Hoe to educate local businesses - Mothering Forums
Lactivism > Hoe to educate local businesses
Mamapits's Avatar Mamapits 09:01 PM 07-06-2010
Wow, I ran into a situation today at my sisters place of business. She owns the local Jazzercise franchise. I asked a friend if she wanted to join with me. She has 3 kids, 3, 4 and 8 months. They have daycare at the place so moms can exercise. Well my friend nurses her baby and once she nursed the 3 year old after class.

Today my sister, the owner told her that some of the women were complaining. She did not ask her to leave or anything but my friend was in tears.

I called my sister and had some very strong words with her regarding the way she handled the situation, then I had some strong words with 2 of the women. One was the babysitter an older woman who brings her grandson with her.

Well my sister is not talking to me right now, she is pissed. But that is not my reason for posting. I could rant but will refrain.

The reason I am posting is to get ideas for how to make businesses more aware. I live in NY where the law protects a woman's right to nurse anywhere she is legally aloud to be public or private.

My sisters thought process was that she had 3 people say something to her so she felt she needed to say something to my friend before they did. WRONG!
Now, not to defend her actions but I believe that she was not educated on how to handle the situation or even knew about the law.

I am so riled up now that I feel I really need to do something. The culture here on LI is so uptight. It is situations like todays that contribute to the low breastfeeding rates here.

Since world breastfeeding week is close and I am on fire about this I thought about starting a campaign to approach businesses to invite them to become breastfeeding friendly. I want to offer them decals to display on their windows with a commitment to follow certain guidelines and also give them materials to educate their employees with.
some of the education would include how to handle a complaining customer like in my sisters case today.
I told my sister she could have just told the women that a womans right to breastfeed her child is protected by NY state law, and that it is unlawful to interfere in any way, end of conversation.

I am thinking of starting an online directory for breastfeeding friendly establishments that serve the public.

Any other ideas??? We are so in the dark ages here on Long Island, we need to make changes now

spughy's Avatar spughy 03:46 AM 07-07-2010
I think it's a great idea and you should definitely go for it. Get a pile of decals, printouts of your state laws, and approach all the businesses you think are most likely to encounter breastfeeding women. Also find out who the local bureaucrat that they should pester with questions would be, and provide contact info for him/her.

Please don't be discouraged when you hear a lot of excuses why they won't display a decal. And you will - I live in one of the most bf'ing-friendly parts of the continent and a friend of mine who coordinated the local breastfeeding challenges for the past few years could not give away "Best Place to Breastfeed" awards to local businesses - most refused to accept them, with the most commonly cited reason being "We don't want to offend formula-feeding moms" which, after speaking with a bunch of formula-feeding moms whose near-universal was "wtf...? that's stupid", we reasoned was a cover for "we don't want to offend older, conservative customers". Nice. Blame the formula-feeding moms. Mind you, it's a rare business around here that would dare say boo to a breastfeeding mom, either.

In your case, where part of your plan is educating businesses, I think you're likely to meet with less pushback on that end. Business being business, they're likely to want to please as many people as they can, which generally means being on the right side of the law. Nobody wants to screw up, get bad press and have a nurse-in descend on them. But the decal will be a harder sell.

Good luck!!!
triana1326's Avatar triana1326 03:40 PM 07-08-2010
I was literally going to post a similar question about educating businesses. I did want to know if there was a place I could get free decals, as I don't have any extra money to spend at this point. I've gotten three businesses in my town to display an international BF decal so far, but if I want to expand my focus to more than a few shops in town, I need free or cheap supplies....any ideas?

Sorry to hijack...
Mamapits's Avatar Mamapits 05:44 PM 07-08-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by triana1326 View Post
I was literally going to post a similar question about educating businesses. I did want to know if there was a place I could get free decals, as I don't have any extra money to spend at this point. I've gotten three businesses in my town to display an international BF decal so far, but if I want to expand my focus to more than a few shops in town, I need free or cheap supplies....any ideas?

Sorry to hijack...
Ugh! I have been everywhere looking for decals. They are not cheap. I can not afford to foot the bill either. I am thinking of asking the businesses to pay for it.

Maybe get a package together for under $10 it would include the decal with handouts for employees on how to handle situations where people are complaining about breastfeeding and a laminated notice informing all of the employees of the local laws. Something that can be put up near a time clock or in a restaurant kitchen.

Maybe a few xtra $$$ will get them a listing in the online breastfeeding friendly business directory.

But I see that some were having a hard time even giving the decals away. We are really really in the dark ages over here where I live. Someone has to do this.
I used to be in sales. I need to adapt that mentality. I used to make 100 calls a day to my buyers and be lucky to get an order a day. I need to pretend that I am back in corporate America looking for that needle because they all add up.
Of course I don't have time to make 100 calls/contacts in a day especially for free.

Triana, I will be more than happy to share any info I find and or create with you or anyone else. Let me know and I will post
thencamehenry's Avatar thencamehenry 05:02 PM 07-09-2010
Hi,

I'm a lurker who very rarely posts but this topic is of interest to me so I hope it's ok if I chime in.

You know how hospitals can be called Baby Friendly? I wonder if that would be a more accepted way to approach things. Like a business could be called Baby Friendly or Family Friendly if they agree to provide a place for care providers to feed their babies and toddlers (breast, bottle, or solids). It would probably be businesses that already have something else to offer families, like a big clean restroom, a place to sit, play area, etc. As a mom of a one year-old I know I have a mental list of places we can duck into without being unwelcome. This would be a way for businesses to advertise that they are one of those establishments.

It seems like a good way to open the conversation. It's a lot easier to dismiss that "crazy breastfeeding nut" than it is "a member of a local moms group." Of course you would educate the business on your local breastfeeding laws. I love the idea of a window decal (could be the breastfeeding one or something you print at home) and poster for employees. I also like the idea of suggesting how to respond if a customer compains about breastfeeding women. You could really do as much or as little as you like with it.
Mamapits's Avatar Mamapits 01:00 PM 07-10-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by thencamehenry View Post
Hi,

I'm a lurker who very rarely posts but this topic is of interest to me so I hope it's ok if I chime in.

You know how hospitals can be called Baby Friendly? I wonder if that would be a more accepted way to approach things. Like a business could be called Baby Friendly or Family Friendly if they agree to provide a place for care providers to feed their babies and toddlers (breast, bottle, or solids). It would probably be businesses that already have something else to offer families, like a big clean restroom, a place to sit, play area, etc. As a mom of a one year-old I know I have a mental list of places we can duck into without being unwelcome. This would be a way for businesses to advertise that they are one of those establishments.

It seems like a good way to open the conversation. It's a lot easier to dismiss that "crazy breastfeeding nut" than it is "a member of a local moms group." Of course you would educate the business on your local breastfeeding laws. I love the idea of a window decal (could be the breastfeeding one or something you print at home) and poster for employees. I also like the idea of suggesting how to respond if a customer compains about breastfeeding women. You could really do as much or as little as you like with it.
Thanks for your input. I do understand that it wont be easy, especially around here.
But the whole point of this campaign is to make breastfeeding normal. If we skirt around the words breastfeeding and turn it into family or baby friendly to make it more palatable we will never ever normalize breastfeeding. No more pussy footing for me. I want it out there as a normal thing and not be considered a nut, nazi, fanatic, wacko or what ever else they call us just because I believe in exclusive and long term breastfeeding. The way we were designed to feed our babies.

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