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Kelly Burns: Breastfeeding
"is just very natural"
KINGTON – Several dozen women took part in a national event, gathering
inside their local Target store at the Hudson Valley Mall in Kingston.
They came to advocate breast-feeding mothers as part of a nationwide awareness
campaign organized through Facebook and Twitter.
Last month, Houston shopper Michelle Hickman said she was hassled for
breastfeeding her son Noah at a Target outlet in Webster, Texas. The story
went viral over the Internet, prompting over 4,000 unified supporters
to respond across 35 states.
"She was minding her own business and trying to get her baby quiet,"
explained Donna Bruschi, a New Paltz lactation consultant who organized
the Kingston rally. "They started barricading her in with shopping
carts so nobody would see her."
Bruschi said she became a leader by default. As the county's only private
lactation professional, she attracts no political fallout – which
her colleagues might suffer working for public agencies. "If they
did something like this, they might lose their jobs," Bruschi explained.
"This not just about mothers nursing their babies; this is about
community," said Bruschi. "Mothers don't nurse their babies
in isolation. They have husbands, they have mothers, they have relatives.
All those people need to come together."
Kelly Burns agreed, cradling infant son Declan upon her lap. "People
need to understand we're just feeding our babies. There's nothing wrong
with it, just very natural."
Katie Weber said she has been breastfeeding her son Max since he was born.
"He needs to eat when he needs to eat," she said, adding that
target is a nice place to nurse. "When I'm in the area, I plan to
be around Target, because it's always been easy for me to do it here."
Early last year, the US Surgeon General issued a 100 page call to action,
encouraging human milk over formula. "Without breastfeeding, there
would be no human race," Bruschi said. "It's only since the
advent of modern science, that they were able to break down foods so we
could tolerate them, but we certainly don't thrive on them."
Throughout the morning, a nervous store manager eagerly tended to the
group's comfort. "Target's handling it well," observed Bruschi.
"I think it's good publicity. The store manager has been gracious.
They've been really hospitable, knowledgeable and helpful."
Infant dolls were provided for non-lactating individuals. Bruschi noted
that men play an important role.
"The biggest complaint I hear from men is that they're embarrassed,"
she said. "They don't know what to do. If they look at her, they
wonder if she thinks they're a pervert, trying to pick her up,”
Bruschi said. Get over it – breasts are for feeding babies."