Breastfeeding on the 71L
In March, we posted a photo of a woman breastfeeding on the J-Church. The post prompted a lot of comments on either side of the public-breastfeeding debate. We learned that it is perfectly legal (of course, why wouldn’t it be?) to breastfeed in public in California — in fact, it is illegal to prohibit anyone from doing so in a public place. But what’s legal might still be considered out of the norm, as you can see from this email that we got from Mary today.
At 5:15 p.m. last night, the 71L was packed with the usual mixed clientele of workers, tourists and street people. At Van Ness a woman with small baby in front carrying pack got on the bus. She was offered a couple of seats as she passed toward the back of the bus, but she said she would stand. She had a cover over the baby, but as she passed me I could see from the side she was breast feeding the baby.
About four stops later the bus driver, woman, stood up and asked that the woman with the baby come forward. She did. After the bus driver spoke to her, she turned around and said to everyone, “Hey there’s no pornography going on here so you can all relax,” as she made her way back through the bus to where she had been standing. As she spoke to the woman accompanying her, she said the driver said several passengers had complained about her showing her breasts.
Unbelievable. It took me back 40 years to when I was breast feeding my son in the reception area of UCSF Medical Center and a security guard came and asked me to go to the restroom to feed my son. Yes, I had a blanket over him and me and “nothing” was showing.
So the most natural and best of motherhood is still not acceptable on Muni in San Francisco.
And as all this played out, two very intoxicated men stood over me swearing and carrying on a very drunk conversation about sex with some tourist woman they had met.
And Muni wants me to pay $1 more a day for this ride!
– Mary Stream
Good for the driver to stand up for this mom. I’m surprised that passengers would have complained to the driver about the mother showing her breasts. If you’ve been a reader of this blog or if you’ve been on Muni at all, you’d know there are plenty of other things to complain about besides breastfeeding.
Photo by Flickr user Raphael Goetter