Best for Babes is excited to announce our newest undertaking, a Nursing In Public (NIP) incident reporting hotline! Best for Babes is taking action against nursing in public harassment. We believe in protecting the legal, civil and human rights of breastfeeding moms and babies!
Best for Babes is the first consumer-driven cause focused on righting the wrongs and the harm done to the millions of moms and babies who each year suffer from the Breastfeeding Booby Traps(R) — the cultural, legal and institutional barriers that prevent them from achieving their personal breastfeeding goals which include making moms feel lousy about engaging in a behavior which is as good for us all as exercise and as instinctive as hugging. The fact is moms in the USA endure an obstacle course of Booby Traps trying to get breastfeeding going (relatively very few succeed — 60% of moms report not meeting their personal goals) and the lucky few who make it are being bullied and even discriminated against for feeding their babies in public. How can we let this happen? Mothers and babies are our most vulnerable and precious population and they deserve full cultural, institutional, and legal support –cheering, coaching and celebration — certainly not degradation and sabotage.
As a breastfeeding mother of four, I have managed to dodge several Booby Traps and to succeed despite facing many oppositions. Aside from the eye-rolls and stink stares many moms get while nursing in public, I faced harassment while shopping at Target with my infant. I have used the Target incident as fuel to advocate for lasting change.
Now that I volunteer for Best For Babes as their Director of Take Action (Activism), I get calls from moms across the country who have faced NIP harassment, who want support from someone who has walked in their shoes, and suggestions on how they too can harness their energy to help other mothers and babies by strengthening legislation, raising awareness about the rights of the breastfeeding pair, and fixing this problem!
I tell the moms I speak with that until we have a federal law that covers breastfeeding harassment and discrimination, until existing laws in 48 states which do make breastfeeding in public a legal right are all changed to include enforcement provisions, until businesses institute not only breastfeeding policies, but training sessions to educate and sensitize their employees about how to treat breastfeeding customers to go along with those policies, our deep cultural prejudices will bleed through and this problem will persist. The question then became how do we influence and expedite the change we so badly need?
The Best for Babes NIP Hotline 855-NIP-FREE will revolutionize and increase our chances of quickly and more effectively accomplishing broad and lasting societal change!
What is the hotline?
The hotline is the one place to report and the one place to record NIP incidents. We believe having records of as many incidents as possible, even if the mom chooses not to take action on her own, will be instrumental as proof when we take big steps, like encouraging companies or legislators to make real changes. Documenting for the media, moms, companies and our legislators of exactly how many problems mothers have is something we haven’t had before. With this form of organization, the potential is BIG!
How does it work?
- Moms who have been victimized through a NIP incident will call 855-NIP-FREE and report the issue to Best For Babes.
- When moms call our hotline, you’ll be asked to record a message, giving us some information about what you experienced.
- One of the members of our team will return the call of that mother. Our team is comprised of influential and well-versed moms who have faced NIP harassment themselves, who have begun advocating for either corporate policy change or improvements of state breastfeeding legislation, and who most importantly can offer support to moms faced with NIP harassment. Rest assured everyone manning the phones and having access to the information you give us truly has your best interest at heart, and most of us have been exactly where you are.
- Our volunteers are there to help aggrieved mothers understand what their rights are, to help moms navigate through their situation and suggest ways to approach the offending institution, as well as refer moms to become active in their state breastfeeding coalitions. We want to help be a guiding hand in what can be a very frustrating and emotional time.
- All of the incidents will be recorded but your personal information will be kept private.
Who is behind the scene making this work?
Beyond the volunteer moms who are returning calls, the Hotline is being overseen by the Best for Babes Take Action Steering Committee — a powerful alliance of breastfeeding advocates and influential media partners and bloggers, including Best for Babes Founders Bettina Forbes and Danielle Rigg, Peggy O’Mara of Mothering.com, Jodine Chase, facilitator of the Facebook! Stop Harassing campaign, Annie Urban of PhD in Parenting, Robyn Roche-Paul of Breastfeeding in Combat Boots, Michelle Hickman aka The Target Mom and BFB Director of Activism, Marsha Walker of the United States Breastfeeding Committee (and Best for Babes Board Member), Christie Haskell of Daily Momtra, and Emily Mohajeri Norris (aka the Pottery Barn Mom) of Breastfeeding Friendly. Our Take Action Committee will be consulted about every phone call, every incident. As they say, there’s more strength in numbers and if the company you keep within those numbers includes the kind of mama power we’ve assembled, we are destined to succeed at creating lasting change!
How can YOU make sure this work?
Share, share, share! Help us get the word out about our hotline, so all moms know this resource is available to them! If you see on a forum, or hear while you’re out and about, about a mom having faced discrimination, let her know we’re here to help! The more accurate and comprehensive our database, the more firepower we have when we fight for change!
Also, please consider giving $5 to keep it alive! Donations from moms (or anyone!) will help us make sure we can keep our hotline going, and get phone calls returned to moms quickly! We’ll also have bumper stickers and business cards with the phone number, so you can hand them out to anyone you see nursing her baby.
We encourage all organizations to join us and to promote the use of the hotline.
What the hotline isn’t
Unfortunately, as much as we’d love to talk about breastfeeding in general – and we do! — we are not able to answer your calls about breastfeeding concerns or offer medical advice. For questions of that nature we encourage you to contact your local La Leche League or Breastfeeding USA chapter, contact an IBCLC, or go to www.4women.gov.
Neither Take Action nor the Harassment Hotline are intended to provide legal counsel or advice though we do have a Legal Advisory Steering Committee.