Last I Checked, Breastfeeding Is Nothing Like Stripping

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breastfeeding pastorWhen Nirvana Jennette breastfed her baby at a Georgia church last summer, she was asked to cover up. Her baby got fussy, as newborns tend to do, and next thing you know, Jennette’s pastor called her “disrespectful.” He then suggested she could face public indecency charges and equated breastfeeding with stripping. Needless to say, Jennette is not welcome back. Ever.

I know, I know – you can pick your jaw up off the floor now. Whatever your personal views on breast vs. bottle, I think most women out there would agree that this is sickening behavior on the pastor’s part. I obviously wasn’t there and so I don’t know all the details, but to equate a nursing mom with a stripper is just bizarre (never mind offensive and totally immature).

Thanks in large part to Jennette – a doula and childbirth educator – breastfeeding advocates are organizing a nurse-in on Monday at five sites around Georgia, including the State Capitol. Earlier this week, Jennette and a team of activists met with legistlators in an attempt to toughen the state’s breastfeeding law. They’d like Georgia to catch up with almost every other state, which has a law protecting the rights of mothers to nurse their infants in public spaces, from park benches to school hallways.

The proposed legislation calls for a fine of up to $1,000 for those who “restrict, harass or penalize a mother who is breastfeeding her child, require a mother to leave the premises [or] require a mother to move to a different location on the premises if the mother is otherwise authorized to be in her current location.” In other words, they’re sick of being told to cover up or move elsewhere – like the bathroom – when all they’re trying to do is feed their babies.

Just a couple of days ago we wrote about Beyonce breastfeeding her baby, Blue Ivy, in public at a West Village restaurant. It made me happy not because I care whether little Blue consumes milk or formula but rather because people look up to Beyonce. If someone so incredibly influential can breastfeed so openly, it will hopefully open up others’ eyes to the fact that it’s really no big deal. Meaning a woman should never be told to stop nursing her child because it’s “disrespectful.” If this Georgian pastor feels the need to compare a nursing mother to a stripper, well, you know he’s got some major issues. Because, last I checked, there’s nothing sexual about nourishing your newborn.

(Photo: iStockphoto)