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

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#1 of 146 Old 04-16-2007, 10:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok here is the outcome of the meeting. We got out about and hour ago and I have been trying to find time to post here after returning some phone calls.

The meeting was about 2 hours long and included myself and my sister, a representative from the LLL, and a doctor from the area who is responsible for some big research on breastfeeding. I will not mention their names as I have not asked them for permission to do that but we thank them both for their support! We could not have handled the meeting without them. I contacted the suggested LLL person in Texas(again no names) and she sent them right out. She was great as well and worked tirelessly for us today.

From the RMH Arlene, the Director of Operations, as well as Naomi, the Executive Director, attended as well as a couple of their board members.

After a very lengthy conversion with many twists and turns the RMH is allowing us to stay. We are from now on allowed to breastfeeding in the communal areas if we follow some rules they have set forth and not too many people complain about it. They said if just one person complains they will tell them they support breastfeeding and discuss with them why they are concerned. If many people were to complain they will have to deal with that as it comes up, they could not say how as they have not encountered the situation.

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.

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.

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.

The RMH wanted us to tell everybody that the RMH supports breastfeeding moms...they were VERY adamant about it. You can decide for yourself if that is true, I am only passing on what they said to us.

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.

Obviously alot more was said in 2 hours but this is the gist of the situation. If they really do examine their guideline this could be a really good thing but we will have to follow up to make sure that happened. Please if you decide to write anymore letters(and they received ALOT of letters) please do so to encourage them to reexamine thier guidelines and to thank them for considering it. Although they were not apologetic to us they have agreed to reexamine their stance and this could be really good for alot of nursing moms. If we handle this correctly this could mean national change for the RMH.

We will be waiting to find out how this plays out in the following days and will will update as needed. Lots of media have contacted us from all kinds of large outlets and I am still not sure who, if anyone, I will talk to at this point. We are trying to decide how to best help ALL moms.

We want this to benefit moms across the board so me and Jessica will be working to change their guidelines as we go. And the LLL says they will continue to offer us support. We are not giving up on a full scale policy protecting moms, but we will have to wait for a board decision on that. This will take time but I am confident that we can make this happen.

THANK YOU ALL FOR OUR SUPPORT!!!!! Above all if you all had not done what you have done I suspect we would not have had the outcome we did or even had that meeting.

Your advice and input is welcome here as to how we should proceed and we will be checking in.

Thank you.
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#2 of 146 Old 04-16-2007, 10:06 PM
 
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Please keep us informed of your nephew's progress ( along with how they treat you!)

Jeana Christian momma to 4 sons Logan 18, Connor 15, Nathan 6, and bonus baby Jack 1
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#3 of 146 Old 04-16-2007, 10:08 PM
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Please keep us informed of your nephew's progress ( along with how they treat you!)
Agreed! Please do!
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#4 of 146 Old 04-16-2007, 10:09 PM
 
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thank you for the update.

more healing vibes to your nephew...

~claudia
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#5 of 146 Old 04-16-2007, 10:10 PM
 
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Thank you so much for the update. So many of us have been waiting on bated breath for it. What an evening for you. I hope you can rest later. What a wonderful sister and aunt you are too.

While it isn't the outcome I think we all would like, it is at least one that keeps you in the house for now and able to breast feed and meet your families needs.

I hope we all can continue to work for policy change for the RMH and to benefit all breast feeding mothers and families in the future.

At least now you and your family can return to the task of caring for your family and dear nephew. Best of luck and please continue to keep us posted on his treatment and progress too!
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#6 of 146 Old 04-16-2007, 10:10 PM
 
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to you MAMA!! That must have been very stressful. I am sorry you are going through this. This is NOT what your family needs.

I am so right now I can't stand it. I am glad you are able to stay there, but there stance is NOT acceptable IMO. What is "discreet?"
What happens if "someone" is offended? This is still a deplorable situation, and nothing has changed in my opinion.

Thinking about you and your sister and your children and hers.

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#7 of 146 Old 04-16-2007, 10:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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
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#8 of 146 Old 04-16-2007, 10:13 PM
 
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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.
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#9 of 146 Old 04-16-2007, 10:14 PM
 
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A few things:

It is so sad to me that there are so few people NIPing there that this is a new thing for them.

How is saying "I'm going to breastfeed now! Look away if you don't want to see!" discreet?

Isn't there any law enforcement? How can the board get away with such a discriminatory policy?

I'm not convinced they support BFing moms. Hopefully future action will prove that's true.

Good for you (and everyone else who got fired up) for not backing down!
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#10 of 146 Old 04-16-2007, 10:15 PM
 
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Thank goodness. At least the outcome was decent. I do agree they need to review their guidelines. Especially if the new bill comes through.

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#11 of 146 Old 04-16-2007, 10:15 PM
 
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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
Hugs to you and tobin.

My mom just had a Traumatic Brain Injury on 3/8. She still has pain issues. I told her this story and she said she can't even imagine a 17mo having the pain she had. She wants to write an e-mail too!


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#12 of 146 Old 04-16-2007, 10:16 PM
 
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Well, I'm very glad that you and your sister will continue to have a place to stay over the next few days - what a good job you've done advocating for yourselves and your babies.

It seems clear to me that the only reason they have let you stay is because they are afraid of the PR (as evidenced by the lack of apology and conditionality of their agreement). In my view, that does not make them supportive of breastfeeding or follow the spirit of the laws protecting breastfeeding mothers.

It's not right that you should have to meet all these conditions and still be subject to 'complaints' from anonymous strangers (though I totally understand why you'd agree). These laws exist so that organizations can't do that.

This whole "uncomfortable" and discreet thing really gets me - sure there may be people who are uncomfortable with NIP or toddler nursing. Fine - but as a society we've clearly decided that BF is best and that needs to be supported. A good many people would be uncomfortable on religious or other grounds if a same-sex couple were being affectionate in public (or even in some place interracial couples, I bet). So, just because it's on some nominally moral or religious ground, it would be ok to send those folks to their room to hold hands? (Maybe not a perfect analogy...).

Anyway, I'll keep my eyes open for how this works out and am happy to do whatever you'd like to support your efforts (just don't want to do anything that's going to make your stay any harder than it has been already).

And any McDonald's folks reading: this doesn't make you breastfeeding-friendly - it's still shameful behaviour and an appalling policy. McDonald's won't see of any of my business and RMH is off my fundraising and any corporate/group lists I have influence over.

Michelle, mama to Isabelle (03/04) and Tom (02/07)
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#13 of 146 Old 04-16-2007, 10:16 PM
 
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Well, their response is a good start. Not the absolute best final thing, but a good start and good for you! I would really not expect an apology...I mean, it would be really nice if you got one, but they might think that issuing an apology would open them up to more legal ramifications...kind of like saying "sorry" after a car accident can be construed as admitting fault, KWIM?

I have to say that you are incredibly strong and incredibly generous to give of yourself like this. You won't be in Texas forever, but the sacrifice you have made will hopefully benefit Texan mothers for years to come. From this Texan, thank you.

Oh...and I'm not sure I would announce your intentions to breastfeed. That's just going to ask for people to object...it is the opposite of discreet.
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#14 of 146 Old 04-16-2007, 10:17 PM
 
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Please keep us informed of your nephew's progress ( along with how they treat you!)
s :

We will be here to support you thru all else!
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#15 of 146 Old 04-16-2007, 10:21 PM
 
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BGT-thanks for the update. I agree it's certainly not a perfect solution, but hopefully it will lead to postive change. I hope that you are able to take a step back from all of this and realize what a kick-@$$ mama, sister and aunt you are for fighting this fight. I hope you are as proud of yourself as we are of you.

Paige, mama to three girls, (10), (8) and (3)
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#16 of 146 Old 04-16-2007, 10:21 PM
 
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I'm glad things turned out...well, I won't say good, but "okay" at least. I pray you have no more issues with this.

Jenn
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#17 of 146 Old 04-16-2007, 10:22 PM
 
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We are from now on allowed to breastfeeding in the communal areas if we follow some rules they have set forth and not too many people complain about it.
Wow. Just wow. How generous of them. *sigh* I'm going to refrain from getting all worked up over this. I hope the rest of your stay goes well for you and your family.

Mama to 5 busy bees (12, 9, 7, 3, 2) and expecting #6 June/2014

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On behalf of ALL mothers, thank you for the strength you have shown in this horrible situation. I love that Tobin as able to nurse to sleep whenever and WHEREVER he needs to do so. Hopefully this will only be a speedbump along his road to recovery, and thanks to your efforts, he most likely will not even know anything happened, because his comfort will not be disrupted! Good luck, and thank you for taking time away from your family to update us here.

--Jennifer
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#19 of 146 Old 04-16-2007, 10:25 PM
 
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First, I'm glad Tobin is out of the hospital. I hope he continues to do well and that your stay is less stressful.

I think the meeting was a kind of victory. Obviously, it would have been better if they would have apologized for how you and your sister have been treated and assured you both that you would be allowed to stay until Tobin is fully recovered.

BUT it is something that if one person complains they will say they support breastfeeding. (Also that they want to get the word out they RMH supports nursing--they are clearly concerned that they will get an image of not being supportive.)
I think you're right, we all have to follow through.
My husband called and left a voice mail message.
I wrote an email focusing on a couple things. My dd was in NICU and I received almost nothing but complete support for nursing her. I can't imagine the stress of a sick baby and then the stress of feeling like I had to hide nursing her.
I also focused on them changing their policy. (I worded it positively, like because they are such a great organization, after they review the medical support for breastfeeding they'll have to change their minds.)
I think you are such a strong, impressive mama to have organized this whole movement to get them to change their policy.
I will keep checking for updates on your sweet nephew.

:Mama to 2 :
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#20 of 146 Old 04-16-2007, 10:26 PM
 
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I just wanted to let you know that I burnt my ds's dinner because I kept coming back her to check for updates!

I think it is a good start.

Perhaps as a next step for the rest of us, we could write some snail mail (I'm assuming they are deleting our emails by this time! ) letters asking them to reconsider their policy.

Your family is so brave to do this at a difficult time.

The Houston LLL sounds great, too.
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#21 of 146 Old 04-16-2007, 10:28 PM
 
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"It seems clear to me that the only reason they have let you stay is because they are afraid of the PR (as evidenced by the lack of apology and conditionality of their agreement). In my view, that does not make them supportive of breastfeeding or follow the spirit of the laws protecting breastfeeding mothers. "

I agree- and I find the fact that they wouldn't even give you an apology speaks louder than their placating words.

I'm so sorry that you've had to go through this- the very last thing you need to deal with right now!! My thoughts and best wishes go out to your family.

Dani
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#22 of 146 Old 04-16-2007, 10:30 PM
 
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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.

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.
....

The RMH wanted us to tell everybody that the RMH supports breastfeeding moms...they were VERY adamant about it. You can decide for yourself if that is true, I am only passing on what they said to us.
: I'm glad for a semi-positive resolution for your family, but obviously this RMH affiliate wants this to be swept under the rug.

I'm assuming, but not sure, this decision was coming from the Texas RMH?? Or was it coming from a step up, national level?

"oral" policy seems like a code name for whatever the b-f'ing climate is in the location, but heck, thank goodness Texas has the law. It trumps that.

Jessica

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#23 of 146 Old 04-16-2007, 10:31 PM
 
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I'm happy to hear the outcome was *somewhat* positive, I agree with other posters that it's not the best outcome you could have gotten, but it's better than nothing... I hope they decide to change their "policy"!
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#24 of 146 Old 04-16-2007, 10:33 PM
 
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Ok...so how do we contact the board? We should start directing our letters and phone calls there, to insist that a breastfeeding policy change be made (in the best interest of future nursing families, as well as the public image of this RMH). As they are probably deleting emails at this point, we should probably start writing physical letters. Anyone have the address to the Texas RMH board? I also agree that the state attorney general should be notified, as they are likely violating the Texas breastfeeding law (although I understand that there are loopholes that could be exploited).

Hoping that Tobin has a speedy recovery
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#25 of 146 Old 04-16-2007, 10:36 PM
 
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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.

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#26 of 146 Old 04-16-2007, 10:36 PM
 
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How is saying "I'm going to breastfeed now! Look away if you don't want to see!" discreet?
It's not discrete, but I would phrase it "My son/daughter is hungry, do you mind if I feed him here?" There are very few people who would say no (the occasional idiot might, but . . . ) There's no reason you have to say HOW you are going to feed the baby, they were informed that you would be feeding the baby and if they misinterpreted and thought you'd be using a bottle, well we know that assumptions do

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#27 of 146 Old 04-16-2007, 10:42 PM
 
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Oh, see, now, my inlaws would say that yes, they would mind.

My pastor taught us that it's easier to ask forgiveness than permission (this he learned during the marches for equal rights in the south during the heyday of Dr. King), and in this case, I certainly agree with him!

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#28 of 146 Old 04-16-2007, 10:42 PM
 
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First and foremost, I am praying for Tobin and your family.

Secondly, I had been awaiting an update before taking any action, but I will now definitely be sending email and snail mail. IMO, this is NOT an acceptable solution. They are still breaking the law with their policies. It makes me wonder if they really have been in touch with their legal department. It seems very clear "A mother has the right to breastfeed anywhere she otherwise has the right to be" Nowhere does it say "if it doesn't make other people uncomfortable" "if she's discreet" or "if she obtains permission from others present".

This whole thing makes me so very very angry. I'm so sorry you're having to deal with it at such a stressful time.
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#29 of 146 Old 04-16-2007, 10:43 PM
 
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does anyone know if there is a phone number or email to contact the state attorney general? Today I left phone messages for the contact at RMH in Houston, corporate headquarters in IL, and the TX dept of health. I tried to get info on the SAG office in TX, but only had a few mins and two kids in the office w/ me, and couldn't find an easy way to get in touch with them. If anyone finds this info, can you please post the info here? I'd like to see them getting involved, especially since this mom has taken steps to get the situation rectified and her legal rights still seem to be getting trampled upon (from what I can tell).
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#30 of 146 Old 04-16-2007, 10:43 PM
 
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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.
If you read the beginning pages of the original thread, it points out a lot of the holes in the Texas law.
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