Breastfeeding Women and Entitlement

A couple of weeks ago, there was a huge breastfeeding issue with Pine Centre Mall, the mall in Prince George, BC.  They told a breastfeeding mother that she was not allowed to nurse in the play area.  Of course, this meant rallying the troops: breastfeeding women and non-breastfeeding women joined together.  Instead of this becoming a nasty mommy war, we all stood together, unified, regardless of feeding method.  Pine Centre Mall changed its policy the same morning we had a nurse-in.

You would think that since breastfeeding is specifically protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, once the powers that be at the mall realized that they were breaking the law and could be slapped with a huge fine, it would be over.  In terms of the mall policy, it is…  But in terms of community stupidity, it is not.

Breastfeeding Women and Entitlement (Cloth Diaper Addicts)

I set up a Facebook event page for the planned nurse-in.  We’ve had a man show up and troll.  (He swears up and down that he’s not trolling… but, yeah.  He’s a troll.)  This guy has tried to tell us that breastfeeding women are acting entitled… and that Pine Centre Mall is private property, so we’re not respecting it.

No.

I’m going to state something very, very simple.  Breastfeeding women are entitled.  According to Merriam-Webster, “entitle” is defined as “to give a right to (someone).”  Under the defined meaning of the word, “entitled” is completely accurate.  They are entitled to breastfeed anywhere that their children are allowed to be.  (Clearly, that means that they cannot breastfeed while shopping in the adult store… because their babies are not allowed to be in there in the first place.)  It does not matter that Pine Centre Mall is private property.  It is private property that is open to the public.  The only way that breastfeeding women are not entitled to feed their children there, anywhere, is if they themselves do not have access to the mall.

This is not about us teaching our children to be entitled under the new definition  “to demand things that they have no right to.”  This is about the simple fact that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not cease to exist just because they are on private property.  That’s like saying that slavery is okay, because it’s private property and they can do whatever they want.  The law is the law.  Period.

Have you ever had to push for the rights of breastfeeding women to be recognized and respected?

About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.

Comments

  1. How about it should be that our children are entitled to eat.

  2. I do not know about Pine Centre Mall but many malls these days have special comfortable room for nursing. I also saw many moms feed babies covered with nursing cover everywhere. I think everything has to be done for customers, to make them feel comfortable and welcome.

    • A special comfort room is great… if the mother wants to use it… but she can’t be told that she *has* to use it. Just like she can’t be told that she *has* to cover up. Those things are illegal.

      In the case of Pine Centre Mall, the comfort room would have been useless because she was attempting to nurse in the play area while her toddler was playing.

  3. You go mama! That’s awesome to hear this story! I love it when nursing mamas come together to fight for their rights (even though they shouldn’t have to!) I’ve nursed my three children and will nurse baby due in February. It is an honor and an entitlement, for sure! 😉

  4. Kristen-well minded word says:

    I love this. Yes, I had to stand up for myself in a restaurant once when a lady at a neighboring table called the cops on me for indecent exposure. Mind you, I even had a cover on. They basically just laughed at her and explained the law to her. Unbelievable that this continues to be an issue…but it always is, somehow. Good for you for accomplishing what you set out to do with your nurse-in!

    • Wow, that’s insane! So sorry you had to go through that and I’m glad it sounds like it in no way deterred you from NIP.

  5. I’m so glad I’ve never had a problem breast feeding my son in public. Granted I usually use a cover, but still, whether it’s the museum, the mall, a restaurant, or the pier, no one had ever given me a hard time. I wish it were the sme for all breast feeding moms.

  6. Ashleigh Swerdfeger says:

    That is so sad. I don’t understand how this is even a issue in 2013. People need to be supportive of one another. You can’t always plan it- babies need to eat when hungry, just like big people. Babies are people too.

  7. It’s amazing how some people keep wanting to take away other people’s rights. They are not being hurt by these rights, however by taking away these rights people (in this case babies) are being hurt. I don’t understand how “being offended” is more important than ensuring people are fed and safe.

  8. Livia Dittmer says:

    I think people mistake “being entitled” to something (i.e., having the right to do or have something) and a “sense of entitlement” (i.e., feeling that you have the right to do or have something, regardless of whether it’s true). We should feel entitled to breastfeed our children in these spaces and we ARE entitled to do so because of the Charter.

  9. Why don’t these anti-breastfeeding people move their efforts over to people who frequent public places with very little clothing on or the posters and ads they have for clothing where the models are near naked? Seriously, what is so wrong about feeding a baby!!!

  10. I really enjoyed breast feeding my babies– it just seemed to calm us both down– people are so odd–this is the most benefical and natural way to feed the little ones

  11. So, I will tell you a story. I was at book club. All of the ladies are older. Gramma aged. Blah blah blah…
    This came up because the wee man was with me, and one of them thanked me for not breastfeeding. I nearly lost my mind. I explained that I am physically unable to breastfeed right now, otherwise I would be breastfeeding, and this launched a conversation about the mall playplace drama. I’d say half the ladies (always the vocal half too…*sigh*) said it was inappropriate and rude to nurse in public. Mum and I both jumped in, and enlightened these WOMEN that this is a charter-protected right. One of them was astonished. She couldn’t believe it was.

    So when women won’t even support other women… It doesn’t surprise me that this shit keeps happening.

  12. Some people have forgotten that breastfeeding is NATURAL!! That is how woman fed their babies BEFORE there were bottles! Just because we have bottles does not mean we HAVE to use them just because OTHERS don’t want to see a mother breastfeeding their child. We have become such prudes.

    • We can’t even blame it on Victorian modesty. Women were still frequently breastfeeding anywhere and everywhere. Maybe it’s because of the hypersexualization of the breast?

  13. Ha! Definitely true about being entitled! Love the dictionary response;)

  14. I have been lucky for the most part not to have any rude comments but have had strange looks while feeding in public I just smile.
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