Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Really, Cracker Barrel?

I don't normally like to jump into political issues, but when a breastfeeding mother was asked to leave an establishment, especially one in which she has the right to be, and eat, and allow her child to eat, thanks to protection by state & federal law... Well, it makes me more than a little upset.

Here are some things I posted on my own Facebook profile, and on the Cracker Barrel page as well as a group I'm in... Just so you REALLY know how I feel about it...

I've been stewing on the ludicrous fact of a breastfeeding mother being asked to leave a Cracker Barrel in Arizona because breastfeeding in public was 'against family values', per the ignorant manager. How can the breasts, used in the naturally intended way to nourish and comfort a child, be against family values? This ignorance was not just in the bad taste of the statement and request, but it was against Arizona law which protects the breastfeeding mother and her right to breastfeed anywhere publicly that she would normally legally be allowed on the premises. Not that I've eaten at Cracker Barrel much lately, anyway, but it's enough to make me never want to go back if this is how breastfeeding mothers such as myself can expect to be treated. Because she was protected by Arizona state law from breastfeeding being considered indecent exposure, there was really no excuse for the manager to say that whether or not they personally disagreed with it. She had the legal right to be there and both the legal right and motherly duty to give her child the best thing-- breast milk. It's a shame that breasts have been hyper-sexualized. Their function and purpose is nourishment of offspring, just as with any other mammal's breasts. Sigh. Breastfeeding is no more a sexual act that changing a diaper. And there wouldn't even BE families without breastfeeding, so dubbing it as being against family values? Absurd.


I, along with other mothers, took statements to the Facebook page for Cracker Barrel (and I was happy to know I could make a wall post without "Liking" them). Here's what I had to say: "Why would a woman breastfeeding her child be AGAINST family values? How were families originally started, and how were children fed for thousands of years? I dare say breastfeeding is one of the very foundations of family development and would appreciate the company apologizing to the breastfeeding mother who was treated so rudely. I used to love this establishment but will no longer eat at it or support it if this is how breastfeeding mothers such as myself can expect to be treated." I'm expecting the issue to show up in the press soon, especially in some form of lawsuit from the mother's (and child's!) rights being violated. I saw it on, which is a fairly popular site, and certainly some media members have caught wind of it and are working on stories, at least in Arizona if not across the country.

And one more:

I suspect major companies and advertising [in the interest of generating revenue for their own products] with subliminal anti-nature messages turned a lot of weak-minded people against attachment/natural/nurturing parenting who then continued this negative reinforcement through their generations without even really knowing why and trying to use religious reasons or 'decency' excuses, etc., when it is plain that breasts have been hyper-sexualized and breastfeeding and natural parenting has been given the "hippie" spin, like we're a bunch of tree-hugging fruitcakes. (Some of us may be, but that's beside the point, and we're still highly intelligent and instinctually know what is best for our babies but get told we are wrong or crazy by so-called 'professionals'!!)

And my thoughts were much more restrained than some other mothers out there. I would hope that CB would rectify the situation and apologize before it gets to the point of legal action, though it will likely come to that. I am proud of all the breastfeeding moms who have spoken up on the Facebook page for Cracker Barrel, and the many more who went directly to those heading the company.

So in lieu of this, I just wanted to post something I saw on Uniquely Normal Mom a while back...


1. Once a baby has teeth, you need to wean.

Teething can be a great test of your patience and pain tolerance (I know)! Some babies start getting teeth around two months, so that myth is debunked right there. Some women get bit once or twice, and the child's attention is either redirected or they begin the learning process. Biting is a great time to teach your child 'no' and 'ouch, that freaking hurts', and after having a month of major biting problems, my daughter now is more gentle and rarely bites.

2. If they can ask for it, they're too old.

Babies 'ask for it' from Day 1 - by crying, getting upset or rooting. My daughter has been signing that she wants to nurse from about 9 months of age. According to all medical information, that is too young to quit breastfeeding. The WHO says that babies no no additional supplements before 6 months of age and should continue breastfeeding for at least two years for optimum health. Most children's immune systems aren't mature until age 6, so any breast milk further enhances the immune system. Babies ask for bottles as well and we don't stop giving those.

3. Most women don't produce enough breast milk.

Not true. It's estimated that less than 5% of women truly have a biological supply issue.

The most common culprits for an artificially low supply?

* A schedule and/or timed feedings- Breastfeeding is a supply and demand process. No two babies are alike, and therefore can't be relegated to the same schedule. Babies need to be fed when they are hungry. If you want to take the chance of killing your supply and risk failure to thrive or low weight gain for your baby, put your baby on your schedule. Timed feedings (10 minutes on the right, 10 minutes on the left) provide problems as well because the breast may never empty, leaving behind the precious fatty hindmilk that is essential to a baby's growth.
* A poor latch or position - It's important to get good help in the beginning! Find the name of a trusted lactation consultant, and bug them until you get an answer!

4. My baby is allergic to my milk.

If your baby is having allergies, it's most likely caused by something you are eating. Eliminate the source, and most likely you will have a healthy baby. Galactosemia (an allergy to your breast milk) only affects only 47 babies in the US per year.

5. My child weaned himself at 9 months.

Natural weaning rarely happens before 2.5 years. Many children can wean at this age, but it's not normal and can be the effect of offering solids before breast milk or a nursing strike.

6. Breastfeeding will give me saggy breasts.

There is no difference in breasts of mothers who breastfeed and those who formula feed. In fact, pregnancy drags (no pun intended) your breasts down, as does age, size and if you smoke. Besides, most of us will resort to push up bras soon anyway. Either that, or we'll just join the I-don't-care-camp and let our ta-tas hang low.

7. Breastfeeding is sexual.

Breastfeeding is no more a sexual thing than you giving birth out of your vagina. Amen.

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