So what does H&M stand for anyways? Hypocrisy & Misinformation; Humiliating Mothers; Horrific Management?
It really made me angry to read this news story this morning on the CBC - although I'm not surprised...
H&M Breastfeeding Incident Sparks Human Rights Protest: video / article
This incident has sparked calls from breastfeeding advocates for a "nurse-in" at H&M this Thursday, August 7th at 12:30 pm. Organizers hope hundreds of nursing mothers will descend on the store to publicly breastfeed.
And this is sure bad timing for H&M considering it is World Breastfeeding Week! When are people going to realize that women weren't given breasts to offend, turn-on or garner attention from those around them? Women have breasts (aka mammary glands) so that they can feed their young - just like every other mammal on earth!
H&M talks all about their Corporate Social Responsibility on their website. Isn't abiding by the BC Human Rights Commission being socially responsible? Their Head Office "claims" that shuttling nursing mothers off to breastfeed in a change-room isn't their corporate policy. So what happened at the downtown Vancouver, BC store then? Poor training? Miscommunication? Or is this just a cover-up and will the staff at the Vancouver store be H&M's scapegoat in a very public faux pas?
We all enter and exit this world naked. We also, within our genders, all have the same parts -just different sizes, colors and shapes! It is estimated by anthropologists that people first started wearing "clothes" between 100,000 to 500,000 years ago. The first clothes were made from natural elements: animal skin and furs, grasses and leaves, and bones and shells. Clothing was often draped or tied, however simple needles made out of animal bone provide evidence of sewn leather and fur garments from at least 30,000 years ago. These first pieces of clothing were donned primarily for protection from excessive heat, cold or adverse conditions, NOT for fashion or to "cover-up" in modesty.
If you are offended by someone breastfeeding, then that is YOUR issue. There is nothing more natural than a mother feeding their young - any mother. Are you offended by a cow nursing its calf as you pass a farmer's field? Do you cover your eyes at a litter of puppies feeding at their mother's teats in the pet store? Are you "up in arms" when you see a whale nursing its calf on the Discovery Channel? If not, then you are bordering on hypocrisy and have fallen victim to our society's sexification of the breast and the female body in general. Think about it. What's the big deal?
If a mother "whips out her breast" to feed her child and isn't that discreet about it, then that person would most likely offend you whether she was breastfeeding, eating, talking, driving or doing any other daily task. Some people simply lack tact - it isn't the breastfeeding that is offensive - it is the person.
World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is the greatest outreach vehicle for the breastfeeding movement, currently being celebrated in over 120 countries worldwide.
OK, I'll get off my soapbox now.
I was an exhibitor at the DONA International Conference here in Vancouver, BC for the past three days and it was wonderful! I met doulas, midwives, lactation consultants, breastfeeding counselors and many other wonderful women (and men) that work in the childbirth profession from all over the world.
My table was between Seattle Midwifery School (SMS) and Mother-Art. How ironic that I was situated between a school (I love to learn) and an artist (I love collecting unusual and beautiful pieces of art and jewellery).
On Day 1, I talked to Annie Kennedy about the courses that they have available. Annie is the Director of the (Penny) Simkin School at SMS. Both Annie and Penny are founders of DONA. I would love to learn more about lactation and breastfeeding so that I can understand my customers needs better. Note to self: sign-up for their 6-day Breastfeeding & Lactation course.
I also talked to Susan Kirk of Mother-Art and her lovely 16-year-old daughter (her name escapes me at the moment). Susan is an artist working in many different media from her garden studio in Chico, California. I perused Susan's table, filled with ceramic figurines, vessels and pendants as well as matted prints and notecards all honouring motherhood, telling myself that I didn't 'need' anything.
On Day 2, I purchased her Water Mamas print. Everytime I looked at her table, it spoke to me. I love the colors and I had to own it.
On Day 3, I purchased the Frida Wrap print. Susan looks after her neighbour's baby. She had Frida in the Maya wrap, looked down and saw this beautiful sight. She was so inspired, she painted it! I was also in awe of her beautiful ceramic pendants! I bought a Nursing Mother Goddess in turquoise (shown below, top right). Susan makes many other styles as well. In fact, I'm thinking of possibly selling them on our website. What do you think?
Oh....and then I 'had' to have this silver pendant, (don't tell my husband), which is the logo for the Seattle Midwifery School....doncha just la-la-love it?
OK, gotta run now. I still have to deal with the smoking credit card.
I've always thought that those maps I've seen at people's houses with little push-pins indicating all the places they had been were so cool! Well, now I am going to have one too....to show where all of our wonderful PumpEase™ customers are!
How Breastpumping Inspired Me to Quit my Job and Launch my own Business!
Welcome Carnival of Breastfeeding Readers!
When I found out I was pregnant with my first child at 38, a good friend of mine asked me if I was going to pump. I looked at her quizzically and asked, “Why would I need to?” She went on to tell me that she and her husband had chosen to pump primarily so that he could feed the baby and therefore bond with her as she was.
That night, I talked to my husband about it. My husband, Mike, is one of the most endearingly sensitive men I have ever met. He cried when he said his vows at our wedding, he cried when our daughters were born and he cried when he kissed my belly for our pregnancy photos. He said the pumping sounded like a good idea. (All this and he rides a Harley too!)
After our daughter was born and we waited the recommended 4-6 weeks before introducing a bottle, I sat down at the kitchen table and stuck these plastic funnel doo-hickeys on my breasts and lo and behold, the milk started flowing into the bottles! Who knew? And needless to say, Mike cried the first time he fed each of our daughters.
When I started to pump on a daily basis, I experimented with various positions and locations around the house. I leaned-up against the kitchen table to try to pin the horns between my body and the table so that I could at least turn the pages in a magazine, however it didn’t work too well - I couldn’t turn the pages (even with my elbows) and it was pretty uncomfortable. I tried to simply hold the horns with my hands, however, my Carpal Tunnel Syndrome caused them to go numb and ache within a few minutes.
So I plunked myself down in front of my computer and Googled “pump hands-free”. I found a handful of products, all of which were expensive, fiddly and “less than attractive” (insert eye roll here). Why is it, that when we become a mom, it is assumed that we no longer have any style?
I let the idea stew in the back of my mind for a week or so, and then I decided to try to construct something on my sewing machine that would hold the horns for me.
Three years of research and development later, my website selling PumpEase™ hands-free pumping supports went live! I now have the freedom to stay at home with my two girls (3-1/2 years and 17 months) and be a WAHM and entrepreneur. Equally as important to me is knowing that I am helping pumping moms everywhere to pump with style and comfort, to pump pain-free, to extend their nursing relationships with their babies and to make much-needed donations to breast milk banks.
Be sure to check out these great posts from our blogging friends:
Why is it that we, as humans, are the ONLY mammals that feel the need (or pressure from society) to cover-up while feeding our young?
Last night I exhibited at the DSA (Doulas Services Association) Product Information Night/AGM. I met many fantastic women and made some great contacts. There were three of us talking about breastfeeding in public including the Mom (sorry Mom, I don’t remember your name) of Jen Casey - the owner of Dimpleskins Naturals - fantastic product line by the way! Jen’s Mom proceeded to tell us a story of an incident that she recently witnessed while shopping at Sears. A mother sat down on a couch in the furniture department to feed her very hungry baby. A female employee told her that she couldn’t do “that” here and would have to leave. The mother countered, stating that her baby was hungry and that she had to feed him/her. The Sears employee told her she would have to go to the bathroom. Jen’s Mom, overhearing the conversation, piped-up and said to the Sears employee, “Would you like to eat your dinner in the bathroom?” Brilliant, just brilliant!
Federally, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms affords publicly breastfeeding mothers “some” protection. Provincially, only British Columbia and Ontario’s Human Rights Codes specifically detail the rights of breastfeeding mothers. Believe it or not, in the USA, there are only 39 states that have laws with language specifically allowing women to breastfeed in any public location! I “thought” it was 2008….apparently I thought wrong?
The other woman that we were chatting with, a doula, added her two cents as well: “When I happen to drive by a field of cows and some are nursing their calves, I warn everyone in the car - Don’t look! You might get offended if you see an udder!”
If there is one thing that “gets my goat”, it is hypocrisy! I will never forget the cow analogy and will share it with everyone I meet that appears to be “misinformed” in this regard. :-)
And I’ll be sending this cartoon to the doula…