Target Practice: Breast-feeding In America


Today mothers across the country will be breast-feeding in public at Target Stores.  This nurse-in was organized in protest of what happened to Michelle Hickman in November at a Target Store in Webster, Texas.  When she chose to nurse her 5-month-old son in an out of the way area of the store, employees– in an humiliating way— refused to let her, and instead , to preempt an act of public indecency, advided  her to use a fitting room.  Target executives have since made it clear that this is not the store’s policy on breast-feeding. Forty-five states—including Texas— have laws protecting a mother’s right to breast-feed in public. The Illinois law was signed by Governor Blagojevich in 2004.

Mother’s milk of course is recognized by medical science for its natural nutrients and antibodies. Babies who are breast-fed are much less likely to suffer from asthma , allergies, juvenile diabetes, or obesity. . They have fewer ear  and respiratory infections as they develop.   And studies have shown that breast-feeding even has a positive effect on cognitive development and childhood behavior.

The United States lags behind the rest of world in encouraging and promoting breast-feeding. It may be another stumbling block to progress that we inherited from our Puritan ancestors.   It’s time to bring breast-feeding out of the shadows once and for all.  Mother Nature has a wisdom of her own.  Let’s be grateful to her and to her Creator. Thanks for the Mammaries.


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  • And on the other hand, formula never transmitted HIV to anyone.

  • In reply to icefalcon58:

    Clearly, you were not breastfed. Idiot.

  • I sit on the Board of Breastfeed, Chicago! so obviously my opinion on nursing is very very pro.

    That said- it is not always easy. We need to endeavor to support and educate women so that when they have struggles, the first line of defense is not the can of formula.

    Personally, I have had 4 kids, a 5th coming this spring and all of my children have been preemie- I credit my breastfeeding relationship with their amazing success

  • I realize many women either cannot breast-feed or they choose not to. My own wife was not able to. But the least we can do is to take any stigma from breast-feeding and let a woman choose in an informed non-threatening way.

  • I'm all for breastfeeding. But I do believe there is a time and A PLACE. And in public is not the place unless you make sure you are completed covered up. I have seen too many woman who feel they can just whip it out anythime, anywhere. What about the rest of us. How uncomfortable do you think it is for us or our children who witness this. There is nothing wrong with pumping into a bottle if you plan to be in public. To me breastfeeding is a very intimate thing between a baby and their mothers. I don't need to be part of that. Many public places also have Family Rooms where this can be done. I've also seen woman breastfeeding children who are 10+ months old. Running around 1 minute and suck to the boob the next, again awkward for the rest of us. Be decent about it and poeple wont care. Throw it in our faces then we stand up and complain.

  • Who is to decide what decent is? Target employees? Airline personnel? That is a subjective measure that is different for everyone.

    I have had two children that I breastfed. When my second was a newborn, 8-20 weeks old, so only nursing with no other source for nutrition, I was constantly in hospital environments as my older child was in treatment for cancer. Repeatedly, the act of my breastfeeding made medical personnel uncomfortable while we were out-of-state for treatment.

    In Chicago, at Children's Memorial, an eyebrow was never raised when I nursed my son. In Indianapolis, at Riley Children's Hospital and in Bloomington, Indiana, at MPRI, I was consistently invited to move to a private room or put a hospital bed blanket over me. Now mind you, I was completely covered with a cloth that hung from my neck like a giant bib. Neither my breast nor my baby were visible from any angle. What was it about the act of discretely feeding my infant son that made so many doctors and nurses uncomfortable?

    I completely acknowledge that breasts have been sexualized in our culture, so feeding a baby, for some, has sexual overtones, or the sight of a breast is considered shameful. For that reason, and possibly from my own Catholic upbringing, I was always very conscious to be discrete when I nursed. But what is described in this story and in similar ones in public places like airports and courtrooms and restaurants, has ostracized women who were not "whipping it out," but were trying to feed their baby while doing no harm to others.

    Get over it, folks.

  • Time and place of course may be limiting factors in choosing to breast-feed in public. The Illinois law I cite, for example, has, if I am not imistaken, restrictions on breast-feeding in a house of worship. I could imagine other circumstances where it may be deemed unappropriate. But I think in general the vast majority of mothers would respect these sensible guidelines..

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    The mom in the report from Texas, felt embarrassed, felt targeted, (sorry for the pun)...well she Could have very well left the store to feed her baby. Come on, don't tell me she didn't drive to the store, and if she walked, she was well within time to get home. She wants her 15 minutes of fame for her baby to be plastered on tv all over the world, not to mention the internet. Yes, I had 3 kids, yes I nursed them all. Did I do it in public? If absolutely necessary I had a blanket over my shoulder covering my child, never once did I flash my breast to prove a point. Wonder when the book or tv show or lawsuit will be filed. . .

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