On October 1, 2012 Best for Babes launched the first ever Nursing In Public Hotline. This new resource is just one of the tools we are using to help shine spotlight on and banish the Breastfeeding Booby Traps and raise awareness about the human, civil and legal rights of nursing pairs. The hotline is designed to give moms a place to report incidents of NIP harassment and to connect them with our team of knowledgeable volunteers who are standing by to provide support and help them navigate through what can be an extremely difficult time.
In the first week since 855-NIP-FREE officially launched, we received 32 calls from mothers and breastfeeding supporters from all across the country. Eight of those calls were from moms who recently experienced some form of harassment while attempting to provide breastmilk for their babies. These incidents included:
- A nursing pair who was forced to cover up by a flight attendant during a flight
- A mom asked to feed her baby in the bathroom while at a place of worship
- A mother who was told she could only breastfeed in the bathroom or the break room of a health care professional’s office
- Four moms who faced issues at schools while attempting to feed or pump for their children
- A mother who was harassed at a retail establishment for nursing in public
These calls were promptly returned by a member of the Best for Babes Take Action team to review the aggrieved mother’s options and to lend support and validation. In many of these cases, our volunteers are assisting the moms with pursuing efforts to change corporate policy. In another, we’re working with the mother to help strengthen her state’s laws. Still in other cases, the moms were just calling to share their stories and nothing more.
We want to thank each of these women for coming forward and the dozens of others who either called out of curiosity or to share words of encouragement. The sheer volume of calls received this week further underlines the necessity for change at the societal, institutional and legislative levels. We’re using the hotline, not only as a way to support nursing pairs facing discrimination, but also a comprehensive record to illustrate just how widespread this harassment is. In time, this database will be used to continue our fight to institute change.
In order to keep 855-NIP-FREE alive and thriving, we are asking all of our readers to continue to spread the word about the hotline. Share it on your blog and Twitter feed, with your Facebook friends and mommy groups. We want all nursing mothers to be aware of this resource. Additionally, we’re currently holding the $5 to Keep It Alive donation drive. Every dollar raised will go toward the operating costs attached to the hotline. You can purchase business cards and bumper stickers to distribute to nursing moms and further help spread the word. Please consider donating.