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BACKSTORY: A Mini Debate on Public Breastfeeding

BACKSTORY: A Mini Debate on Public Breastfeeding
Elizabeth Salaam

A few weeks ago, a contact called me and said she had a story for me.  A woman she knew had been asked to leave a local restaurant for breastfeeding.  I looked into it, met the woman and her family, spoke to the restaurant owner, and found the story appealing. It’s not about a radical woman who believes children should be breastfed all the way to college versus a hateful man who thinks breastfeeding is a criminal act. It is instead about a potential friendship thwarted by two opposing points of view.

I had a conversation with my husband about the situation, and I was interested to hear that he empathized with the restaurant owner, who was stuck in the unfavorable position between one customer who was breastfeeding and another customer who was uncomfortable with it. We both agree that he might have been better served to offer to move the complaining customer to another table and to, perhaps, offer a free dessert for the inconvenience. Instead, he chose to address the breastfeeding mother, which turned out not to be such a great idea, considering her position as a breastfeeding advocate with a strong social media community.  His Facebook page has now been flooded with pictures of breastfeeding babies.

Jamie Boyd’s stance is that she has the legal right to breastfeed in public.  Felix Berry made it clear that he wasn’t interested in a legal argument.  He believes that just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.  Both are interesting points worth exploring.  Berry, however, would not speak on camera, so I recruited my husband (who loves a good debate) to step in and sound off.

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So there’s that.

But when I told my husband the child was not an infant, he had more to say.

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Anyone else who cares to weigh in is welcome.

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