Vermont Breastfeeding Decision makes National News

Emily Gillette was nursing her little one to sleep before the plane took off. The flight attendant told her to cover up – and wasn’t nice about it. When Emily tried to explain that her toddler didn’t like to be covered up, Emily felt the exchange was getting threatening. She decided to walk off the plane rather than be escorted off – and soon the Vermont Human Rights Commission was helping Emily talk to the airlines.

Last week, Emily’s civil case was decided in their favor, just as the Human Rights Commission case was settled in favor of nursing babies and their mothers. Emily has stated that one of the reasons she went through with all of the hassle was to protect those rights. You can read more on the Motherwear Blog.

What has been your experience of breastfeeding in public?

photo by zachary stephensNursing is Normal in Brattleboro. About 90% of babies at The Birthing Center at BMH begin their lives at mother’s breast. But that doesn’t mean it’s always easy to feed a hungry baby in public – our own feelings and the reactions of the people around us can feel uncomfortable. Nevertheless, we’d like to think we’re a breastfeeding friendly community – and you can walk around Brattleboro any day and see moms and babies nursing. It makes the landscape even more beautiful.

During the month of August, we invite you to celebrate with us at The Works in Brattleboro. Our 9th Annual Art of Breastfeeding show featured two dozen beautiful babies enjoying a cuddle and a snack with their moms in many places around the area, in a Nursing is Normal photo exhibit and slide show – and now we’re ready to do it again!

Inspired by life and what people make of it, Zachary and Michelle Stephens are working on the second year of Nursing is Normal in Brattleboro. They capture dynamic pictures of nursing couplets on location around Brattleboro, a part of the life we all share together here.

If you’d like to be a part of this year’s show, or need more information, visit the Nursing is Normal.

How can we help more moms and babes to enjoy breastfeeding, and to breastfeed longer? One important way is to see other moms feeding their babies – as a part of the normal flow of life. Why? “Breastfeeding is not just a lifestyle choice; it is an issue of life and death” (Peggy O’Mara, Mothering Magazine founder).

photo by zachary stephensHow serious is it? Experts conclude that nearly a thousand babies in the United States die before their six-month checkup because they are not completely breastfed – and we pay $13 billion for formula-connected diseases for other babies who are sicker than they needed to be.

No wonder, then, that breastfeeding is an important part of the health goals for the United States. The CDC keeps tabs on how each state is doing. The goals for 2010 were 75% initiation, 50% nursing at six months, and 25% nursing at one year. How did we do? Both Vermont and New Hampshire met those goals, with Vermont edging NH out with higher numbers on each indicator. (Vermont actually has the highest number in the US of babies still nursing at one year – 39.7%!) Here at BMH nine out of every ten babies start their lives breastfeeding.

World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated August 1-7 in more than 120 countries around the world. It commemorates the Innocenti Declaration made by WHO and UNICEF in August 1990.


The 10th Annual Art of Breastfeeding show is sponsored by the Windham County Breastfeeding Coalition in collaboration with the Arts Council of Windham County.

Dr. Seuss for Nursing Moms

Would you nurse her in the park?
Would you nurse him in the dark?
Would you nurse him with a Boppy?
And when your boobs are feeling floppy?
I would nurse him in the park,
I would nurse her in the dark.
I’d nurse with or without a Boppy.
Floppy boobs will never stop me.
Can you nurse with your seat belt on?
Can you nurse from dusk till dawn?
Though she may pinch me, bite me, pull,
I will nurse her `till she’s full!
Can you nurse and make some soup?
Can you nurse and feed the group?
It makes her healthy strong and smart,
Mommy’s milk is the best start!
Would you nurse him at the game?
Would you nurse her in the rain?
In front of those who dare complain?
I would nurse him at the game.
I would nurse her in the rain.
As for those who protest lactation,
I have the perfect explanation.
Mommy’s milk is tailor made
It’s the perfect food, you need no aid.
Some may scoff and some may wriggle,
Avert their eyes or even giggle.
To those who can be cruel and rude,
Remind them breast’s the perfect food!

note: photos in this posting were taken by Zachary Stephens.

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