Breastfeeding Moms to Descend on Washington for Great Nurse-In

If you are a breastfeeding mom or breastfeeding supporter anywhere near the Washington DC metro area, the U.S. Capitol Building is the place to be this Saturday, August 4, from 9 am to 4 pm. The mission of the Great Nurse-In is to normalize breastfeeding for today’s society and future generations by promoting public breastfeeding.

Why Should Breastfeeding Moms Demonstrate in Washington?

“Women have a right to breastfeed and not encounter difficulties in public. While in public, there is fear that one is risking ridicule and expulsion. This is far too common and unacceptable,” explain organizers on the Great Nurse-In website. “While there are laws allowing public breastfeeding in 48 of the 50 states, many are out-of-date and restrictive. Additionally, without public awareness and support of these laws, the burden is still on the nursing mother to defend her right to breastfeed.”

Channeling Outrage About Breastfeeding Discrimination

The Great Nurse-In was the brainstorm of one local mother, Rachel Papantonakis, outraged about a spate of incidents where women were asked to stop breastfeeding their children in public places, places they were legally allowed to breastfeed. The Washington Post reports:

A D.C. mother was told (incorrectly) that nursing in a public building was illegal. A few weeks later, women across the country gathered to protest an incident at a Houston Target when employees harassed a mother for breast-feeding. At almost the same time, NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne tweeted that he’d just witnessed a mother nursing her child in public and it was “nasty.” Kahne later publicly apologized.

Papantonakis was especially incensed by an incident last year at the Hirshhorn Museum when a guard told a mother she could only nurse her child in the restroom — which would have meant feeding the baby on a toilet seat. Smithsonian officials later apologized for the guard’s actions and said they welcomed the nurse-in it prompted.

Papantonakis began posting to local listservs about her idea for a “Million Boob March” on Washington and the Great Nurse-In grew out of interest she generated.

Since Papantonakis and other organizers began putting together Saturday’s and related events, media and public attention to breastbeeding has grown, especially since Time Magazine declared breastfeeding an extreme parenting technique in a highly controversial cover article.

Great Nurse-In To Focus on aWoman’s Right to Fed Her Child in Public

“While there are laws allowing public breastfeeding in 48 of the 50 states, many are out-of-date and restrictive, putting the stress and burden of enforcement on the nursing mother rather than those who violate them,” organizers explain in their FAQ.

In another highly publicized incident, a DC mom and lawyer was harassed by two guards at the Department of Motor Vehicles for breastfeeding her infant son while she waited to contest a traffic ticket. “I was shocked, upset and angry that by providing food for my son, I was being treated like a criminal,” Simone Manigo-Truell dos Santos wrote in the Washington Post. Manigo-Truell dos Santos immediately called her law firm to confirm that, since 2007, there has been a law in the District protecting a woman’s right to breastfeed anywhere she is legally allowed to be herself.

Many Great Nurse-In participants are already in town for Friday’s Congressional action day. Moms will be meeting with their members of Congress to lobby for federal laws supporting breastfeeding rights. ”While there is a law allowing breastfeeding on federal property, we’d like to go one step further and call for the creation of an overarching federal law protecting public breastfeeding equally and completely in all states.”

Get Involved with World Breastfeeding Week and The Big Latch-On

The Great Nurse-In is being organized in conjunction with World Breastfeeding Week. At 10 am, participants will begin settling babies and toddlers for a worldwide attempt to break breastfeeding records with The Big Latch-On.

Organizers are encouraging supporters who can’t make this year’s event to get involved online or with events in their own areas.

Related Reading

Pediatricians and Hospitals Resolve to Stop Infant Formula

Uproar Over Oreo Ad With Breastfeeding Baby

Mom Booted After Breastfeeding at Minneapolis Library





Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle5 years ago

I'm sure this doesn't happen in other countries -- the U.S. is so over-the-top when it comes to women's breasts -- BREAST FEEDING IS WHAT THEY'RE THERE FOR!!!!!!!!! It's so natural and better for the baby, and I think it's sweet to see mothers breast feeding their babies -- all I've seen, have done it discreetly.

Danuta Watola
Danuta W5 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Valarie Snell
Valarie Snell5 years ago


Janet Felczak
Janet F5 years ago

@Mary C...why should these mothers have to stay home with their's far better to be expose to germs than if a sterile environment...that only makes for babies that get sick easy...the more they are exposed the better their immune systems work...what are babies not suppose to be out and about with their mothers...give your head a shake

Mary Carpenter
Mary C5 years ago

Who are these people that are taking these vulnerable babies out into the public all day, for hours a day??? I think some people do it just to spite others, plain and simple. It CAN be done with discretion. Why are you out in a germy public place with an infant??? Holy $hit I have seen premature newborns at Disney. Stay home with these babies people.

And just what the hell does this have to do with gay men??? Stick with the subject please.

Janet Felczak
Janet F5 years ago

almost feed the meal to me...they didn't have a thing to say to me...they were just happy not to have to sit because a screaming crying baby!

Janet Felczak
Janet F5 years ago

I breast fed my two sons until they were 6 months old...always done with discretion...I never hung my breast out for just anyone to see...once I was with my husband in a restaurant in a booth when friends of his sat down to join us...I needed to feed my son, when I proceeded to nurse my son, his friends who had sat down with us asked to me do it somewhere husband didn't say anything...was I annoyed to can bet your bottom dollar I was...the best tho was when we were on an aircraft...we had booked early so we would have seats together, however the airline overbooked and they needed to separate us because of a fellow with a broken leg needed the room to sit...I was moved with my infant son to a seat in between two men who were upset that they had to sit beside me and my baby...that was bad the aircraft takes off I no longer have access to my bag with all my supplies for the baby, and my little one starts to cry because of the pressure that happens with the change of these guys were starting to get really poor little guy was in pain...I did the only thing I could do for him...I discreetly proceeded to give him my breast not showing anything at all...well I can only say this...those two men didn't have another thing to say...I calmed down my crying son and he didn't have another peep for the rest of the flight...however when our meals came (this was when they still served meals some 30 years ago) they offered to cut my meat and alm

Nicole Weber
Nicole W5 years ago


Felicia S.
Phyllis S5 years ago

I was never comfortable feeding my children in public. I needed to relax, not worrying about some freak trying to catch a glimpse. But, hey if it works for you, do it!!!

Mary B.
Mary B5 years ago

Kimberlee W. I agree with everything you are saying.....but......this protest came about because a woman was told it was illegal to breast feed in DC in a public building......Perhaps her breast was all she had to offer, perhaps she just wanted to give her baby the best start in life. (Care 2 readers are very big on nursing)
Yes, it seems like a frivolous thing but the point being made goes much deeper I think