Sunday, September 30, 2007

Breastfeeding Challenge on the News Edmonton: Sonia Sunger reports on the awareness campaign&clip_id=ctvnews.20070929.00215000-00215458-clip2&subhub=video&no_ads=&sortdate=20070929&slug=breastfeeding_moms_070929&archive=CTVNews

And from the September 30th edition of the Edmonton Sun

And from Winnipeg

And from Toronto:

Saturday, September 29, 2007


What a fabulous day at the Edmonton 2007 Quintessence Breastfeeding Challenge!

There were 2 registered sites in Edmonton this year, and between the two, we had 57 nursing babies and moms! Yay for us!

Here is a link to the current results at the Quintessence Home Page, with more sites still to submit their final tallies.

I will be posting more Breastfeeding Challenge photographs, stories and media coverage as I receive them. As well, if anyone has any photos or stories they would like to submit to this blog, I would love to post them! :D

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Thoughts from a breastfeeding mom....

I for one am sick to death of people telling me what BFing is "like".

BFing is like defecation or urination, because liquid is coming out of your body.
BFing is like picking your nose or scratching your balls in public, because it's rude.
BFing is like masturbation, because it's natural.
BFing is like making love, because it's private.

Let's all shut up about what BFing is LIKE and talk about what it IS: a baby eating! That's it! It's eating! It's like eating! Because it is EATING!!!!

Sometimes I eat alone with my husband and we hold hands and gaze into each other's eyes and it's beautiful.
Sometimes I eat with my parents and my brothers and it's loud and we all talk at once and it's joyful.
Sometimes I eat in a mall food court with a bunch of strangers because I'm famished and can't wait to get home.

And get this: my baby DOES EXACTLY THE SAME THING!!! To everyone who thinks that nursing is gross, or private, or so freakin' special that I have to make it a Hallmark moment every time I do it, think for a minute and realize that it's JUSTFREAKINGEATING!!!!!


If a woman breastfeeds with her whole breast out of the shirt, there's someone in the room wishing she would pull the shirt down a little more.

If she pulls her shirt down a little more, there's someone in the room wishing she would put a blanket over her side boob, or cleavage.

If she blankets her boob, there's someone wishing she would put the blanket over the baby's head.

If she blankets her baby, there's someone wishing she was in the corner.

If she moves to the corner, there's someone wishing she would face the wall.

If she faces the wall, there's someone wishing she would leave the room.

Can't please 'em all, so do what feels right to YOU, I say. But regardless of how you do it, keep nursing, ladies.

by Janet Fuchs Jackson

Friday, September 21, 2007

Nursing Mom Told to Leave Pool

There is talk of a nurse-in, so check back here for more details.

"Born to be breastfed."

"Anytime, anywhere."

"It's your right."

The message from recent public education campaigns is as clear as the cries of a hungry baby. A mother has the right to breastfeed wherever and whenever she chooses.

The Ontario Human Rights Commission said it eight years ago. Health Canada has spread the word for years. And so has the City of Toronto. But somehow, even in major family-oriented community organizations, not everyone hears.

A Pickering mother of three says she filed a complaint with the human rights commission on Monday after a lifeguard at the Scarborough YMCA asked her to move from the pool deck where she was breastfeeding her baby.

Carolynn Prior, a midwife, said the incident occurred on Sept. 1 when she was nursing her 5-month-old son while watching her older children, ages 7 and 9, take swimming lessons. According to Prior, a lifeguard approached her, suggested she would be more comfortable in the childcare facility and said "this is a family place and it might offend someone."

"I was shocked," Prior said. "It felt like a blow. I walked around for the rest of the day in a daze. I felt really singled out and embarrassed."

She refused to leave on the grounds she had a right to breastfeed there but says a prolonged exchange in front of other parents made her feel "that breastfeeding my son was obscene and breastfeeding should only occur away from public areas."

Steven Heipel, vice-president of communications of the YMCA of Greater Toronto, acknowledged yesterday the incident occurred and called it "an error in judgment" by the lifeguard and the supervisor she consulted.

"We are a breastfeeding-friendly and a family-friendly organization. That is not our practice. We are taking this very seriously."

Heipel said an email was sent out to all staff on Monday reminding them that no one should interfere with any woman nursing her child on YMCA premises. He said employees were told that if a member complains about someone breastfeeding, the onus is on staff to address that person's discomfort, and not the nursing mother's actions.

Prior said she wants a public written apology from the YMCA and an assurance that this won't happen to anyone else. She also wants the organization to agree to mandatory education and training for staff so they understand the rights of breastfeeding mothers.

The incident comes eight years after the case of a Newmarket woman, ordered by a restaurant employee to go to the washroom to nurse or leave, went to the human rights commission and won an apology and financial compensation.

As a result of that settlement, the commission launched a public awareness campaign with several other partners, including Toronto Public Health, aimed at stopping discrimination against nursing mothers and babies.

"Under the Ontario Human Rights Code, refusing or denying a service to a pregnant or nursing mother constitutes discrimination because of sex and being in a parent-child relationship," said a news release in 2000. That includes nursing in restaurants, shopping malls and stores, schools, parks and other recreational facilities.

Jeff Poirier, communications manager for the commission, couldn't confirm that Prior's complaint had been filed or comment on the specifics of the case. But he said it's an issue that routinely comes up and the commission's policy is clear.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Another Facebook Update

Facebook is still deleting breastfeeding photographs and deleting accounts, which leads me to believe that they're not even looking at all the reported pictures. Facebook claims that they do not specifically remove all breastfeeding photos, but only ones that violate TOS.

The "Hey, Facebook! Breastfeeding is not obscene!" petition reached 20,000 members today! It is amazing to have so much world wide support! I think the group will continue to grow. There are ideas discussed on the forum boards on how to deal with the photo deletions from facebook. Some want to notify facebook's sponsers and advertisers, others suggest a boycott, or mass flooding of mail.

I am proud to be a part of such a group!

Meanwhile, after a flurry of media activity last week, the attention seems to have waned some. I did 3 radio interviews, a television interview, as well as features in the Edmonton Sun and Calgary Herald. Those stories were picked up by other newspapers as well. I was contacted by a gentleman from the BBC and will be returning his email tomorrow.

If anyone would still like to join the facebook protest group, it is at There are now 1000 beautiful breastfeeding photographs posted in the gallery. I browse through the new ones each evening.....there really is a wonderful collection of pictures!
Mommy and Jezek, 20 months, on the front page of the Toronto Star.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Toronto Star Breastfeeding Article

I seemed to have caused somewhat of an uproar....I received an email from The Toronto Star....they wanted to do a story on the whole facebook fiasco! Then, a photographer came by last night to take some pictures of us at gymnastics class. Here is the link to the story:

More than 10,000 so-called `lactivists' have signed an online petition protesting the website's policy
Sep 12, 2007 04:30 AM Andrea Gordon Family issues reporter
Facebook is getting an online scolding after the social networking site deleted pictures of nursing babies it considered "obscene content" and closed the account of at least one Canadian mom.
Breastfeeding activists are emailing, posting and instant messaging their outrage. A new Facebook group set up to petition for a change in site policy – called "Hey Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene!" – has swelled from 7,000 members to more than 10,200 in the past few days.
"I was really ticked off," said Karen Speed, 33, an Edmonton mother of three boys, ages 9, 4 and 20 months, after five of her photos were deleted last month and her account shut down.
But she added in a phone interview the reaction from the online community has been gratifying.
"People seem to be coming out of the woodwork in support of this. I had no idea there was so much support for breastfeeding and I'm really encouraged by that."
Earlier this year, MySpace also came under fire for deleting photos of a Tacoma, Wa., woman breastfeeding her baby. But the latest incident on Facebook has sparked a much broader groundswell, from as far away as Australia.
It is being voiced in Toronto by mothers like Sarah Kaplan, owner of the new Evymama breastfeeding and maternity wear shop in the Bloor West neighbourhood. A self-described "lactivist," Kaplan founded her store "to glamorize breastfeeding." She has been spreading the word and encouraging moms in her online mothers' groups to join the chorus of objections.
"The fact is, breastfeeding is supposed to be anywhere, anytime," she said, while nursing her son, 7-month-old Remy, in her shop yesterday. Kaplan says with Canadian physicians and the World Health Organization recommending breastfeeding to 2 years of age, mothers need encouragement, not to be treated as if nursing is offensive.
Speed, who runs breastfeeding support groups for new mothers, decided last April to start an online version on Facebook, inviting women to ask questions, discuss breastfeeding problems and make contact with other moms. Soon afterward, she decided to post photos that had been on the website of her other breastfeeding support group, BLISS. "I always think seeing moms breastfeeding, and especially older kids, is important," she said in a phone interview yesterday. It's not uncommon for new moms to encounter difficulties and give up in frustration without extra support or tips, she said.
This summer, she was one of several mothers who received a standard notice from Facebook that a picture had been deleted because it was considered "obscene." She wasn't told which one, but later realized a photo of her "tandem breastfeeding" her two youngest sons was gone, even though her breasts were not visible.
Within days, she received messages that four more images had been removed.
After responding in an email and asking for clarification of what Facebook considered obscene, Speed says, she could no longer log on to her account.
All discussion threads, details of an upcoming Breastfeeding Challenge event in Edmonton, questions from mothers seeking help and contacts were gone.
"After reviewing your situation, we have determined you violated our Terms of Use," a Facebook customer support representative named Anthony wrote Speed in an email on Aug. 27.
"Please note, nudity, drug use, or other obscene content is not allowed on the website." He informed Speed that "We will not be able to reactivate your account for any reason."
In the meantime, there are still many pictures of breastfeeding mothers throughout Facebook in groups like La Leche League, Canadian Breastfeeding Mommies and particularly the "Hey Facebook" petition site set up since Speed was shut down.
Facebook spokesperson Meredith Chin has reportedly said Facebook did not prevent mothers from uploading photos of themselves breastfeeding their babies, but removed content that was reported as violating Facebook's terms of use.
"Photos containing an exposed breast do violate our terms and are removed," Chin said, according to a recent report in The Sydney Morning Herald.
Kelli Roman, a 22-year-old mother of two from Fallbrook, Calif., started the petition group in the summer after Facebook deleted several of the breastfeeding photos on her personal profile.
"It offended me," she said over the phone from California. "I can't see how anything about breastfeeding could be considered obscene, especially with the other things you see on Facebook ... like scantily clad women and so much sexualized stuff."
In fact, one of the top discussion threads in the "Hey Facebook" group is one that contains links to ``offensive" material on Facebook.
In Toronto, the issue of rights of breastfeeding mothers has had a high profile over the past couple of years, following incidents in which mothers were told to cover up or leave public places while nursing.
In June, the city approved a policy introduced by Toronto Public Health that allows mothers to breastfeed in any public place controlled by the city, including its agencies, boards and commissions.

CTV Interview

I was also interviewed on the CTV 6:00 news tonight, the top story no less!

Here's the link:

Facebook Update

As of now, the "Hey, Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene" petition group has over 12,000 members. There are almost 700 beautiful breastfeeding pictures posted in the photo gallery, none of them mine. I'm too scared to put them back up, in fear of simply having them deleted again. They are still there, but only in a private photo album that only my friends can view. I'm disappointed about that.

I have not heard from any facebook moderators in regards to this issue, but am curious as to what they think about the whole facebook fiasco.

Here's the link to the facebook group, in case you are not already a member. Please join! :D

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Applebees Nurse-In Request

I received this from another loop:

I am flooded with replys to my earlier email. I regret that I can not speak with each of you one on one but with 8 children I am streched for time so I will send you all this email.Thank you for your concern.On June 14th (my anniversary) a few of my children (I have 8) took me to Applebee's for lunch. For my own privacy I asked for the corner booth. I sat facing into the corner not facing the room. My then 7 month old baby boy needed to nurse so we did. A server (Jessica Balswick) came to me and stated that the manager asked her to come speak to me because she was a female. She said the manager said if we wanted to breastfeed we had to cover the baby's head with a blanket. I told her since it was hot out that I didn't have a blanket. She reiterated so I stopped nursing and asked to speak with the manager.

As we waited the baby cried so I passed him across the table to my oldest son (almost 18 yrs old) so he could help comfort his as I was a bit shook up. The baby was inconsolable so I told my son to take him to the van and I would come to nurse him as soon as I spoke with the manager.

When the manager (Justin Arnolds) came I handed him a copy of the KRS 211.755 law that I keep in my diaper bag. I said "I would like you to educate yourself and your employees of this law that protects breastfeeding mothers." He handed it back to me after glancing over it and said "I know but somebody complained it was indecent exposure so you have to cover the baby with a blanket if you want to breastfeed here". I again held out the paper saying "look at part 3 of the law, it says no person shall interfere with a woman breastfeeding her child". He said the same exact thing as before "I know but somebody complained it was indecent exposure so you have to cover the baby with a blanket if you need to breastfeed here." At that exact moment our server came back with our meal and I said "We can not eat this because I have to go breastfeed my baby." As I exited the hostess asked what was wrong and I told her very briefly and said "I don't see anyone else eating under a blanket in here."

I went to the van, nursed my baby, cried, and called my local LLL leader Karen. She told me to get the manager and servers name. She gave me names and addresses of people I needed to let know about this incident.

Our lawyer wrote a letter on June 27, 2007 to Applebee's restaurant (4009 Nicholasville Rd., Applebee's Corporate Headquarters 249 E Main St. (Mike Scanlon) The Lexington-Fayette County Health Dept. (Doraine Bailey), The KY Breastfeeding Promotion Coordinator (Becky Derifield) and the LLL Karen Brown.

The letter was ignored.

Our lawyer wrote another letter on July 25, 2007.

On August 3, 2007 Thomas & King, Inc. Legal Department finally responded. Mr Jonathan R. Weatherby, Jr. Associate General Counsel wrote "we regret that Ms. Ryan left without being served and would like the opportunity to personally invite her to return" .... "we are also considering keeping blankets in the restaurants for use by breast-feeding mothers that may not have them readily available as a result of this incident."

My husband gasped when he read this response. They just don't get it. It is like saying "Rosa Parks still has to sit at the back of the bus but we will give her a pillow so she is comfortable back there."

My midwife suggested I speak with the Senator that spearheaded getting the KRS211.755 law. I left a message for Senator Tom Buford and the next day he called me back. I asked him what recourse I had. He said "If you take them to small claims court you could get up to $1,500.00" .... "if you take them to a higher court you may not even get enough to cover your legal fees." I told the Senator I was not interested in money. I want things to change. I want public attention on this cause. I have daughters that will someday breastfeed. I want action not money. I told Senator Buford about my nurse in/out idea and he thought it sounded great. In fact he said "let me know the date and I will come by and support you" .... he also said "hold a sign up saying -small children are not allowed to eat in this restaurant." I said "can I quote you on that" and he said "yes!" Senator Buford said "next time any one does this tell them to call the police and get a police report written up on it."

Since August is "World Breastfeeding Awareness Month" I am having one nurse-out at the Fayette Mall just to raise awareness. This is not in any way to attack the mall .... it is just a place to hang out at. I am late arranging this so it will not actually be in August but then again what is one day. It will be September 1st.

The second event is actually to draw attention to Applebee's restaurant. Friends and supporters will decorate posters and display them for all to see.

I will paste a copy of the flyer for each of the two events here for all to copy and share.

Applebee's violated KRS 211.755

Educate Lexington that KY law protects public breastfeeding and mothers should never be asked to move, hide, cover up, or leave.

Decorate posters and display them at a peaceful Nurse-Out.

THEME: Breastfeeding in public is Legal
DATE: Saturday, September 8, 2007(in case of rain date 9/22/07)
LOCATION: 4009 Nicholasville RoadLexington KY
On the public sidewalk in front of Applebee's
Exercise caution and do not block the right of way.
News crews will be reporting.
Do not park in Applebee's parking lot!

I hope everyone can pass this on to as many as possible. Every "quotation" is in the exact wording. I am also willing to share copies of the actual correspondence between our lawyer and Applebee's.

Thank you for your support,
Brooke Ryan