Yesterday I posted here about an unfortunate incident which occurred in The Park Street Cafe in Bristol. Today I attended the breastfeeding protest which was arranged in response to this incident. We met at noon on college green in the centre of Bristol. It was moving how many women had come to support the countries breastfeeding mothers, because thats what this was about. It was about saying to the public we breastfeed its normal, its natural and we should be able to do it wherever and whenever our baby needs feeding.
The Cafe owner had posted an explanation to the organisers Facebook page prior to the event. He claims that the member of staff concerned is Italian and that the whole event was a cultural misunderstanding. That the intention had been to make the mother more comfortable because the cafe has big windows. Personally I find this unacceptable. Firstly I seriously doubt that “please move because you are being impolite” was a mistaken interpretation for “can I make you more comfortable”. Secondly in a society where we are taught to breastfeed by health professionals I think breastfeeding being seen through the cafe’s “big windows’ would be a positive step forward in normalising breastfeeding.
The cafe filled with breastfeeding mothers and the press. The owner and Kelly Schaecher were interviewed and photographed and the coverage is all over the press, which is great. Outside the cafe masses of women gathered with placards and smiles. It was a peaceful gathering, and I felt one in which we were being appreciated and supported for breastfeeding and for mothering.
Later we all headed back to college green for a massive breastfeeding photograph. It was lovely to see so many breastfeeding mothers and their babies, all smiling and enjoying the moment. The protest was a success. Breastfeeding was on the news, and I hope that despite a rather shaky excuse the cafe owner will have learned from this event. Well done to those that organised and attended this impressive gathering.