The outcome of the Ronald McDonald House breastfeeding meeting. - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 146 Old 04-17-2007, 01:18 AM
 
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Originally Posted by intorainbowz View Post
And NEITHER do the people sitting next to me on an airplane... Should I poll the plane of I can nurse or will that offend someone? How about at church, the mall, anywhere in public.
I did not say that to be a general rule. IMO nursing is natural and can be done anywhere, anyway. BUT the OP and RMH, Houston have come to an "agreement" of sorts. In order to comply with RHM, Houston's "requests" to "inform" the people around OP that she is going to feed the baby AND "be discrete" I suggested that this is one way to do it. I highly doubt anyone staying at RMH would actually say, "No, I prefer you not feed your baby in front of me."

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#62 of 146 Old 04-17-2007, 01:24 AM
 
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Although this outcome is far from the apology that should have accompanied the resolution, I am thrilled that you all won't have to move. That is at least a major point that will allow you to focus on Tobin rather than the small minds that we've discovered run that place.

Kudos!

The rest of the changes in Texas law and protection of breastfeeding moms needs to happen through the legislature. Those of you in Texas, i'mmykid'$mom has posted details of the legislation and how we can get involved. http://www.mothering.com/discussions...54#post7871854 I don't know if out-of-state constituents will carry as much weight, but it couldn't hurt.

I've started spreading the info to my local group of PTA moms who are very outspoken and will be informing anyone and everyone that this is happening. As we've just seen, we CAN make a difference if we set our minds to it. One little step at a time, makes a path.


Now: Mama of 2! Worker Bee happily married to my DH, motorcycle riding mama to H 8/99 and K 8/09.
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#63 of 146 Old 04-17-2007, 02:07 AM
 
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...The rules we are to follow are that we are to be discreet, this is at our discretion, meaning we choose what discreet means but they said they will obviously know if we are not being discreet if people are complaining that they are uncomfortable with us nursing...

...There was alot of discussion about what discreet meant, but after some pretty silly possibilities for discretion they decided it would be up to us as to what that meant. They said they would not bother us about nursing again unless many people complained, which nobody felt was likely to happen...
It would be a lot easier for them (RMH) to just adopt a Breastfeeding Allowed Everywhere policy across the board. Has anyone pointed that out to them? Easier to enforce, no body has to define discreet.

I am happy to write physical letter but not sure who to send them too. (I'm going to re-read though - I'm sure its in here somewhere )

Glad they came to a resolution so that you don't have to find new lodging now but i wish it had been a better resolution.
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#64 of 146 Old 04-17-2007, 02:25 AM
 
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I think this is a bunch of pacifying hogwash to make the OP hush and not protest anymore. I say, let's light the fire under their posteriors more.

I also wanted to add that I still think interfering with the OP's sister bfing is interfering with a medical treatment and thus child endangerment.

Equuskia in with Nodtveidt DD1 : DD2 :
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#65 of 146 Old 04-17-2007, 02:26 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Mama_of_1 View Post

The rest of the changes in Texas law and protection of breastfeeding moms needs to happen through the legislature. Those of you in Texas, i'mmykid'$mom has posted details of the legislation and how we can get involved. http://www.mothering.com/discussions...54#post7871854 I don't know if out-of-state constituents will carry as much weight, but it couldn't hurt.
I tried to email a rep that wasn't in my district but my zip code denied me email entry and bumped me to the "call me" page instead .

I guess non-Texans could send a "what's taking you so long to enact protective breastfeeding legislation; my state has had it for X long" .

"It should be a rule in all prophylactic work that no harm should ever be unnecessarily inflicted on a healthy person (Sir Graham Wilson, The Hazards of Immunization, 1967)."
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#66 of 146 Old 04-17-2007, 02:34 AM
 
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We are also being asked to inform the people around us before we begin nursing if we think there is anybody that may be uncomfortable with it. We are to tell them nicely that we are going to breastfeed, in case they want to leave or look away.
How's this for discreet, break out the bullhorn: "MY BABY WILL NOW BE NURSING OFF MY BOOBIE, THOSE OFFENDED, PLEASE GET THE HECK OUT OR LOOK THE OTHER WAY!"

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The rules we are to follow are that we are to be discreet, this is at our discretion, meaning we choose what discreet means but they said they will obviously know if we are not being discreet if people are complaining that they are uncomfortable with us nursing.
.....

There was alot of discussion about what discreet meant, but after some pretty silly possibilities for discretion they decided it would be up to us as to what that meant. They said they would not bother us about nursing again unless many people complained, which nobody felt was likely to happen.
But if anyone complains, for any reason, they'll say you weren't being discrete. I guess that nursing mommies gone wild party is not going to be at RMH then, eh?

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Now, at this point, this only applies to us. When asked how other nursing moms would be treated they said they cannot make any changes right in the room but that they will be examining the practice, or oral guidelines, of asking breastfeeding moms to stop. They said they did not have the power to make policy change, it had to go to the board; which they said they would seriously discuss doing.
In other words, we're only allowing you to do it because people made enough of a stink about it. If we can harrass another mama just trying to feed her baby and make her feel uncomfortable in any way while trying to protect the "rights" of our other guests, we're going to do it! (Unless she knows the same people you know!)
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#67 of 146 Old 04-17-2007, 02:36 AM
 
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Wow. Well, so glad you didn't have to leave, and so glad Tobin is out of the hospital. AND I'm glad that LLL and a doc here were able to help support you.

I have many things to say about their actions and words, but I'll just not get into it tonight.

to all of you.
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Ronald McDonald House Charities
One Kroc Drive
Oak Brook, IL 60523
Phone: 630-623-7048
Fax: 630-623-7488

Still trying to find a list of the board members

And here is the info for the rmh in the situation here

1907 Holcombe Boulevard
City : Houston, TX (1) 77030-
Phone : 713 795-3500
Fax : 713 795-3557

now i've gotta get my butt in gear writing a letter. i googled "letter" and "tips" and "activism" and got a good refresher course in writing btw.
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#69 of 146 Old 04-17-2007, 02:59 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Equuskia View Post
I think this is a bunch of pacifying hogwash to make the OP hush and not protest anymore. I say, let's light the fire under their posteriors more.

I also wanted to add that I still think interfering with the OP's sister bfing is interfering with a medical treatment and thus child endangerment.
:
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#70 of 146 Old 04-17-2007, 03:05 AM
 
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Strength mommas!

Half a victory counts, but that RMH board had best remember the adage that ACTIONS speak louder than words. Right now, I'm seeing only empty words. At the moment, from their actions, they're as supportive of breastfeeding as Nestle is.

"What will you do once you know?"
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#71 of 146 Old 04-17-2007, 08:38 AM
 
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I've been following this for the past few days....thinking of you all.
Just adding my postive thoughts and energy your way.
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#72 of 146 Old 04-17-2007, 09:57 AM
 
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That's horse caca. My hat is off to you for all the hard work you're doing. Shame on RMH, though. I'm steaming.
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#73 of 146 Old 04-17-2007, 10:09 AM
 
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Originally Posted by bluegreenturtle View Post
Tobin was just released again from the hospital today. He attended the meeting with us. He was having some major pain issues, but they are managing it orally now and it seems to be helping. He has swelling brain fluid on his skull and that is worrying the doctors so we will be staying here in Houston for some time so they can monitor the progress.

Thank you for thinking of Tobin...we are all working here to help him get better. He is happily nursing to sleep right now
My thoughts and prayers are with Tobin and your family.

I'm Andrea - I have three boys - 12 year old twins & an 11 year old

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#74 of 146 Old 04-17-2007, 10:14 AM
 
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Wow. Good for you.

For me that outcome is far from perfect. The onus remains on *you* for other people's discomfort. And they are not making guarantees about how other mothers will be treated.

And, you could still be asked to leave.

Not okay with me. And I don't know the laws where you live, but where I live (Canada) what they are saying tonight would still be considered unacceptable and a human rights violation.

Good for you both for taking on this issue in this difficult time.
ITA

I also cannot imagine how asking if you can feed your baby before you do is MORE discreet than turning aside, latching on, rearranging your clothing, and turning back.

I think we need to continue to put pressure on them to come up with a policy statement that they do NOT DISCRIMINATE. Period. Also I think they need staff education.

I'm Andrea - I have three boys - 12 year old twins & an 11 year old

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#75 of 146 Old 04-17-2007, 10:19 AM
 
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Originally Posted by courtenay_e View Post
You said that you're open to suggestions, bluegreenturtle...

My suggestion is this: call the state legislators who sponsored this bill, AND the state Attorney General. You see, even what they are saying now is against my understanding of the Texas State Law. The RMH can NOT tell you WHERE or HOW to breastfeed. The fact, plain and simple, is that these people have NO LEGAL STANDING TO DIRECT YOUR ACTIONS when it comes to breastfeeding!!! No legal standing means that what they are doing would not stand up at ALL in a court of law. They are BREAKING THE LAW. The attorney general's office should definately be contacted, as well, as I mentioned above, as the sponsors of the bill, if they're still in office. HOPEFULLY, they'll get riled and make these people follow the law. Forget apologies, I really don't think they'll matter all that much. What you want is to be sure that they UNDERSTAND that they have no standing with their "oral policies" on breastfeeding in the state of Texas.

And, yes, frankly, at this point, I would be contacting some newsmedia. Specifically well known and powerful media in the area who will have connections in the legislative and judicial branches.

My family's thoughts and prayers are with you, your sister, Tobin, and your other children who are also suffering the stress of this ridiculous situation.

I'm Andrea - I have three boys - 12 year old twins & an 11 year old

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#76 of 146 Old 04-17-2007, 10:44 AM
 
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How can places of business, charitable organizations etc create policies that are in direct conflict with the law. Unless they review their policy and allign it with the law, then they are breaking the law. period.

(this is not the first time I have heard a "board" try to interpret the law as they see fit. and often they use the "we will review our policy" line as a way to get around the law becuase it can be diffiucult to keep up the "heat" and follow up. )

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Could someone please collate together exactly who needs to be contacted at this point and what needs to be said?

I am still outraged, and their behavior is still illegal. The media ought to be called in-- maybe once they have left the premises-- but this is so shocking.

There needs to be a standardized policy that BFing moms can nurse anywhere in the RMHs and that no restrictions can be put on them. This whole discreet thing is outrageous.
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#79 of 146 Old 04-17-2007, 11:44 AM
 
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I am really, really angry that this is the response. The policy is ILLEGAL according to Texas law and according to Illinois law (Illinois being the location of the global headquarters). I'm outraged. It should not be a breastfeeding mother's duty to shame herself by "being discreet" and "informing" everyone in the room she's about to breastfeed so they can flee from her profane behavior. It's disgusting they would take this approach, and disgusting that they would not apologize for their behavior.

A place like RMH should be normalizing breastfeeding, not shaming it. And that's exactly what they're doing. MORE SHAMING OF BREASTFEEDING MOTHERS AND CHILDREN. What is wrong with these people????



I looked at both the Texas and Illinois laws regarding this issue, and there is simply NO WAY that they are legally permitted to enforce this farcical "policy."

I guess I'll just have to write a longer, more detailed letter and make a few phone calls. This is outrageous. YOU CANNOT ASK A WOMAN TO LEAVE! YOU CANNOT ASK HER TO COVER UP! READ THE LAW, YOU !!!

You and your sister should not have to feel "grateful" that they're "allowing" you to stay. It's ridiculous. They should feel grateful you're not raking them over the coals. I feel that they've manipulated you and your sister and are simply throwing you a bone to get you to go away. It's a band-aid, and an illegal one at that.

Julia
dd 1 year old
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#80 of 146 Old 04-17-2007, 12:06 PM
 
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I am really, really angry that this is the response. The policy is ILLEGAL according to Texas law and according to Illinois law (Illinois being the location of the global headquarters). I'm outraged. It should not be a breastfeeding mother's duty to shame herself by "being discreet" and "informing" everyone in the room she's about to breastfeed so they can flee from her profane behavior. It's disgusting they would take this approach, and disgusting that they would not apologize for their behavior.

A place like RMH should be normalizing breastfeeding, not shaming it. And that's exactly what they're doing. MORE SHAMING OF BREASTFEEDING MOTHERS AND CHILDREN. What is wrong with these people????



I looked at both the Texas and Illinois laws regarding this issue, and there is simply NO WAY that they are legally permitted to enforce this farcical "policy."

I guess I'll just have to write a longer, more detailed letter and make a few phone calls. This is outrageous. YOU CANNOT ASK A WOMAN TO LEAVE! YOU CANNOT ASK HER TO COVER UP! READ THE LAW, YOU !!!
: I couldn't agree more...

My goes out to this family. They have more important things to worry about than dealing with this.... Yet they are standing up for nursing moms everywhere.

Makes me wonder how many other nursing moms at this RMH were sent to their rooms before this... This has to stop now!

Amanda , mama to my two boys: N (10/06) and : A (7/09)
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#81 of 146 Old 04-17-2007, 12:06 PM
 
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Could someone please collate together exactly who needs to be contacted at this point and what needs to be said?
Ronald McDonald House Charities
One Kroc Drive
Oak Brook, IL 60523
Phone: 630-623-7048
Fax: 630-623-7488


and the rmh that this happened at:

1907 Holcombe Boulevard
City : Houston, TX (1) 77030-
Phone : 713 795-3500
Fax : 713 795-3557


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Originally Posted by meowee View Post
There needs to be a standardized policy that BFing moms can nurse anywhere in the RMHs and that no restrictions can be put on them. This whole discreet thing is outrageous.

i think that is what needs to be said

l, <>< wife to my sweetie, proud mama to 3 cubs, 2 who clw & 1 that i i ep for . baby was evicted early by induction due to severe pre-e/hellp syndrome
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#82 of 146 Old 04-17-2007, 12:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by hellyaellen View Post
Ronald McDonald House Charities
One Kroc Drive
Oak Brook, IL 60523
Phone: 630-623-7048
Fax: 630-623-7488

Still trying to find a list of the board members

And here is the info for the rmh in the situation here

1907 Holcombe Boulevard
City : Houston, TX (1) 77030-
Phone : 713 795-3500
Fax : 713 795-3557

now i've gotta get my butt in gear writing a letter. i googled "letter" and "tips" and "activism" and got a good refresher course in writing btw.
Thank you for these. Does anyone have the following:
*Arlene's full name and position
*Address of the attorney general of TX
*Names and addresses of specific board members of the RMH?

I'm in the process of composing my letter, but I don't think I have time to dig up the addresses of everyone I plan to send a copy to. BTW...those who write to the specific house: Please send you letter to other venues as well (the media, attorney general, corporate HQ, whatever) and INCLUDE A CC LINE IN THE LETTER so that the Houston House SEES that the letters are being disseminated far and wide.

ETA: Here's the letter in its current state. I'll do another round of edits and send off copies as soon as I can gather more addresses.

Quote:
Dear Sir or Madam:

I am writing to express my shock and anger over the treatment of Ms. Jessica Swimeley, a nursing mother, and her sick child by the Ronald McDonald House of Houston. Ms. Swimeley has been harrassed, belittled, and ordered to climb three flights of stairs to her private room every time her child needs to eat. In response to a flood of outrage from donors and nursing mothers, Ms. Arlene [x], the director of the Houston RMH, has reluctantly agreed to allow Ms. Swimeley to nurse in common areas of the House, but only if she follows arbitrary and unnecessary guidelines. Ms. [x] has also intimated that her “permission” to nurse may be revoked if other clients complain about a baby—gasp!—eating in front of others.

Texas Health and Safety Code § 165.001 et seq., Sec. 165.002 states: “Right to Breast-Feed: A mother is entitled to breast-feed her baby in any location in which the mother is authorized to be.” The Ronald McDonald House is clearly in violation of this law. Furthermore, as the law suggests, it is not the responsibility of nursing mothers to make those around them “comfortable” with breastfeeding. It is instead the responsibility of hospitals, clinics, restaurants, stores, and other establishments to ensure that breastfeeding mothers are treated with respect and that their rights are not violated.

Ms. [x] has explained that the RMH has “multicultural clientele” and that she is afraid of “offending” someone. Whom, I wonder, is she afraid of offending? I have met nursing mothers from a wide range of ethnic, national, and religious backgrounds. Virtually all of them tell me that they are shocked not at the sight of mothers nursing in public, but that the United States seems to be so backward and Puritanical in its attitude toward nursing. In other cultures, nursing is seen as what it is: the normal, natural, healthy way for a mother to feed her child. It seems that the only person offended here is Ms. [x]. Moreover, I find it hypocritical in the extreme that RMH worries so much about breastfeeding potentially “offending” their clients; what about the breastfeeding clients and donors whom you have already offended?

The continued mistreatment of Ms. Swimeley and her family—including Ms. [X’s] lack of apology for her outrageous conduct, her establishment of special rules for Ms. Swimeley to follow (which continue to perpetuate the idea that nursing a child is somehow offensive), and her refusal to guarantee that the Swimeley family will not be evicted from the RMH for nursing—demands that further action be taken. The RMH must establish national guidelines to protect nursing mothers who wish to provide their sick children with nature’s best medicine, breastmilk. Sensitivity training for staff would also be a good step. If RMH refuses to take adequate steps to remedy this situation, they will continue to lose donations and support from nursing women, their families, and their supporters.

It is well documented that formula feeding places babies at higher risk for disease and illness. Given that the Ronald McDonald House is ostensibly devoted to helping sick children, it is deeply ironic that you treat nursing as something shameful.

I strongly urge you to take action immediately.

Sincerely,
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#83 of 146 Old 04-17-2007, 12:22 PM
 
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I called the Ronald McDonald Gloabl office in Illinois but I didn't leave a message because I want to make sure that my message goes to the right person. Who should I ask for? Anyone particular?

I have a sort of anxiety of talking on the phone so I wrote down what I want to say:

I am calling to voice my concern over the lack a of universal policy of breastfeeding protection at Ronald McDonald Houses. The way the mother and sick 17-month-old baby in Houston have been treated is deplorable and deeply disturbing. You can be sure I will be doing my part to spread the word and participate in boycotts not only of Ronald McDonald House but also of it's sponsors, if necessary, until and unless I hear word of a strong, proactive position by Ronald McDonald House Charities to universally protect a mother and child’s right to nurse anywhere at anytime without need for “discretion“. Thank you for addressing this serious issue.

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#84 of 146 Old 04-17-2007, 12:24 PM
 
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On the posting of emails.... has ANYONE actually got a reply? If so post a summary.
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#85 of 146 Old 04-17-2007, 12:32 PM
 
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That is an awesome letter. I may crib from it. Can someone create a separate thread that has all the contact info for the places we want to be calling in one easy to locate thread with a clear heading. I have to do this in fits and spurts and don't have time to search 20,000!!! posts to find what I need each time I can get ten minutes at the computer to do something. Thanks.

Lorrie
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#86 of 146 Old 04-17-2007, 12:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by homewithtwinsmama View Post
That is an awesome letter. I may crib from it. Can someone create a separate thread that has all the contact info for the places we want to be calling in one easy to locate thread with a clear heading. I have to do this in fits and spurts and don't have time to search 20,000!!! posts to find what I need each time I can get ten minutes at the computer to do something. Thanks.

Lorrie
Y'know...definitely take ideas (I took some from others!), but I think the letter-writing is much stronger if it doesn't look like we're using "form" letters.

BTW, here's the attorney general:

Attorney General Greg Abbott
Office of the Attorney General
PO Box 12548
Austin, TX 78711-2548
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#87 of 146 Old 04-17-2007, 12:48 PM
 
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Does anyone have photographs of very obviously religious women nursing their babies? I remember one of a veiled woman, baby in lap, only breast and baby showing, nursing the baby.
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#88 of 146 Old 04-17-2007, 01:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mamaverdi View Post
Does anyone have photographs of very obviously religious women nursing their babies? I remember one of a veiled woman, baby in lap, only breast and baby showing, nursing the baby.
Here's one:

http://www.acclaimimages.com/_galler...2505-0057.html
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#89 of 146 Old 04-17-2007, 01:36 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Rhannie View Post
I did not say that to be a general rule. IMO nursing is natural and can be done anywhere, anyway. BUT the OP and RMH, Houston have come to an "agreement" of sorts. In order to comply with RHM, Houston's "requests" to "inform" the people around OP that she is going to feed the baby AND "be discrete" I suggested that this is one way to do it. I highly doubt anyone staying at RMH would actually say, "No, I prefer you not feed your baby in front of me."

Rhannie
Unfortunately the point of this whole....well forum is that there are people who do say that they prefer we not feed our babies in front of them.
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#90 of 146 Old 04-17-2007, 01:48 PM
 
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His name is Martin Coyne. It was a bit bizarre. Of course, they wouldn't put me through to him but I did speak to his secretary (what you do is you call the number posted 630-623-7048, press 1 and when promoted say "Martin Coyne"). Then his line rings and his secretary answers. I asked to speak with him and she said he was in a board meeting and would I like to leave a message. And I said "Yes, please give me his voicemail." And she said "okay well who is this" and I stated my name. Then she asked why I was calling. I told her I was calling to complain about the treatment of Jesscia Swimmeley and her 17month old at a Houston RMH. She said "oh you have to leave a message in the general mailbox about that." I was pissed - I said "Oh I see so it can be deleted and Martin never has to hear the complaint?" She said "No it's just because we are trying to keep the complaints all in one place so we can address them collectively." to which I responded, "Oh so you have received alot of complaints about this, then?" And she said very quickly "oh no just a few here and there" Then I said "so I do not get to talk to a person about his I just get to talk to a recording and that's it?" And she said "Well, I am a person." I said "Oh Okay then...." And I went on for a bit how shocked and appalled I am that any RMH would treat a sick child and the mother that way..." And She said she was "unable to comment except to say that their lawyers were looking into the situation." Of course. And then I said that I am a lawyer and maybe you should bring to your lawyers' attentions that not only is RMH Houston in violation of Texas law but also of Illinois law as well. " And she said she would walk my message over to their lawyers as well (yeah right) I gave her my phone numbers and told that I wanted someone to call me back. She assured me someone would. yeah right.

I feel wholly unstaisfied - I want to complain to someone who matters in person!!!! At the very least I want that person's voice mail.

Maybe we shoould see if we can get Martin Coyne's email from the web
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