I recently watched (and reposted) a viral video that got my blood boiling. A nursing mother was harassed and told not to breastfeed her child in the sanctuary at her church. It brought up all kinds of feelings for me. It took me back to when I was publicly harassed at a hockey game in November 2015 for breastfeeding my 4 month old son. This was what I had posted on my Facebook the following day.can you even tell I’m nursing?!
I debated whether or not I should post this… But maybe it’ll help another nursing mom…
Dear Consol Energy Center and The Pittsburgh Penguins organization,
Thank you for a fun and exciting hockey game last night! The facility was beautiful and the team put on a great show! However, the end of the evening was ruined for my family due to one rude, unaccommodating, and aggressive employee.
Last night was my family’s first hockey game! My four month old had a blast the entire game! Before the game, I looked on Consol’s website to see if guest services offered a nursing room like PNC has, but they did not. During the game, I nursed my baby in my seat without any problem. At the end of the game he needed to eat again before the 40+ minute car ride home.
As I nursed him people were all around the arena – drinking and carrying on in their seats & in the Captain Morgan Club. One employee, Frank, targeted my mother, my nursing baby, and me.
From a few rows away Frank began clapping his hands and barking orders that we (my mother, baby, and I) leave our seats immediately.
My mom told him that I was feeding my baby and asked that I sit an extra few minutes but instead of listening and letting my son finish Frank forcibly demanded that we leave immediately.
I carried my still nursing baby out of the seats and up into the Captain Morgan Club. I stood and tried to nurse when a kind employee offered that I use the restroom. I politely declined because I will not feed my baby in a restroom. He then offered me a seat in a comfy chair until my son was finished.
Unfortunately I felt that Frank’s only mission was to get me and my baby out of the arena. He stood and watched as dozens of others drank, talked, and socialized in the club.
I was completely embarrassed due to the unnecessary harassment. I will think twice before returning to Consol.
I’d like to see all staff trained on being compassionate to new and nursing mothers. If no facility is designated for breastfeeding then the staff should be aware of laws and rights for breastfeeding mothers. A little sensitivity and compassion can go a long way.
I was so embarrassed and hurt by the situation. I told my husband and he was in disbelief! He had taken his dad/stepmom for a walk around the facility while I nursed the baby one more time – so he wasn’t with us when we were harassed. I could’ve backed down, stayed upset, and stayed quiet – but instead I took action. Breastfeeding again💜with my mom- a fellow badass breastfeeder who nursed me for 14 months and my TWIN sisters for 10!
A friend of mine, Megan, added me to a local breastfeeding group. I shared my post there and mamas were outraged right along with me. From there I spoke with a local La Leche League leader who had connections with The Pittsburgh Penguins and I contacted Best For Babes Foundation via their nursing harassment hotline.
The ball rolled quickly from there. Within a few days I had spoken with a woman at Consol who apologized and assured me that staff would receive training and that not one but TWO nursing mothers rooms would be added to the facility. The rooms are beautiful, by the way. They have comfy nursing rockers with ottomans, a changing station, a sink, an outlet, and a tv! We checked them out a few months later when we went back for WinterJam (my favorite concert of the year- besides John Mayer, of course!)
I felt empowered to know that I had a hand in making something like this happen! I was so proud of myself for speaking up and getting it done! A lactivist was born that day!
I can’t even believe I’m still nursing Everette at 21.5 months old. Initially I’d say a year when I thought about our breastfeeding goals. Is it hard some days? YES! Am I touched out some days? HELL YES! But – my baby doesn’t have a favorite blanket or stuffed animal. He finds love and comfort at my breasts so for as long as he needs them – he’ll get them. (I’ve been working on night weaning and that’s going pretty well. I say now that we will be done by 2 -in July- but realistically – I don’t see that happening, lol).
I often refer mamas to Best for Babes’ Breastfeeding hotline when they’ve encountered a problem. I’m so thankful hey exist! If you are harassed please call them! It is your right and THE LAW for you to breastfeed your child.
Women, whether you breastfeed without a cover, with a cover, pump & bottle feed, rely on donor milk, or use formula — we need to be in this TOGETHER! 💪🏼💕