National Breastfeeding Month is well underway and ironically we are seeing more discrimination, harassment, and public shaming of breastfeeding mothers now that the national celebration has begun. As the first 7 days focused on the world view of breastfeeding with the theme, “Breastfeeding and Work: Let’s Make it Work”, our planning committee really wanted to open the discussion about two hot topics in breastfeeding here in the United States immediately following World Breastfeeding Week. The first is the legal right to breastfeed in public and the other is the legal right to pump breast milk at work for your child, both of which vary from state to state. It seems that there is much misinformation that is widely known about breastfeeding laws and lactation in the workplace. This month is a great time to talk about the laws that are already in place, take a stand for change regarding the laws that do not exist, and to shed light on the fact that breastfeeding is not just a woman’s or a mother’s right, but it is a human right our babies to be fed on demand to encourage healthy growth, nutrition and emotional security.
With the launch of the Meetup Tour to Normalize Breastfeeding happening in Sacramento, CA one of our mamas suggested that we hold our meetup at the state capitol. Shortly after the 1st annual International Day to Normalize Breastfeeding, our planning committee thought it would be appropriate for me to initiate a new proclamation that drew attention to breastfeeding and pumping laws, and use the aspect of photography to visually communicate this message, nationally. In collaboration with nine other photographers we encouraged families and breastfeeding supporters to gather at their state capitol for a group photo in front of the state capitol building. In line with our theme for National Breastfeeding Month: #CelebrateBfing, we created a celebratory reflection of a noteworthy annual event, the Nationwide Nurse-In.
In April of 2015, mother of 1, Laura Delmonico, developed a tactical way to get nursing mothers in front of lawmakers while they were in session. On the same day and at the same time mothers across the nation gathered together at their state capitol for a national nurse-in! The 1st annual event was publicized online via social media as well as, in a newspaper in Montana, on a local news channel and here on the blog. Laura and I agreed that the fusion of photography and the nurse-in would make an impact on the breastfeeding community during National Breastfeeding Month. We also hoped to help highlight the ugly truth that, STILL, in the state of Idaho no breastfeeding laws currently exist that protect a mother nursing her baby in public. Mothers have been escorted from public places, from restaurants and private property for choosing to breastfeed with and without a cover. This lack of protection is mentioned in the 5th paragraph of the 1st proclamation, from Baton Rouge, below.
The proclamation for the first ever Breastfeeding Law Awareness Day was approved and published by the Mayors of Baton Rouge, Nashville, Lansing and Austin! This will be an annual event celebrated the Monday following World Breastfeeding Week, so be sure to mark you calendar for next year especially if you are a resident of your state capitol and want to get involved with the local photographer to assist with organizing the event. Our national event was attended by 500+ participants with only 30 days of preparation to get the events registered and to get the proclamations submitted. We would love to see more than 10 locations next year, if not representing each and every state!
Shout out to Laura from the Nationwide Nurse-In who helped us apply for all of the permits for the local events and a big thank you to my volunteer assistant, Stephanie, who helped submit all of the proclamations for #idtNBF and #BFLAD.
Finally, thank you to breastfeeding blogger, Abby The Badass Breastfeeder, for co-hosting this event to help spread the word! She also co-hosted the first International Day to Normalize Breastfeeding.
Here are the images from our co-host photographers who registered local events in their state. Each image will take you directly to their website. Take a moment to thank them for helping to organize their local event!
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Oklhoma City, Oklahoma
New York City, New York
Grab a meme to share with your state law.