Newsflash: It’s World Breastfeeding Week (Somebody Tell Tulsa!)

On Monday, Tulsa, Okla. coffee shop The Double Shot caused an uproar by Tweeting that breastfeeding was now banned on their premises. Too bad breastfeeding is protected by state law. Mothers and advocates led a firestorm of Tweets directed @thedoubleshot explaining the law. After protesting that boobs are gross, “Settle down, folks. We just don’t like walking across the room and seeing your breast. Maybe you could do it in private,” the shop owners finally gave in: “Ok ok, breastfeeding allowed again at the DoubleShot. Hey! Breastfeeding all around. :) .” Followed by an attempt to downplay their stupidity: “I was just kidding anyway. Didn’t expect that blow up. Sorry to get you guys riled up.”

The Double Shot picked the wrong week to ban breastfeeding. From August 1 through 7, the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) is encouraging natural nutrition for babies around the globe in honor of World Breastfeeding Week.

The benefits of breastfeeding are well documented and include better health for babies and mothers, and less impact on the environment. And new pluses are constantly emerging: Today’s New York Times reports that breastfeeding aids infants’ digestion by coating their stomachs with helpful bacteria.

However, breastfeeding continues to cause squeamishness among some business owners, with various establishments banning the practice (ahem, Johnny Rockets). Last year employees at a Michigan Target called the cops on a breastfeeding mom.

To stop dumb moves like Double Shot’s ban, WABA is trying to change breastfeeding’s bad rap by promoting 10 steps to successful breastfeeding [PDF] to help facilities providing maternity services and care for newborn infants to reach the Millennium Development Goals of reducing child mortality and improving maternal health:

  1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
  2. Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
  3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
  4. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within a half-hour of birth.
  5. Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they should be separated from their infants.
  6. Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk unless medically indicated.
  7. Practice rooming-in – allow mothers and infants to remain together – 24 hours a day.
  8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
  9. Give no artificial teats or pacifiers (also called dummies or soothers) to breastfeeding infants.
  10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.

Above: The International Breastfeeding Symbol. Photo public domain.

Comments

  1. lizpolcha says:

    Don't worry, I'm from Tulsa and there are plenty of feminists there who think breast feeding is awesome. Unfortunately, this jerk from a coffee shop gets to represent Tulsa during World Breastfeeding Week

  2. Well, your Twitter feed asked what my opinion was – and I replied with an entire post of my own. This is an issue that I can’t believe is still generating any debate.

    So here is what I think:
    I may not be a mother, but I can’t understand how public breastfeeding could ever be obscene

  3. Danielle says:

    I'm a fellow Tulsa feminist, represent! This guy's coffee shop is also littered with evangelical tracts and rumor has it that he's also a homophobe.

  4. Most women breastfeed discretely to where you see little or no breast at all, so I don't see what the big deal is. This guy is seriously an idiot. If I lived in Tulsa, I go breastfeed in his shop, with my breast full exposed, any chance I got just to tick him off.

  5. I am also from Tulsa and a DoubleShot patron. This story is not an accurate representation of the events that unfolded. And to the person accusing the DoubleShot of homophobia and evangelical nature, it's clear that you have never been in there. I'd be curious to know what the 3 gay regular patrons I breakfasted with this morning or the group from PFLAG who DoubleShot reopened its store for one night last week would have to say about the alleged "homophobia."

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