Breastfeeding In Public On the Today Show

On Thursday, the Today show ran a segment billed to be about breastfeeding in public. I was curious to see the show because I think the talk shows did a really respectful job addressing Alicia Silverstone’s milk bank a few months ago.

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I think the segment tried to tackle a lot of different issues in a short amount of time. The segment addressed bottle feeding versus breastfeeding, issues with latch, ostracization of moms who use formula to feed their babies, and even brought up a family who’s child was allegedly allergic to breastmilk. We all know that each of those issues could certainly more than fill a 4-minute segment. So to me, bringing all those things up distracted from the meat of the segment: nursing in public and moms getting harassed for doing so.

The clip features a group of moms discussing their various nursing experiences, and one of those moms was asked to stop breastfeeding in a bank! Gosh, I’d have liked to hear more about her experiences and to have the Today show remind viewers that there are laws in place protecting nursing moms. I’d liked them to have discussed how the bank was in the wrong in that situation.

The rest of the segment sort of follows anchor Jenna Wolfe around New York with a hidden camera as she nurses her daughter in a fancy hotel, in a department store, at an outdoor cafe–all without issue. I like how Wolfe points out babies’ appetites don’t always align with our travel plans. Then! Wolfe sits at a table at the Apple store to nurse and an employee offers her a more private room. “Do you want to use that?”

When Wolfe says she’s ok in the store proper, she then asks if it’s okay that she’s here (what a great opportunity for them to have brought up legal rights! Yes! It IS okay that you’re there, Jenna Wolfe!). The employee explains that the table where Wolfe is nursing is used for business customers. Hmmmm…

Not cool, Apple. Not cool.

I suppose my overall opinion on this segment is that I’m happy nursing in public is being addressed on mainstream media. But what was their overall point?

I’m a tad disappointed the segment wasn’t more focused, because I wonder–if the takeaway message was unclear to me, and I’m paying super close attention to breastfeeding in the media, what was the takeaway message to other viewers?

Did you get a chance to see the clip? Leave us a comment to tell us what you thought.

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