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LETTER: MU Student Recreation Complex is wrong to bar breast-feeding from pool area

Friday, March 19, 2010 | 6:30 p.m. CDT; updated 12:09 p.m. CDT, Saturday, March 20, 2010

I am an MU graduate student, and I would like to publicize an experience I had on March 5 at the MU Student Recreation Complex’s “Family Night.”

Sitting poolside while my family swam, I nursed my 2-month-old son under a discreet nursing cape, until we were rudely interrupted by an employee. She told me not to breast-feed there by the pool and suggested a high-traffic locker area with no seating instead. Flustered by the confrontation, I chose not to press the issue.

Since then, I have looked into Missouri law regarding breast-feeding in public: MO Rev. Stat. § 191.918 (1999) allows a mother, with as much discretion as possible, to "breast-feed her child in any public or private location.”

As I was thoroughly covered by a nursing blanket, I had a legal right to breast-feed him there by the pool, as I fully intend to do again in the future. Alternatively, if the MU rec complex would set up a temporary Lactation Area on Family Nights, with a chair and a privacy screen, I would be happy to use it.

Today’s mothers face an unfortunate double standard: doctors recommend breast-feeding our babies, yet doing so continues to be “frowned upon” by some people, and we end up feeling ashamed for making the healthiest choice for our babies. What else is the purpose of Family Night at the MU rec complex, if not to promote healthy family activities?

Well, I am not ashamed of nursing my son, and I will not be marginalized into silence by any ignorant staff person again.


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Comments

Gregg Bush March 20, 2010 | 1:42 p.m.

Here's a short script for the next time someone confronts you on this non-issue:
"If this offends you, perhaps you should throw a towel over your head."
If they continue to pester, cite the law and inform them that while your bahavior is legal, harassment is not.

(Report Comment)
Gregg Bush March 20, 2010 | 1:45 p.m.

Here's a short script for the next time someone confronts you on this non-issue (this time with proper spelling!):
"If this offends you, perhaps you should throw a towel over your head."
If they continue to pester, cite the law and inform them that while your behavior is legal, harassment is not.

(Report Comment)
Kevin Gamble March 22, 2010 | 11:20 p.m.

How ridiculous. What's more family-friendly than feeding & nurturing your child? Some confused prude who's sexualizing breastfeeding is the problem, not you. Heard this saying recently: "It's not about my right to breastfeed, it's about my child's right to eat." Nursing is healthy behavior, and should be encouraged, everywhere.

(Report Comment)

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