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Milk has been on our minds quite a lot lately, perhaps because we now live in America’s Dairyland, and milk is therefore our official state beverage.  Everett certainly seems to be an enthusiastic supporter – at 11 weeks old he is still nursing (and growing) every couple hours.  The funny thing about breastfeeding is that so many people have strong feelings about it, and that they seem open to sharing these feelings.  For example, while traveling from Cleveland to Wauwatosa, a woman approached Melissa in a restaurant to congratulate her for breastfeeding.  In addition, well-meaning family members and neighbors have been asking how Everett is being fed, and offering their praise and support.  Thankfully, the U.S. federal government legalized breastfeeding in 1999* and our new home state passed a law in 1995 that breastfeeding mothers are not in violation of criminal statutes of indecent or obscene exposure.  In this regard, it is interesting how the wording of legislation can create ambiguity where none previously existed, specifically that while breastfeeding Moms in Wisconsin are currently enjoying their non-criminal status, it implies that they were previously involved in some kind of surreptitious activity.

A couple of years ago an employee at a Burger King in Salt Lake City, acting on a complaint from a customer, asked a breastfeeding Mom to either move to the bathroom or leave. While I am not singling out Burger King, I can say that the men’s rooms at most restaurants are not places I like to use for their intended purpose, much less as a place to eat, and I can’t imagine the women’s bathrooms are much better.  But this isn’t really the point, and in response to the complaint, the mother organized a nurse-in which was to take place at Burger Kings across Utah, although BK changed their corporate policy to explicitly allow breastfeeding before this came to fruition.  Similar events have caused a barrage of state and federal laws to be passed to protect breastfeeding, apparently in response to complaints or intolerance or who knows what else.

So I would like to raise a glass of milk and toast my wife, who is normally a rule follower but has now inadvertently joined a modern day rebellion of sorts, all in the name of feeding our son.

*This is only a mild exaggeration.  In 1999 President Clinton signed into law the Right to Breastfeed Act, which ensures a woman’s right to breastfeed her child anywhere on federal property where she and her child are authorized to be.


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