Group Making Public Breastfeeding Acceptable

By Katie Wiedemann, Reporter

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By Larry Burkum

DUBUQUE, Iowa - To breast feed in public or do it at home? That was the question at the Farmer's Market in Dubuque on Saturday.

Mothers breast feeding babies in public places has long been a controversial issue. Organizations like the Le Leche League urge acceptance of mothers feeding their babies in public places. While opponents argue mothers should only nurse in private.

In the middle of the crowded Farmer's Market, Dawnelle Gordon gives her son Ryder what she says he needs most. Her milk.

Gordon said, "Even just to find a place to sit to nurse can sometimes be difficult. "

That’s why Gordon and her friends set up a tent at several busy public events. They say it's a quiet, comfortable place to escape to when baby gets fussy.

Amanda Bickal said, "with kids, especially in the first year of life, when they are hungry, they are hungry. "

Nationally, some public breastfeeding opponents believe nursing should be done strictly in private places. Bickal and Gordon say they have faced some opposition in Dubuque.

"There was one person who flat out asked us, "why can't they go home to nurse?" which really hurt us, " said Bickal.

The group says this tent is more than just a place to nurse. The group also set up a changing table.

"The changing table is definitely a great idea because, I mean, there's only Porta Potties at most festivals,” said Bickal.

The group says this tent offers mothers freedom during a time when many women feel isolated.

"It's definitely a way to still get out with our families and our friends as well, " said Gordon.
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