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What Exactly is a Nurse-In?

So what is a Nurse-In anyway?

  •  A Nurse-In is a protest where a nursing in public or a workplace pumping incident occurred, where all hopes of an apology or policy change has been exhausted, and ample time for a response has been given. A Nurse-In is seeking after change towards more positive breastfeeding support as the end goal.
  • A lobbying effort is a demonstration where moms are asking for breastfeeding legislation reformation.
  • A celebration of breastfeeding is typically called a Latch On. An example of this event would be moms gathering to show appreciation for a business who has handled a nursing in public incident in their establishment with excellence and has agreed to educate their employees on breastfeeding laws by presenting the business with a plaque for display or spending money and offering financial support to the business who has proved to support breastfeeding.


  •  A Latch On is a thankful gathering or celebration where moms are showing appreciation in public display toward a business proven to support and encourage breastfeeding, expressing endearment towards public awareness/education efforts within communities, and so forth.

Nurse-In Pointers:

Just the mention of the word ‘Nurse-In’ makes mainstream America cringe. Proceed with caution! Be aware of the current breastfeeding news and what the ever-changing countenance of society in regards to the breastfeeding topic is. You do NOT want to schedule a Nurse-In when the timing is against you because then you will become a fish stuck in the midst of a feeding frenzy of sharks. The Nurse-In should be used as an end resort.

The Nurse-In is a PEACEFUL demonstration. Do not knock people for formula feeding and steer away from breast is best. This is about our legal right to nurse in public as a result of our decision to breastfeed, not about a debate of formula vs breastmilk cuz we all know what is the best. You will get better response being nice than being argumentative. It’s hard to resist a mommy and baby with smiles on their faces. You don’t want to paint breastfeeders as the extremist weirdos that society often tries hard to make us look like.

Know your local laws and have them in print.

  1. Know your state specific breastfeeding rights
  2. Ask the city municipality about peaceful protests laws and if permits need to be obtained.

When and where do we meet? Have a set time and place for moms to meet and be specific. (10am MST at outside the front entrance of Cafe Whatever at 123 Main Street.) Also remember not everyone will be on time so if you are meeting in one place but the plan is to move to another location make that information clear for any late arrivers so they will be able to find the group.

What do we do? Walk around nursing, sit around nursing, nurse with or without a cover. Preferably, nurse where you will be seen nursing or where your presence will make the greatest impact, but do not obstruct traffic flow in and out of or within a place.

If we are protesting inside a business, do I need to make a purchase? Remember we are not trying to get arrested or thrown out for loitering so technically you can be a  “shopping/browsing patron” so you don’t have to purchase something.

Can only mommies with nursing babies attend? No, any supporters are welcomed as the bigger the numbers the bigger the impact! I’m sure you can think of something for them to do even if it’s just wearing a shirt saying they support nursing in public. (Be creative, but not offensive!)

Do we need to notify the location that we are coming? Yes, if the location is approached pre-Nurse-In by a mom in a nice respectful manner it will help them to welcome and honor moms respectfully. Let them know ahead of time if they should expect media to accompany you as well. Notifying the location gives the business one last chance to “save face” and they just might surprise you by using this opportunity to offer a public apology on camera and may even welcome moms with snacks.

Signs and fliers? All verbiage MUST be respectful and not bashing any other group or other people’s life choices. Never use signs or flyers indoors, that can bring about issues of solicitation. Check for permit requirements related to signs with the city municipality. Signs are great eye catching attention grabbers. Flyers can be troublesome as people toss them on the ground and litter with your info doesn’t look the best. Besides, if you can attract people with a smile and kindly explain to them what we are doing you will make a bigger impact on a personal level talking to them than you will handing them a piece of paper that they may or may not read.  (Tip: make small signs that are easy to hold with a child in tote and place Media Talking Points on the backside as reminders of what to say and NOT say on camera.)

Media? Invite the media along and have a media strategy in place. Designate a strategy for calling and following up with media invites and verifying their participation and coverage of the event. Don’t just call and invite them once because they will forget you. Stay on top of media with reminders. Designate media-ready “point persons” who are prepared with Media Talking Points. It is hard to resist peaceful mommies and cute babies with smiles on their faces and it is hard for onlookers to be rude, property owners to ask us to leave the stores, etc. with cameras rolling.

Keep it simple! Planning and organizing a Nurse-In can be exhausting so don’t spread yourself too thin. A Nurse-In is simply a gathering of moms and babies. Don’t worry about thing like water and bathrooms for moms. Moms always tend to tote drinks and snacks of their own and I have never met a mom who wasn’t capable of scouting out a much needed bathroom, so don’t sweat the small stuff you will be plenty busy with other things.