breast feeding in any place where the woman otherwise may rightfully be, does not under any circumstance constitute an obscene or lewd act, irrespective of whether or not the breast is covered during or incidental to feeding.
(b) Boards of Commissioners and City Councils of Cities may not prohibit a woman's breast feeding in any location where she otherwise may rightfully be, irrespective of whether the breast is uncovered during or incidental to the breastfeeding.