My 1st Nurse In: Fighting For My Right To Nurse In Public

Last Friday, July 1, 2011, my husband, daughter, close friend and her son all attended the nurse in held at the Oakland SMART bus terminal in Michigan. It was our first nurse in and we were all very excited to support Ms. Moon and this very important cause. Last week I posted the information regarding Ms. Moon being harassed by the bus driver while she nursed her newborn in a Moby Wrap. Mother’s (and a few fathers) from all walks of life came out to support Ms. Moon and our right to nurse in public. The nurse in was put on by Keva Williams and the Black Mothers Breastfeeding Association; they did an awesome job!

The supporters brought signs promoting breastfeeding and we mingled amongst one another talking about motherhood and breastfeeding. The media was present as well as the police. It was a peaceful protest which was my prayer because I didn’t want anything to take the attention away from the reason we were there, which was to support and promote the education of breastfeeding. 

The SMART bus company provided the moms with a bus to use as a cooling station due to the hot weather which I thought was very nice of them. At one point majority of the moms got on the bus and nursed together. I got to meet Ms. Moon and thank her for taking a stand and refusing to be removed from the bus for nursing. Ms. Moon appears to be a kind-hearted woman who knew her rights and wouldn’t allow anyone to bully her.

Ms. Moon is apart of the Black Mother’s Breastfeeding Association. BMBA has a local support group which meets monthly in Detroit. Please checkout their facebook page. In this picture from left to right is me and Elyssa, Ms. Moon and her newborn son in the middle and my close friend Rolisia and her son Isaac.

I always knew that I wanted to breastfeed but I wasn’t educated on the topic until my husband and I took a breastfeeding class towards the end of my pregnancy. I wasn’t presented with the issue of how to handle nursing in public until we started taking her out when she turned 4 weeks. At the time Elyssa wasn’t taking bottles well (this is something she’s still adjusting to after being exclusively breastfeed for 10 weeks 90% of the time before I returned to work) I would take bottles with me but when she rejected them I had to try to find places to nurse her and a few times I ended up nursing in bathroom stalls. I’ve now learned better and hope to never nurse in her a public bathroom again; I wouldn’t want to eat in there so why should she have to?

When Elyssa was 6 weeks I purchased a nursing cover and began to nurse her in the car instead of public bathrooms while we were out and about. Over the past month I’ve began nursing her in public with my cover and it’s begin going well. I haven’t experienced any backlash or noticed anyone giving me nasty glares BUT honestly I wasn’t looking at what other’s reactions because I didn’t care. When my baby is hungry I will to feed her. I will always be modest but she has the right to nurse on demand in a clean and safe environment. In this pic I’m nursing Elyssa on the bus.

Our society needs to remember that breast were NOT created solely for sexual pleasure, they were also created to nourish babies. It shouldn’t be okay for a woman to walk around practically naked in the summer and everyone be fine with it but a woman breastfeeding her baby is called inappropriate and asked to leave the establishment. Breastfeeding is natural, sacred and beautiful; if you don’t like it look away! I hope to educate those around me as well as my friends on Facebook, Twitter and my blog readers about breastfeeding. You could say that I am now a breastfeeding advocate. It’s totally okay if women decide that they don’t want to breastfeed but I want them to feel informed and supported if they decide that they do want to breastfeed. HI my name is Joanna Willis and I’m a breastfeeding mommy!!

Question: What have been your experiences with breastfeeding in public? What are your thoughts about breastfeeding in public? Do you BF in public, why or why not?

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