Years from now, your child may ask you, "Where were you during the nurse-in?" Were you sitting at home, reading the paper? Sleeping in? Or will you be able to tell your child you were there—at the Hirshhorn Museum with all the other mothers celebrating their God-given right to nurse in public? It's 10 a.m. this Saturday, in case you're wondering.
As the Washington Postreports,
The cause of the grass-roots gathering of lactivists: A Jan. 30 incident involving Noriko Aita, who was nursing her daughter on a bench in the Hirshhorn when she was informed by a Smithsonian security guard that she would have to move to the women's restroom.
Aita, a stay-at-home mother from Rockville, said she couldn't find anywhere to sit in the restroom, so she returned to the bench. The guard then told her to try sitting on the toilet. When she moved to another bench instead, another Smithsonian guard told her to stop.
"I was shocked," Aita said Tuesday as her 11-month-old, Elaine, chattered away. "What's wrong with nursing? But I wasn't sure of my rights and the law, so I told my husband: 'Let's just go home.' "
That was just the beginning. Once Aita shared her grievance online, her cause went viral. As it turns out, she had every right to nurse on federal property (i.e., at the Hirshhorn, which is part of the Smithsonian). In fact, she and all breastfeeding mothers have Bill Clinton to thank, since he signed into law the 1999 Right to Breastfeed Act.
To be sure, the staff at the Hirshhorn must be feeling like a bunch of boobs. The museum was quick to apologize, hoping to nip this in the bud. But these mothers are pumped and they plan to milk this moment for what it's worth. (I know, I know, enough with the tasteless puns. The point of the protest is to keep us abreast of, oh nevermind.)