So go ahead and excercise it. Meanwhile, I’ll be over here breastfeeding my child. Warning: Rant ahead. If you think breastfeeding is disgusting, now’s the time to keep on surfing right past my blog.

Yesterday on my playgroup board, someone posted the link to this article. A heated debate ensued. First, the article:

Woman kicked off plane for breast-feeding
Files complaint saying she was being discreet, airline disagrees
The Associated Press
Updated: 7:07 p.m. ET Nov 16, 2006

BURLINGTON, Vt. – A woman who claims she was kicked off an airplane because she was breast-feeding her baby has filed a complaint against two airlines, her attorney said.

Emily Gillette, 27, of Santa Fe, N.M., filed the complaint with the Vermont Human Rights Commission late last week against Delta Air Lines and Freedom Airlines, said her attorney, Elizabeth Boepple. Freedom was operating the Delta flight between Burlington and New York City.

Gillette said she was discreetly breast-feeding her 22-month-old daughter on Oct. 13 as their flight prepared to leave Burlington International Airport. She said she was seated by the window in the next-to-last row, her husband was seated between her and the aisle and no part of her breast was showing.

A flight attendant tried to hand her a blanket and told her to cover up, Gillette said. She declined, telling the flight attendant she had a legal right to breast-feed her baby.

Moments later, a Delta ticket agent approached and said the flight attendant had asked that the family be removed from the flight, Gillette said. She said she didn’t want to make a scene and complied.

“It embarrassed me. That was my first reaction, which is a weird reaction for doing something so good for a child,” Gillette said Monday.

A Freedom spokesman said Gillette was asked to leave the flight after she declined the blanket.

“A breast-feeding mother is perfectly acceptable on an aircraft, providing she is feeding the child in a discreet way,” that doesn’t bother others, said Paul Skellon, spokesman for Phoenix-based Freedom. “She was asked to use a blanket just to provide a little more discretion, she was given a blanket, and she refused to use it, and that’s all I know.”

A complaint against two airlines was filed with the Vermont Human Rights Commission, although Executive Director Robert Appel said he was barred by state law from confirming the complaint. He said state law allows a mother to breast-feed in public.

The Vermont Human Rights Commission investigates complaints and determines whether discrimination may have occurred. The parties to a complaint are given six months to reach a settlement. If none is reached, the commission then decides whether to go to court. A complainant can file a separate suit in state court at any time.
© 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Now, I don’t actually breastfeed anymore so I’m not actually over here breastfeeding, but I still remember what it’s like to be a breastfeeding mom and this made me see so many shades of red. In my opinion, a woman should be able to breastfeed in public without fearing she’ll be kicked off an airplane, for God’s sake. As one of the mom’s on our playgroup said:

…she is permitted to BF where ever she is, and has no obligation to be discreet. Not that I’m saying to feed the child with one, and swing the other one around with a tassel or anything, but my goodness it’s just a breast.

Someone wondered why she didn’t just take the blanket. Some of the moms responded that they didn’t think she should have to cover her child. I believe one mom’s response was that she’d have offered to smother the person who wanted her to smother her child, lolol.

My response:

Some children do NOT like to have their heads covered when breastfeeding. Brianna was like this, so I chose not to breastfeed in public for the most part. However, I did breastfeed her on the plane more than once and while I made every effort to be discreet, I would not have reacted well to being handed a blanket. That makes me fairly angry, to think of it, and I am NOT the type of person who just whipped out my boob for breastfeeding. But it’s not just as easy as “covering with a blanket” sometimes, because not all children will “let” you cover their heads. I don’t like to have my head covered with a blanket, why should my child? And that child will let you know it.

It was also stated that “most” people don’t want to have to see that. My response:

I find body odor and strong perfume offensive. I think those things are much more intrusive on a plane than breastfeeding but I don’t recall hearing someone being asked to leave a plane for those reasons. Breastfeeding isn’t hurting anyone and YOU DON’T HAVE TO LOOK. Not so easy to escape an offensive smell. But our society has made the breast such a huge freaking deal, God forbid you use them for what the Lord gave them to you for.

and later

My point is this, yes, some people may be uncomfortable. But there are many things that make me uncomfortable that people don’t get kicked off the plane for: Wearing baggy pants that show their ass crack, not showering, wearing strong perfume, and so on. What makes breastfeeding so special that people who do this should be singled out for the sake of those who are uncomfortable? If we’re going to do that, I should be able to ask all of the above to be kicked off the plane so I don’t have to be uncomfortable any more. But alas, that’s not going to happen, so I tolerate what makes me uncomfortable. But apparently, breastfeeding is a special circumstance and should be singled out as more offensive than the other “offenses”.

Further discussion was made about the child’s age. In my reality, it’s none of your business how old my child is, and she was still under two but I presented this, though no one took up the arguement. *sigh*

And for arguement’s sake, I’m going to throw this out there. Several of you mentioned the baby’s age. Let’s say–again, for arguement’s sake since we don’t know the circumstances–that the 22 month old was fussy. Anyone who’s ever traveled can attest that not only is it not fun traveling WITH a fussy child, it’s no fun sitting near them.

So what if, instead of having a screaming, whining, fussy kid on her hands, this woman chose to breastfeed instead, to keep the child calm and not subject herself or others to hysterics. Are you telling me it’s better for all involved for her to NOT breastfeed, so as not to make anyone uncomfortable, and instead let the child cry, fuss, scream, whatever and really annoy people?

So I’m curious to hear opinions from people not on my playgroup, since we are obviously a group of moms, most either stay-at-home or work-at-home, so our views are more likely to be skewed in favor of the breastfeeding woman. Anyone think the airline did the right thing? Even though I disagree with you, I promise I’ll still respect you in the morning!***

And for what it’s worth, follow up articles: Moms stage a “nurse in” at Delta
MSNBC Discussion board on whether Delta did the right thing
vote on whether moms should nurse in public

***For the sake of discussion, I’m just going to “pretend” that this story happened exactly as written *snort*. There’s no need to remind me that Delta may have removed her from the plane for other reasons. Let’s just assume that she was removed because she was breastfeeding and wouldn’t use the blanket.

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