Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Guide to NIP Harassment Survival Guide

Let me start this post off by saying that 99% of the time you are going to get no negativity when you are nursing in public. You might get the occasional backwards glance, but having someone truly confront you is most likely not going to happen to you. But, on the off chance that it does... it is good to be prepared. Practice with your friends just like a fire drill!

  • Know your state laws and/or have the information on a card on your person at all times. You can show the offender the information and hopefully they will just go away. There are a few states that do not have laws protecting mothers, but regardless all of us are covered under federal law. Maybe even have your lawyer contact information on the card to really drive the point home. Some WIC offices have such cards, otherwise you can easily make/order your own.
  • Remain calm, keep smiling, and act peaceful (which is hard to do when your rights are being violated). If you get upset and start shouting, they will use it against you. I see it over and over again in news story that come out. Establishments say they were not kicking the mother out because she was breastfeeding, they are kicking her out because she was loud, disruptive, and argumentative. Well... duh... her rights were being violated so of course she got upset. Who wouldn't?? But in any event, the more calm you remain the more credibility you keep and stronger you appear.
  • Obtain independent witness information. That way, if the establishment tries to change their story you have backup.
  • Have a video recorder on your phone? They can't take back what is digitally recorded. Make a contingency plan with your friends to use their phones should they see you in a situation. Hopefully someone will remember to turn it on!
  • Call headquarters afterwards and ask to speak with management. Perhaps there will be an apology? We wouldn't want to fault the establishment just because of the bad attitude of one employee. If management apologizes sincerely, maybe talk to them about the importance of educating their staff appropriately. 
  • Nurse-in/Nurse-out/Protest We cannot let these harassments go without a stand. It is difficult to be the mother to stand up and shout out. You are going to get some hate and flack from mean spirited people. But just know that you are doing the right thing for your baby and for all future breastfeeding mothers. Your strength will help the next mom to be a little more brave. We need you to do this. Lean on your friends and breastfeeding community. You'll make a whole bunch of new friends in the process too.
  • If you see someone being harassed - video tape it and/or calmly step in and help protect their rights (OUR rights). Sit down and start nursing your child too.
  • If you go public, make sure that your Facebook profile and other contact information is set on private. Unfortunately there are hateful trolls in this world who just might spew their ugly words in your direction. Best not to give them an invite by having your profile open!
  • Sue their pants off and make an example of them. I'm all for accepting an apology from someone who learns their lesson. But every once in a while there is a true hater of the worlds most natural thing and they just won't back down. You KNOW every nursing mother that comes in contact with this person is going to be attacked. So, make an example of them. People will call you more bad names, but you are a hero and we support you. "Well behaved women rarely make history." ~ Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
Please continue nursing in public. Covered, uncovered, baggy shirts, showing the whole she-bang -- HOWEVER you and your baby like it. The more women seen nursing the easier this is all going to get. Join us on Facebook at the Normalizing Nursing in Public League (The NNIPL). We're just taking care of our babies, and changing the world at the same time.

What tips do you have for NIP harassment situation reaction?

1 comment:

  1. When I would get harassed about nursing in public I'd quickly pull the baby off and hose down the offender with milk. It made them shut their mouths.

    ;) No, I never did that but I SOO fantasized about it! I would say things like...

    "I'm so sorry your psyche is so skewed that you see feeding a baby as sexual." Or...

    "I can only nurse one whining child at a time." Or..

    "Are you jealous" or...

    "So you eat with a blanket over your head?" or..

    When called a nympho or pervert I liked to point out how great it is to have an orgasm from DH simply touching them.

    BUT! When someone actually asks a question or is honestly uncomfortable but isn't a rude snotty "..." well, then I'd be happy to nurse in another room IF I'm at their home or I would leave. When the uneducated approaches my response depends on are they polite or not.

    I love old men and women because I would get some of the greatest comments about 'how blessed' my babe is but what struck me as odd were the women who claimed I wasn't a feminist because I nursed/had children. I thought feminism gave me the right to do what I wanted and where I wanted.

    I've had maybe 10% GOOD/NICE comments and mostly 90% mean. I think I stuck with it 'cause well...I just never do what the majority of people want me to do! ;)