Fear and Breastfeeding in Las Vegas

Breastfeeding is not porn, nudity, or obscene The Leaky Boob

Since starting The Leaky Boob 2.5 years ago I have said and photographed things I would never have imagined doing before.  I’ve said things such as “breastfeeding is not about sex, it’s about feeding a baby.”  Nothing like stating the obvious.  Most recently was texting my husband “do you know where that nudie card is I brought back from Vegas?  I need it.”  Yep, I brought a nudie card home from Vegas.

Say “Las Vegas” and most of us conjure up images of slot machines, black jack tables, show girls, stripers, booze, and buffets with obscene quantities of food.  Sex and money seem to flow freely.  Clothing requirements are little more than sequins, triangles, stars, and stilettos for women, the range is a little more diverse for men.

Say “mommy conference” and you probably picture babies in strollers or carriers, baby toys, tennis shoes, snack cups, and a chatty group of women.  Breastmilk and cheerios seem to flow freely.  Clothing requirements range from diapers and onesies or soft outfits in bright colors for the smaller ones in the crowd and something comfortable covered in spit up for the adults.

Say “mommy conference in Las Vegas” and you might get a little confused.

However, as much as it may seem like a collision of 2 very different worlds, the MommyCon conference in Las Vegas hosted at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino was anything but confused.  It was fun, vibrant, and sometimes a little comical (I doubt Vegas has ever seen so many babies in carriers going through their casinos).  The Flamingo Hotel did a great job securing extra cribs for the influx of young guests and the conference area hosted workshops like dancing with your baby and it didn’t even involve a pole.  While there was room for improvement, the host hotel handled the influx of moms and dads with babies and young children well and the juxtaposition wasn’t as weird as I anticipated.  I was thrilled to be there as a speaker and enjoyed my first ever trip to Las Vegas.  It seemed appropriate that I was in Vegas speaking about Sex, Lies, Parenting, and the Rest.  I had a great time with my fellow speakers and meeting the attendees of the event.

I have breastfed 6 children now, in all different settings, sometimes covered and sometimes not.  Over time, however, I stopped covering completely thanks to babies that fought the cover, me realizing that I don’t show much when I feed my baby, and eventually a belief that covering was actually hindering breastfeeding for some women either because they didn’t see others doing it or because they couldn’t navigate breastfeeding in public with a cover.  In all my breastfeeding in public experience, I have never, not once, been asked to cover or leave.  There have been times I thought I received disapproving looks or was shunned for feeding but I’ve never experienced any kind of real negativity about my feeding my baby.  Actually, I’ve experienced several positive and affirming exchanges as I fed my babies in public, more people expressing support than disapproval.  Today I’m experienced and confident when I feed my babies, well practiced and well informed about my baby’s right to eat.  Even now though, when I need to feed my baby in a public setting I will have a moment of anticipatory nervousness as though I expect something to happen.

Flamingo hotel

Feeding Sugarbaby at the Tropical Breezes cafe at the Flamingo in Las Vegas

Except in Vegas at a mommy conference that highlighted breastfeeding and where I was speaking because I created “The Leaky Boob.”  It didn’t even occur to me that someone could have a problem with me breastfeeding there, of all places.

Following my first talk in the morning of Friday, January 4, 2013, I met up with my friend, Sue, who was helping take care of my 8 month old daughter, who I call Sugarbaby, while I spoke.  We decided to have lunch in the Flamingo’s Tropical Breeze Cafe so I could feed my baby and myself before speaking at another session after the break.  Wearing a simple button up shirt and a Rumina Nursingwear tank with Bamboobies breastpads (I may be The Leaky Boob but I didn’t want to leak during my talks), I fed my hungry baby shortly after we were seated while we skimmed the menu.  She was hungry and had missed me so she got down to business pretty quickly and stayed focused.  Our server brought us our drinks and a random cup of coffee neither of us ordered and took our food order.  As we sat joking about the random cup of coffee and waiting for our food (I think he thought I looked like I could use some caffeine), a lovely woman in a suit approached us.  She smiled and asked us how we were then very politely requested that I use a cover, nodding in the general direction of my baby at my breast.

People, I laughed.  I couldn’t help it.  I laughed and asked her to repeat herself.

After confirming that she was indeed asking me to cover while I fed my baby I returned her smile, barely suppressed my laughter, and informed her of my legal right to breastfeed my baby anywhere my baby and I have the right to be, covered or not.  (Do you know the laws where you are?  This helpful resource compiled by You Can Breastfeed Here is a great place to start to find out.)  Her smile waining ever so slightly and her eyes widening ever so noticeably, she gently, though firmly, informed me that I could do whatever I wanted to do but that if I covered I would be making others feel more comfortable as there had been four tables that complained about what I was doing.

I laughed again.  Harder.  “They do know they are in Vegas, right?” I asked her through my laughter.  Because this is what is on the sidewalks and shoved into the hands of those walking on the strip:

Vegas Nudie card

She looked around and I kept looking at her, still chuckling at the irony of this situation.  She knows that just before walking into her cafe I walked past a platform where that very evening, like every night, a woman exposing far more than I was while feeding my baby, dances with moves intending to sexually entice.  She knows that the sidewalks in front of the hotel are littered with photo cards of naked women with tiny stars on their nipples.  She knows that this very hotel advertises a burlesque show featuring breasts (bare), butts, and spread eagle moves on a video that loops endlessly in each guest elevator.  She knows that the very people that complained have seen all that and probably more in the 10 minutes before they sat at their table.  I know she was just trying to do her job.  I know she had no idea that there was actually a law stating I had the right to breastfeed anywhere my baby and I were legally permitted to be.  I know that in her line of work making the customer happy is a delicate balance when one customer may be making another uncomfortable.  I know that in that moment she was wishing I had never walked into her cafe.  I wondered if news coverage of irate breastfeeding moms flashed through her mind.

When she looked back at me I felt sorry for her.  She was probably a mom, I don’t know, but she wasn’t trying to make my life hard, nor was I trying to complicate her job.  In her mind it was simple, I could cover.  In my mind it was simple as well, putting the comfort of others over my child’s right to eat without a blanket on her head just wasn’t ok.  Her smile gone but her face still pleasant she stated again that I could do what I want but it would really help if I covered.  I thanked her and kindly told her that I would continue feeding my baby as I was.

Note that she didn’t yell at me, she never touched my baby or me, she did not call me names, she did not go over to the tables that complained and loudly inform them that I wouldn’t comply, she didn’t ask me to leave, and she didn’t threaten me in any way.

My friend and I laughed once she walked away, we could hardly talk as we shook with laughter.  Jamie Greyson, TheBabyGuyNYC,  joined us for lunch and we all talked about what had just happened.  This was a big deal but I didn’t want to do much about it before giving the hotel and casino the opportunity to make things right.  As I had another session coming up there wasn’t much I could do in the moment but finish feeding my daughter, eat my lunch, and tweet about the irony of the situation.  Jamie and I both shared the story on Twitter, tagged Flamingo, ordered our food, and discussed the entire situation over our meal before heading to my next session.  We all agreed that how I was feeding Sugarbaby at the moment showed far less than the poster outside the cafe and the cards handed out on the Vegas streets.

Vegas showgirl and breastfeeding mom

Poster outside cafe, me feeding Sugarbaby inside cafe.

Here’s where it gets most interesting.  In the 2.5 years I’ve been running The Leaky Boob I have watched how companies handle such fumbles when they receive public scrutiny for harassing a breastfeeding mothers and precious few navigate the rocky terrain well.  That very weekend Hollister Co was facing a national nurse-in protesting their handling of one of their store managers humiliating a Houston woman for breastfeeding in their Galleria store.  Over a week later and the company still hasn’t responded adequately.  I wasn’t sure what to expect from a Las Vegas hotel and casino but was pleasantly surprised to discover tweets from them responding not only to mine and Jamie’s tweets regarding the situation but individual responses to each of our followers that tweeted Flamingo about the situation as well.  It wasn’t long before I had a direct exchange with Flamingo on Twitter, in direct message, over emails, and then a phone call.  The representatives of the Flamingo asked if they could meet with me before I left and they publicly informed Twitter that they would be working with me to make it right.

My day was full of events and meetings so I was unavailable until Saturday, just before I had to leave.  It would have been easy to brush me off on a Saturday but instead Scott Farber Director of Food Operations, met with me personally Saturday morning to apologize, let me know that he had a meeting with his staff on Friday and informed them of Nevada state law permitting a woman to breastfeed her child where ever she has the legal right to be, and instructing his staff that should customers complain about a woman breastfeeding again they would not address the mother but would work with the customers that complained.  Kind and genuine, Scott laughed with me at the irony of being in Vegas and asked to cover.  Scott offered to make it up to me with a free meal and more and was genuinely concerned about how I was after the experience.  He shared that Estella, the manager, was horrified that she had misstepped in saying anything to me and he extended her apology as well as I didn’t have time to meet with her.  We discussed how the Flamingo could better welcome families and some changes that could be made to do so well.  The possibility of me returning to train their staff and sister hotels to consult with them on how to be set apart in Las Vegas as a family friendly destination came up.  These weren’t the actions of a company that wanted to embarrass their customer families, these were the actions of a company that cared to stand apart and understands the value of doing things right.

Yes, the cafe manager should have been aware of the law prior to asking me to cover but it isn’t a well-known law and probably not something they would have even anticipated needing to know.  Now that they are aware, however, they are responding and preparing to not make the same mistake again.  Instead of ignoring or responding heatedly to the situation, the Flamingo has become a model for other companies that find themselves in what could be a PR disaster.  A company that will receive my repeat business because of how well they handled their mistake.

The problem is a simple fix for the historic Las Vegas hotel and casino and they are well on their way to making it right.  The experience reflects more on society as a whole though.  That the most scandalous sight for some Las Vegas visitors was a baby eating is a little mind boggling.  Thankfully, I’m not easily intimidated, am informed on the law, am more than happy to help educate, and in the end I’m glad this experience happened to me because I believe through it The Leaky Boob and the Flamingo hotel and casino can work together to better support breastfeeding moms be they in Las Vegas or on the other side of the world.  If it happened to someone else it could have greatly damaged their breastfeeding relationship or intimidated them to not risk leaving their home setting them up for postpartum depression and extreme isolation.  Hopefully, by raising awareness others can become informed of the laws and their right to feed their baby and more companies will work to educate their employees on how to better support breastfeeding mothers and more and more mothers won’t have to be afraid to breastfeed their babies in Vegas or anywhere else.

Vegas call card compared to breastfeeding

_______________________________

 The Flamingo Hotel and Casino has asked me for tips and suggestions as to how their staff could handle breastfeeding situations in the future in a way that would be supportive and informed.  

What would be your suggestions?  

What tips would you give the employees that may encounter a breastfeeding pair and possible complaints from other guests?

_______________________________

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Comments

  1. I am glad everything worked out as it did and some more education has occurred. But, I watched Jamie’s tweet go viral and I have to wonder, if this had been someone else, would the response have been the same? Would they have been as quick to try to appease me? They had to have known fairly quickly that you aren’t just another breastfeeding Mom going about her day but rather a Mom with scope and influence.

    Ultimately, I am very pleased a lesson was learned and that the cafe stepped up and fixed the problem. In the end, that is what matters.

    • Excellent points Krista.

    • Exactly what I was thinking. Although I am glad Flamingo dealt with the aftermath in a favorable manner–and perhaps I’m just a skeptic–I also wonder how much their positive response may have been motivated by knowing they would get a lot of positive publicity (and business) if they handled the situation appropriately. Imagine thousands (if not more) people suddenly touting Flamingo as THE family friendly destination in Las Vegas simply because they decided to comply with the law. I would love to hear about hotels and restaurants that were compliant and breastfeeding friendly all along; I think they deserve the publicity much more.

      • WolfDaddyCA says:

        I’d like to think that in this day and age, there are enough pro-breastfeeding parents on Twitter and other social media that with a little cooperation and collaboration we could collectively stir up enough attention to invoke a similar response. It might take a few days instead of a few hours, but there’s power in numbers. Nurse-ins are taking hold, organizations like TLB and Best for Babes are gaining quite a following, and websites like NursingInPublic.com are shining a spotlight on this specific issue and similar events happening around the globe.

        These types of positive outcomes should be motivation for us all to continue finding even more effective ways to rally the troops and leverage our collective voice to encourage other companies to make the right decisions and take the right actions.

      • Jamie Brewer says:

        I’m still glad that their team handled this in exactly the manner they did. They apologized, wanted to become more informed, and asked what they could do to make it right and make it better for future customers. Had they not given a rip who she was, everybody would be on here commenting and DEMANDING the hotel do something about it. I wish MORE businesses treated all injustices with half the respect and dignity that the Flamingo did. Give them a break.

    • I think if someone posted on twitter and was getting a lot of instant feedback on it, they would have taken it seriously from anyone, as it’s a public incident in the making,

      However many women would not post about it instantly on twitter. or if they did, no one would care as they don’t have many followers. And you need the right kind of followers, for many women they don’t even have a friend of family member who breastfeeds, their family & friends might even agree with the waitress. Very few women are lucky to have a large support group of pro-breastfeeding women at the touch of a button.

  2. adina lafrance says:

    I think they should do a role play in the situation you found yourself in. then see how people respond and let them go back and try it again for the correct response that you actually did getin the end. those kind of role playing are very helpful training tools.

  3. I read this post with my mouth hanging open. Really? Really. Did she *really* just come up to you and not only make a silly request, but a PARENTING request? I continue to be enraged by this war against women’s bodies and the public’s “comfort level.”

    The thing I noticed most in this piece was this: when placed side-by-side, the photo that expresses femininity, grace, strength, and beauty, is the one of the woman performing life-giving duties. The woman with a figure enhanced by nature. The photo of the chica who is changin’ the world.

    Thanks for continuing to promote the rights of women everywhere. One day, we’ll all view those photos with equal “acceptability” and respect.

    • “view those photos with equal “acceptability” and respect.”? Let get our priorities straight. The woman feeding her baby with “femininity, grace, strength, and beauty” is the one deserving of respect. The other(s), how about pity, compassion for the woman, and disgust for her manipulative, seduction actions, intentions?

      • opps, excuse my grammer, please!

      • Stephen, I don’t speak for all women, and I don’t speak for the women in those photos, but for myself alone, I just want to let you know that I don’t give the smallest’s rat’s turd what you think of me, how I look, how I dress, and what I do with MY body. You don’t get to decide what is grace and strength and what is “manipulation.” If you feel manipulated (controlled), because you are too weak to control yourSELF, kindly look away. From all women, from all images of women. We are not beholden to your good opinion, your disgust is nothing but a reflection upon yourself and the extent to which your anxieties control you, and no one needs your pity. Save that self-righteous crap for your church friends.

  4. I was telling my mother about this story last week, and she had no idea that it was not okay to ask someone to cover up. I had been dancing around the issue for almost a year while she attempted to cover me up when someone else was around while I was nursing.

    Thanks for shedding light on the issue for uninformed people.

  5. Wow. I’m just…wow. I’m really glad that the F&B manager met with you and discussed all of this. I LOVE that he told his manager to address the situation with the complainers next time. Is it really so difficult for people to LOOK AWAY from someone breastfeeding in public? I don’t understand some people. No, they would rather complain than look away. ridiculous. You handled the situation just as I would have.

    I would tell an employee who is presented with a complaining guest to tell the guest that, unfortunately for them (the complainers), the nursing mother has the right to nurse wherever she may choose. I would then offer them a seat out of the line of vision of the nursing mother. Then I would politely tell them that it’s rude to stare.

  6. With more and more states enacting laws that allow a mother to breastfeed in public, uncovered, I’d like to see that law covered in employee training.

    • tony sharpe says:

      There should not be laws that allow breastfeeding in public. Why? Because there should not be a law that bans breastfeeding in the first place. It is a natural thing for a baby to drink from its mother just as it is a natural think for a mother to drink from a glass. Enough already. Let the baby feed!

  7. Awesome way to handle the situation & I’m impressed at how well the company & the restaurant manager acted, that’s the most important part!
    Now, I was wondering as a not very tech-savvy leaky, would it be possible for someone to create an app or something along those lines that would allow fellow leakies to access the breastfeeding laws by state on our phones in case we are harassed? Is there one already?
    I’m just thinking since not everyone will react like this restaurant manager & be pleasant & polite to us & refrain from pushing too much once we have stated that they are in the wrong & we are protected by law, maybe if we had a way of showing others that these laws indeed exist & that saying something to a breastfeeding mother could be considered harassment & discrimination, some (not all, some people might still push it & get rude) might back off & leave us to feed our babies in peace.

    • I’m new to the bf internet world so I don’t know if there is an app or not. But my husband works for a company that makes apps and he says that it would be a fairly easy one to make. So maybe I’ll put him to work on it.

  8. They could offer a free soft drink to the mom. Or just a smile that says: “You are welcome here and you will not be bothered wilst breastfeeding.” I loved when going to restaurants feeling that I had that kind of support from the staff.

    • Or a glass of water. When I was a fairly new BFing mom and was visiting a friend, we went swimming at her MIL’s country club. I found a quiet corner and BFed my baby, and her MIL brought me a glass of water. It was the sweetest thing, and touched me so much that she would think to support me instead of being offended.

  9. I will never understand why people are so offended about breastfeeding mothers. “Its like OMG its a boob, I have never seen one of those before!” Those type of people need to get over themselves! Love the way you handled it, and that you didn’t cover up!

  10. It may be a little counter productive, but perhaps the cafe/hotel could install a “family/nursing room”. I know its nothing that should be covered, but it may be more appealing to a nursing mom than at a dining table! I used one at a babies r us and it was comfortable.. Easier then covering, and just having one may say to customers that they respect the nursing mom!

    • I know what you mean about riding that fine line between offering a comfortable place to nurse and inadvertently telling moms they need to nurse in the provided room, but for a new breastfeeding mom I find those rooms nice sometimes. I’m getting more and more confident latching on my newborn in public and feeding her, but there are times (and some places) where I would just feel more comfortable in private without people staring. I’ll also enjoy those rooms when she gets more interested in her surroundings so I can have somewhere to nurse without her whipping her head back and forth to see everything around us.

      • Speaking As a mom with close-in-age kids, the family rooms are also a plus for corralling older siblings who need minding while I’m changing diapers or nursing or what have you…

    • My only issue with “mother/baby rooms” is that often these are mistaken for “you must take your baby in to this room-rooms”. It’s nice if a place offers somewhere quiet to sit. But if I should decide I do not need extra quiet or extra space to nurse my baby…then I should be allowed to simply sit in the restaurant while I enjoy my own meal & company. When the facility offers the room, they often feel it should be in lieu of you simply feeding your baby publicly. It really isn’t feasible for every established business to have a mother/baby room. And for businesses taking over an existing space, they may simply lack the space or funds to create a room that is not a bathroom & not the room that their business will be run in.

      In several articles regarding women being shamed for public nursing, I have seen a reference to a “family” room that is obeing offered to nursing mothers…and the facility insists the mother would be more comfortable in that location. Obviously…she was comfortable enough where she was to feed her baby without leaving. Having these rooms only seems to push the fact that nursing SHOULD be done out of sight.

  11. Sarah GLover says:

    How I love when someone walks up to me w a glass of water and a big smile when I am Nursing in PUblic.

    How should they “handle” a mother who is in their establishment? Well, Id say they should give her the decen respect and serivice theyd give any mother. We arent meant to be “handled”. How should they hanndle their own ignorance, read, ask, talk, converse. How could they help a mom breastfeeding thier baby, or any parent? Get them their food fast, when they order soup and a beverage upon sitting down its bc they are trying to shove food int heir face before baby is fussy and needs to eat, so quick service is always appreciated.

    So how would I have wished to be trained when I was a server? I wished someone would have taught me how often children need to eat and a bit on child developement so I knew that kids were acting as they could be expected. What I did well when I was a server was very little, wasnt at all good at it then, but there were two things that we were trained to do… get the cusomtomer a cup of water when they sat down and always remember that children are future customers themselves.

  12. I think in the future, the party that is offended could be moved to a different table so that they aren’t facing said nursing mom. That way, they are appeased, but no one’s rights are violated.

  13. Maybe the cafe can offer to seat the people who are offended (still baffles me how someone could be offended by a baby eating….) at a table so mommy and baby aren’t in their line of sight. Offers both mom and the others a resolve without approaching mom.

    • This supposes that breastfeeding will NEVER be that common….

      I’d prefer it if there were so bally many of us that you couldn’t leave the house without spotting one… One day!

    • If they take that route, it might be better if the cafe can ask the complainers to “please cover their heads while they eat.”

  14. I have a suggestion: Wouldn’t it be great if, when a server or manager in Vegas sees a mother nursing her child on their premises, they approach her politely and say: “How nice, here in Las Vegas, to see them being used for the purpose nature intended, for a change.”

    • I think it would have been rather good to have some nipple tassles on hand. Because you know, THAT would have made it acceptable…. right? :P

    • I’m pretty sure nature also intended them to be sexual objects too.

      • In actuality, the only reason men feel a strong “sexual” desire for breast is because over time in nature we have evolved knowing that the only way to keep our off spring alive is to nourish them at the breast. So the breast of a woman became a prized commodity in males seeking a mate. Unfortunately our society has shifted that biological instinct into something perverse and “sexual.” I would argue strongly that it is more an ingrained biological response to the need to reproduce than a sexual desire. Breast are not meant to be sexual, they are meant to nourish our offspring. We have nerve endings in our nipples to aide in the oxitocin response to breastfeeding, our breastfeeding relationship and our children’s existence depended on it. It is these same nerve endings that feel good when others, including ourselves, stimulate them. It is that pleasurable feeling that led to the religious view, and now cultural view, that breast are sexual.

  15. I think it is really wonderful that they have made some steps to make this right :) However, I really hope that they don’t ask a mother to shun herself to a “nursing room” in the future… But rather address the complaintants, and inform them of the mother’s lawful right to nurse her baby when and where she needs to. I think with your help (Jessica), this can really turn in to something great for us Leakies and The Flamingo. Not that I don’t mind a nursing room myself, but I have often needed to nurse my (now 19-month-old) baby while I was also eating- and I wouldn’t want to feel as though I neded to get up and go to another room to nurse. :)

    • Laura ivansons says:

      The idea of a nursing room is nice but the reality is lacking. I am the momma of eight and it is standard practice to nurse while eating. I do not have the time or desire to go and be alone to nourish my baby. That is one major beauty of my boobs…they are where I am and always ready to nourish
      my babies.

  16. Great story. If I’m ever in Vegas, they’ve earned my business. So glad they handled you so well. Thanks for standing up for the many mother who are too embarrassed by society. :)

  17. I’m so happy to read this update… and the positive things that came out of it. And, oh, the irony!
    FWIW, I’m a little disturbed that the phone number on the nudie card is not blurred out.

  18. I’ve seen this brought up as ‘Bad Flamingos!’ whereever I’ve seen it, and this blog confirms the suspicions I’ve had about it, as a mother who lived and breastfed in Las Vegas, on the strip, and in the casinos for years.

    The casino was not out to get someone. This resulted because (for whatever reason) some idiot decided to complain. Since the casinos most likely don’t get those complaints frequently (for a myriad of reasons), one employee responded as they thought best, for the best comfort for all patrons. Not saying that was right.

    Additionally, I find the comparrison in the handouts lacking. The casino does not, and would not pass those out. There’s a reason that they are passed out on the street. So to say that ‘They wont allow this, but they allow THIS’ is not entirely truthful.

    I’m happy, though not surprised, that Flamingos responded as they did. I hope that one day that we will be able to take these events as they are (as a community, not personal) and not start hysterically bashing whoever we feel may be responsible (without the facts).

    • If you read carefully, she does say that the “nudie card” was one she got on the street, not in the hotel. The image from inside the hotel is the showgirl that says “Jubilee” on it. She also was neither “hysterical” nor “bashing [those] responsible”. The fact that her and her friend’s tweets about the occurrence went viral speaks more to the growing support for breastfeeding than it does to any hysteria. I think it likely that anyone sharing a similar experience on social media would receive a similar public response – although the response of the hotel is, unfortunately, a rare glimmer of light in a sea of darkness. Kudos to the Flamingo!

  19. Michelle Brockwind says:

    I think I would have laughed too.
    I’m very happy that this company has taken a slip up of one of it’s managers and turned it into an opportunity for training and think they are pretty smart for capitalizing on the publicity to “set themselves apart” as a family friendly destination.
    I wonder if a commoner such as myself, without a strong twitter following, would have gotten the same result.
    I would like to suggest that a subtle “breastfeeding welcome here” sign be posted in their establishments and on the menu.

  20. Locally we have a group of breastfeeding-aware mothers and professionals who ran a campaign a few years back on this very topic – targeting restaurants in particular. The general method of dealing with complaints was to inform the complainer of the law, then offer to seat them somewhere else if they chose to move, and not to inform the breastfeeding mother at all.
    The most recent campaign started when a few local moms were asked to cover up at pools, and has resulted in “Breastfeeding Friendly, Anytime, Anywhere” stickers on the doors to all city facilities (arenas, pools, city hall, etc…). We suggested on the doors since one of the city councillors wanted to know “how the moms will know where to go?”, to avoid anyone thinking that they had to breastfeed only near the sign. :)

  21. Thank you Jessica! Not only were your presentations perfect for Vegas, but you are echoing topics we addressed in the pre-conference are very much at the forefront of our current discussions with the property. We’re at the “hearts and minds stage” of so many tenets of natural parenting, and breaking ground together in awareness and progress. Sisterhood!

  22. This story is too ironic. Not only did they ask you to cover up in Vegas, but they just so happen to ask the director of the Leaky boob!

    I think people reacted simply because a breast feeding mother is not something you normally see in a Las Vegas hotel, since Las Vegas for the most part is not very baby-friendly. You only see sexualized breasts, not functional ones. This may have been very scary for some people.

    I think it is really important that a breast-feeding buzz went on in Vegas, not only for normalization and awareness, but also to serve as a reminder that women are not objects. We are many other things, and sometimes even mothers.

  23. Great read! Thank you for sharing. Boobs are for babies.

  24. Perhaps a sign on the door saying they’re a breastfeeding-friendly location, along with proper employee training, might help avoid future situations.

  25. For a start, not viewing them as breastfeeding “situations” will greatly improve the way they deal with breastfeeding mums and babies.

    Secondly, just leave us alone! Jeez. Let the babies eat in peace!

    Thirdly, if they want to go out of their way to help a breastfeeding mum, bring over a jug of water and a glass to keep her hydrated and offer some clean pillows to prop up her arm.

  26. So glad they’re working to make it right. I understand not knowing about a law they rarely deal with, and I’m glad it was you they spoke to instead of a mom who didn’t know her rights. Yay for making the US more breastfeeding friendly!

  27. Just remind them that it is all o.k. as long as you wear stars on your nipples…and every baby is a star. Problem fixed. Everyone is happy.

  28. I’m in the UK here, and if that happened to me I’d like to offer a blanket to each of the complainers and ask them to cover their heads while they eat too. If they think it’s acceptable for a nursing baby then it should be acceptable for them. I had my Daughter almost 8 years ago and I only covered as I was quite self concious, but there were one or two occasions in the summer when I had a top on with only spaghetti straps, and it was either pop it out the top or bare my flabby under boob area. I chose the top, and walked along the pavement in broad daylight in a huge crowd of concert goers, no one said anything but I did get a few funny looks. Most of the time though people couldn’t tell. I’m 8 weeks away from having my Son and I’ll be breastfeeding again, this time more confidently!

    • I love the blanket suggestion. :) If you are breastfeeding and a store manager tells you to cover up you could say “I also have a complaint to make. Other customers are looking at my breasts and it’s making me uncomfortable. Could you please tell them not to stare so my baby can eat in peace.” Do you think they would go back to the other customers with that complaint? LOL

  29. thats a great story – I saw the live tweets and facebook messages – glad to hear there was a resolution by the hotel — and best part a new standard in how they will approach this next time around.

  30. Loved reading your story! I am also BF an eight month old and I know, all to well, the challenges with trying to cover up in public. My little guy hates the cover. I think you have inspired me to use it less often, or stop using it all together. Your story really resonated with me because I am attending a conference this weekend in San Francisco and will be bringing my children, along with a friend to assist in caring for them. I am in real estate investing and online education so this is the basis of the conference. I will be the minority, as a woman, because real estate investing is typically a male-dominated industry. There will be over 2,000 people in attendance, mostly men (primarily single with no children) so I have some anxiety about nursing my son during the conference.

    Another big anxiety I am having is finding a private place to pump as I won’t be able to nurse my little guy as frequently as needed. The thought of pumping in a bathroom, with the hope of finding an outlet to plug into is really stressful and unappealing. I think it would be wonderful if large hotels would provide a private area for mothers to nurse/pump while attending conferences. We are not staying at the hotel because it is not easy to do with children. We are staying off the property at a condo to make life easier. If we were staying at the hotel I would just go to my room, but that is not an option.

    Thank you for being an advocate for breastfeeding. Your website and Facebook page are pretty much the only support I receive for continued nursing. :o)

  31. I agree with the above commenter that the phone number on the above photo should be blurred. It is important to be mindful that the women advertised on these cards are possible – likely? – victims of sex trafficking. It would be reasonable to blur her face as well.

    Bravo for your handling of the situation, and bravo to The Flamingo for making it right.

  32. Great story with a happy ending!

    I nursed my last kid 27 years ago, but there were times if someone had offered me a little pillow or cushion for the space between the table and the baby, that would’ve been lovely. If the Flamingo is asking how to be more welcoming…let them offer a pillow a la airlines. Ask if the mom needs anything to make _her_ more comfortable. That would certainly change the conversation!

  33. I’m so glad to hear this positive outcome. I think (eventually) they handled it really well, but I wonder (like many) how they would have handled it if someone without such a large network had complained.

    Luckily you’ve paved the way for future moms at Flamingo to feed their baby. I didn’t know about the laws in the USA/State of Nevada, but I will be looking into them for Ontario. Thanks for the info and the follow up.

  34. It’s not really ironic that you were asked to cover in Las Vegas. All of America has to make sure that women’s bodies are commodified for the paying enjoyment of most of the male population. You were questioned because you were perceived to interfere with that, even if no one thought of it that way.

    It’s nice for one hotel to ask what to do. It all depends on follow-through, and not just with you, of course.

    Meanwhile, bravo to you and your group!

  35. Its great the hotel came back with a good response. I cant believe in Las Vegas people complained! I mean I would be offended to have postcards like the ones handing out to people & on the ground, i think thats gross. However, a breastfeeding mom in a rest. wouldnt bother me at all! BF is not sexual. Its really sad that some people dont realize that. its mind boggling!

    I saw other posters mentioning a bfing room. i dont like the idea unless there is a big sign outside of it saying, moms can use the room if wanted but please feel free to nurse anywhere. i prefer not using those rooms n most cases. I wouldnt ever go to LV just because of the smut & gambling associated with it but am glad to hear the hotel there did well.

    I have nursed 4 kids & only once did i hear from beside me say something negative everything else was always positive. A man at a table commenting to his wife that i just “pulled out my tit”. i was covered up even. the baby was wrapped up in a baby wrap. it was ironic also since we were in a pizza parlor at VA beach. People were in swimsuits, women in bikinis showing more then me right in the same rest. it was unbelieveable! i loudly told my husband so the other man could hear that maybe the man next to us should put a cover over his head too! I didnt hear them say anything else.

  36. I’ve never openly Breastfed my children by showing my bare skin. It was more of a personal decision for discretion. Glad it all worked out.

  37. Rebekah Boyle says:

    It seems to me that you are provoking for reaction so you can write a blog post. It does not help anything, just creates ill will.

    • It seems to me like she was feeding her child….

    • You’re saying she was feeding her baby to get blog fodder? Wow.

      I call troll.

    • WOw… really? I think her blog post was very well-written and showed no provocation. She simply shared her experience. She was even gracious enough to PRAISE the establishment for their reaction to the situation. She’s creating no “ill will”. If she’s “provoking” anything, it’s the sharing of ideas to prevent similar situations for other mothers who may not be so fortunate to be as sure of their rights or as willing to stand firm in those rights.

  38. My son was exclusively breastfed. He made this decision and it meant when he was under 1, he came everywhere with me. As he got older he hated having a cover over his head and I actually would reveal (accidentally) my boob far more because of his squirming and me trying to reposition him and the cover. When I didn’t use a cover, I found I could be far more discreet. We traveled all over with him in his first year and I never had anyone ask me to cover up. I had a couple nasty looks, but nobody ever said anything. I feel like if others think it’s uncomfortable, they should be the ones to leave.

  39. I like the idea of a sticker on the door indicating the establishment is bf friendly. I wouldn’t instruct employees to say anything to women who are nursing, even if it’s encouraging. I get embarrassed when people bring attention to something that should be completely normal, whether or not it is meant to be positive.

  40. I’m glad the hotel responded the way they did! Kudos to them.

    I have to say though, as a mom of 6 myself who has and will breastfeed “anytime, anywhere,” I do understand why people complain about breastfeeding but not about clothing that exposes more breast. You see, the complaint is not about how much breast is exposed, but rather about the fact that someone other than the owner of the breast is “interacting” with it.

    These people would likely be just as appalled about a picture that showed a man with his mouth on a woman’s breast, because that *activity* is private. And they extend the idea that sexual use of the breast is private to also believing that nursing is private. Which I don’t believe it should be because nursing is EATING. Just because we use our mouths sexually does not mean that we need to eat in private, and just because we can talk in a sexual manner that should remain private does not mean that every time we talk, it needs to be private. Likewise, I believe that just because we can use our breasts sexually does not mean that *all* uses of the breast need to be private.

  41. The thought of taking my older children to Vegas make me cringe! What would I say to the management to better assist their staff in dealing with these situations? Basically, Just Shut Up! You’re in Vegas of all places! A place that clearly does not walk any moral line what so ever! A place where women are basically naked in every ad you see. So yea, the management could tell their staff plain and simple, if you see a mom breastfeeding, shut up and mind your own business! Bravo Leaky Boob for handling this situation with class and dignity! You look beautiful nursing your babe!

  42. Although I have only had the honor of being a mama for that past 12 weeks, I am beginning to believe with breast feeding in public, the offensiveness has little to with the sight of it versus the idea of what you are doing. People are offended by breast feeding. I’ve even seen this in the older generations that breast fed themselves. I’ve had dear friends become uncomfortable from me just talking about/gently bragging about how my lil one is getting the “good stuff.” Our culture is quite wonky these days. When feeding my daughter at the in laws, I have to either cover up or leave the room. I still giggle over the time when I was out with my MIL and my lil one was fussing endlessly so I quietly moved to the back of the clothing dept I was in and latched my daughter behind the discretion if the ring sling I had her in. Unfortunately every living being became very aware of what I was doing because my MIL started flipping her arms like a chicken in embarrassment. Furthermore, people are also educated and therefore offended with gentle parenting techniques. I have been fussed at for holding my lil one too much and even my mom has expressed concern with my co-sleeping arrangements. And if one more person asks me if she is sleeping through the night, oh I swear I’ll . . . !

    • When I was pregnant with my first over 30 years ago, I had the blessing of reading an affirmation by T.Berry Brazelton. “YOU are the mother. YOUR instincts come first. Not your mother, not your MIL or the village auntie – YOU.” It saved my sanity after my daughter was born and my mother hovered over me and worried about every little detail. In other words, if you and your little one are happy with sleeping arrangements – go for it, it’s YOUR business, YOUR family. And btw, holding your little one is good for everyone concerned. It creates a secure environment and makes for a happier baby.

  43. Natalie Ringger says:

    It doesn’t bother me but I can see how some people might be offended by breast feeding. I don’t think seeing a boob is what bothers people, it’s the fact that bodily fluids being exchanged between any two people for any reason is kind of a private, intimate exchange, and it’s probably the thought of that more than anything else that offends them. Yes there are images of half naked people all over, but none of those people are shown having actual sex or exchanging bodily fluids. I say this only because the author and a lot of respondents expressed the fact that they don’t understand why anyone would be offended by someone feeding a baby. You should try and put yourself in the position of the other person if you want to understand, and when you examine what an intimate exchange breast feeding is its easy to see why someone would be offended. I don’t think a woman should be stopped from breast feeding in public but I also understand the desire to request her to cover up. If I was sitting down to eat lunch and all of a sudden a REAL boob was exposed and then bodily fluids began to be exchanged, I might lose my appetite. I wouldn’t inconvenience someone else by complaining, I would just move tables. No I’m not a mother yet but I plan to be one day and I will breast feed my child anywhere I need to. But I will also understand if people get offended. I won’t care, but ill understand. The author doesn’t seem to care or understand why the offense, and I don’t see how one cannot comprehend that something like that might make squeamish people uncomfortable.

    • LMAO at the bodily fluids being exchanged argument. HEARTY LOLS. I’ll be sure to be thoroughly disgusted next time I see a man drinking a glass of cows milk in public. Hey! That’s a bodily fluid, too!

    • Milk. It’s milk. Every time you eat ice cream, do you think how yummy the frozen, churned cow bodily fluid is? Today, I made my little boys grilled sandwiches. The cheese was curdled block bodily fluid, I suppose.

      No, I don’t see how anyone can be offended by milk.

      • “Curdled block bodily fluid…” I will never look at cheese the same way again. I love curdled block bodily fluid, specially if it’s a little moldy.

        Thanks for the laugh! ~Jessica

  44. Mamas, empower yourselves and know the laws in the states you are in. Print them out, take them with you.
    http://www.breatfeedinglaw.com
    http://www.LLLi.org

  45. no shirt no shoes no service. and yes it is disturbing to see someone with there tit hanging out in public, thats what they make breast pumps and bottles for

    • Says someone who clearly has no understanding of how breastfeeding works.

      I love this whole “that’s what pumps are for” argument. Guess what? If I feed a bottle of my expressed milk to my baby, I will need to pump at the same time or risk losing my milk supply! Guess I should bring the pump with me and set it on the table where it will be much louder and more attention-grabbing than a nursing baby would be as I hook myself up to the horns and everyone can watch my nipples being sucked in and out of the transparent plastic. lmao!

      Also, “tit hanging out” is a straw man. I breastfed both of my kids wherever and whenever they wanted and I never once had my “tit” hanging out. You see more breast on the beach than you see when a baby is nursing. I also never took off my shoes or my shirt to do it. You don’t want to see the top or side of my breast? Look away. Pretty simple. I don’t stare at your chest while you’re feeding your kids. Don’t stare at my chest while I’m feeding mine.

      Next!

    • I’ve always wondered about that saying. If I show up at your store in a shirt and shoes and *nothing else*, do you still have to serve me?

  46. Good work on educating staff who simply didn’t know better, and good response from them.

    I am not yet a mum, but I have every intention when I am one to breastfeed my children, if I am fortunate enough to be able to. I won’t cover a thing. I won’t be herded into a special room to keep me out of the way of others. It is only by having breastfeeding become a common thing in public that people will accept that, actually, it’s perfectly okay! It will become like seeing a black person sitting at the front of a bus; like seeing a disabled person play a sport; like seeing a gay couple hold hands in public: it will become commonplace, something that should have always been the case.

  47. Just thought I’d offer the flipside here, I am a woman, who breastfed her babies. I think you should have covered up. I would have been highly offended at seeing you do this, heck, I’m offended reading this and seeing your pictures. I realize that the law is the law, it’s a disgusting law and I’d rather see a showgirl or prostitute naked (not in a cafe or family restaurant mind where I think any nudity including while feeding your baby is disgusting and certainly not something I’d want my children seeing or thinking is ok). Just because it’s the law that you are allowed to nurse in public, doesn’t make it ok. It’s morally objectionable. No one, even the people who are too polite to say anything, wants to see that…NO ONE.

    • I want to see it! I want to see EVERY baby being fed at their mothers’ breast. Everywhere. In restaurants, in stores, in the park, all the time!

    • Are you aware that every culture has different taboos about modesty and nudity? Back in the day it was considered obscene to show ankle. I’m guessing you show ankle occasionally, right? Even though some might consider it morally questionable, many women are fine with showing a little ankle. And that’s for no greater purpose than the woman’s own comfort! Feeding a baby the way our bodies were designed to be used, whether by god or evolution, cannot possibly be morally wrong, and therefore cannot be even questionable – unless you think babies themselves are obscene? Because babies need to eat, so anywhere there’s a baby there’s going to be feeding of some kind, and breastmilk is the most healthful food a baby can eat.

    • Valentina says:

      Troll much?

    • Charlotte Holland says:

      Breast feeding in public is “morally objectionable” ??? . . . and that you’d “rather see a showgirl or prostitute naked” ? . . . I cannot comprehend your bizarre statements, Rowan79. I wonder how many babies who are fed from a bottle have to have their little heads covered by a blanket . . . NOT A ONE !!!!

      27 years ago when I had my last baby, I did not breast feed in public . . . but took myself and my baby girl to a BATHROOM STALL . . . you know . . . where no telling HOW many people had been in there peeing and pooping and not washing their hands . . . YUCK ! I am mortified NOW that I had to do that . . . that “society” was not ready to see my nursing child . . . and exposed breast . . . GASP !!!

      NO mother has EVER had to take her bottle-feeding baby into a filthy bathroom stall in order to avoid offending others . . . If I had it all to do over again, I’d breastfeed in public without a cover . . . and dare anyone to look askance at me . . .

    • I must be one of the nobodies who wants to see nursing moms and babies in everyday places, along with all of the hundreds of thousands of lovely ladies who read my blog about breastfeeding. And the millions of people who read the Leaky Boob. Let’s not forget about the people who are part of the international breastfeeding support group, Le Leche League, Breastfeeding USA, the United States Breastfeeding Committee, President Obama and his wife (http://doublethink.us.com/paala/2012/11/09/the-obamas-support-breastfeeding/), and all the churches and museums and art galleries who feature beautiful portraits and statues of nursing mothers, and the Surgeon General (http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/calls/breastfeeding/index.html). Yep. A bunch of nobodies want to see and support breastfeeding.

    • BayAreaMom says:

      How close minded you must be to think there is something wrong with breastfeedin a child in public when theyre HUNGRY?! What do you say no one can breastfeed outside their home because you dislike one of America’s great laws?! Grow Up!! Learn how to be proud of your body that GOD created & one day you willbe strong enough to breastfeed in public..If you dont like AMerica’s laws you can.always leave..

  48. Bravo Mama! I am very proud to consider myself a seasoned breastfeeding mother like you. It warms my heart to hear you keep your cool. So many times I hear of women being approached in a negative way about their NIP endeavors and them lashing out against it, which doesn’t do any good for either side.

    I would have to suggest to businesses that if they have complaints about women NIP, that they need to inform the people that are complaining that it is a natural and legal thing for women to do and that there is basically nothing that they can do to prevent it. It would be nice, as a nursing mother, to know that when I go out with my children, I can be supported by the businesses that I patron. That they would step in on my behalf to educate those who would complain about it. It would take that slight twinge of nervousness that even I get just before NIP out of the picture for good. And hopefully, it would allow us all to culturally accept nursing as standard, just like bottle feeding is.

  49. here’s another thought…if milk for babies came from penises…would you think it’s ok for that to be whipped out in public too? Doesn’t matter that that’s what they’re there for, i bet you’d have a hard time not being uncomfortable if a big wang was being suckled right in front of you while you were trying to have your morning cup of coffee.

    • Yes, if milk for my baby came from a penis.

    • Valentina says:

      “if milk for babies came from penises”

      You can’t be serious.

    • Breasts /= penis, just like breastfeeding /= urinating.

      If it’s really so uncomfortable for you to be in the presence of a child nursing then maybe you should stay home. I’m not saying this to be snarky or mean. I actually think you’ll be more comfortable if it bothers you so much.

      I really don’t see how it’s okay to have pictures of models that show way more than a breastfeeding mother ever does, but it’s not okay for someone to nurse a child without hiding in the bathroom (do YOU eat your lunch in the bathroom?) or putting a hot blanket over the child’s head (do YOU eat with a blanket over your head?) You may not want to see it, and that’s your right. You’re welcome to look away. But it’s the child’s right to be fed when the child is hungry, without having to have something over their face. The child’s rights take precedence over your comfort.

    • Penis’s? Hahahaha really? That’s the most immature comparison I’ve ever heard! Men also have “boobs” like women and are not forced to cover up come summer time. I understand everyone’s view on public nudity is different. But the real issue is having people recognize between the both! Breastfeeding vs. Public nudity should be recognized as two different things.

    • What happened to you that made you feel this way about breasts and breast-feeding. I really pity you.

    • What happened to you that made you feel this way about breasts and breast-feeding? I really pity you.

      • This is a very strange argument in my opinion… If mammals had fed their young through their penises for all millenia then of course it would be no different! It would be the natural thing to do and we would know nothing else! Your comment is trying to compare breastfeeding your child to a sexual act… and this is the comparison that I hope some members of society can let go of.

    • rowan79: Wow, I believe that was the most stupid thing I’ve ever read on the Internet. Bravo to you for your ignorance!

    • Thanks for the laugh! I had no idea people could be this crazy…or obsessed with penises apparently.

  50. I live here in Vegas and I have never been asked to cover, on that same note, I dont visitthe “tourist”part of vegas often. I am so glad that they worked with you and sorted it all out, I dont know how I would respond to that but reading this was awesome. Thank you for that.
    Only one thing I would like to add.. The people who were uncomfortable were probably tourists and could possibly come from other countries where it is more taboo than here in the US, though decreasingly so thankfully. It makes me sad that people think Vegas isnt family friendly when in fact there is an entire city thatgets its reputation based off of the strip and the unsavory things done there. Outside of the strip, it is an amazing place for families to have fun for cheap and it’s away from the adult content.
    I really applaud you for standing up for yourself and will use your story for inner strength should i ever be asked to cover here. Hopefully that wont happen though. I look forward to watching Vegas become more family friendly on the strip as well thanks in kind to you and your friend.

  51. This is such a great story and I thank you for sharing it! I was always a big advocate for breastfeeding before my children were born, and now even more so. I believe that feeding your child should be comfortable for both mother and child and it ends there. I certainly don’t believe in being required to cover up for the rest of the world when (as you said) you show much less than most ads posted in public.
    I had one particular encounter that I never felt was resolved and was quite the opposite of your experience.
    I was eating out with my husband and my oldest child (when she was six months old), and all of us were enjoying our meal, when a fellow patron approached us and told me I should have some self respect and feed my daughter in the bathroom. I laughed, thinking he couldn’t possibly be serious, only to find him becoming more upset with me. I told him, through my chuckles, that I would be more than happy to join him for dinner in the WC, because if offensive diners should eat in there, surely he’d be in the stall next to us. The man walked away and we went back to our meal. A little while later the manager came over and asked me to kindly cover up, as I was making other customers uncomfortable with my nudity (mind you, I was wearing a t-shirt over a nursing tank, so you could seriously see not an inch of skin, meanwhile the teenager at the next table was wearing a bikini top and barely there shorts). I replied that, under law, I could feed my daughter where ever families were welcome. At that point, our meal was finished, my girl was just about finished and my husband was about to blow a gasket, so we started packing up to leave. I asked for the phone number of the owner of the eatery and we left without paying.
    After calling the owner (a mother of four, who breastfed all of her babies), I was issued a sincere apology, but also informed that there was a couch in the bathroom for the very purpose of feeding babies. The owner also said that when she was breastfeeding, she always covered up and that maybe I should consider it. I was APPALLED! She offered me a free dinner with a bottle of wine and dessert. I told her we would not be returning to her establishment again, nor would our friends. That eatery has since gone out of business (probably because of the poor customer service and lack of compassion), but I still have a thorn in my side about it.
    Breastfeeding is the most natural, healthy, appropriate and beautiful thing you can do with your child and for people to try to tell you how to parent (because that’s what it is), is a terrible thing. Breastfeeding is difficult enough in the beginning without people trying to shame you.

    • Wow – that is astoundingly rude treatment of a nursing mother! No wonder you are still pissed off about it.

  52. Marguerite Maldonado says:

    As I was reading this article, my 20 month old daughter kept pointing at the showgirl photos saying “boob, boob!”. She never once said anything about the picture of you breastfeeding your Sugarbaby. Mind you, my DD is still breastfed!
    It is awesome that the Flamingo is taking such steps to correct a wrong.

  53. After reading your blog post and some of the comments, the sceptic in me can’t help but agree with Krista regarding how quickly something like this can go viral and their response as a result of them reading your tweets. However on the plus side it is great that they want your input into staff training etc. I think the staff need to say to the complainer, if they are that uncomfortable perhaps they should look away (or leave! ;) ) or move but they also need to be really clear that breastfeeding a baby in the restaurant is not only allowed and perfectly legal but welcomed.
    Keira O’Mara
    Mama Designs

  54. Deb Schermer says:

    I love the way your daughter’s outfit matches your earrings. Way to accessorize!! Great article – thanks for being our voice!

  55. I am really glad to hear that the hotel paid attention and is working towards an appropriate solution! It baffles my mind how ignorant people can be. How hard did they have to be staring at you to even notice Sugarbaby was nursing? If that had happened to me I am not sure I could have been so articulate as you were. We had a similar experience this summer but with our 19m old crying. We were camping and she woke startled by odd noises and was quite upset. She cried for about 20 minutes before I was able to calm her. An hour later the park ranger came to our site and said there had been complaints about our child crying and disturbing other campers. I was in shock and didn’t know what to say. We ended up leaving that campsite because we were so uncomfortable.

  56. Christina Williams says:

    And this is how things should be handled! Everyone calmly stating facts, etc. Sure, it was ridiculous to be asked to cover while nursing when there is showgirls, etc just yards away. The way to have change happen is not by force or volume, but by education.

    Well done Leaky boob and Flamingo Hotel!

  57. Alisha Yamamori says:

    I’m glad to hear that things worked out for the better! I live in Japan and when I visited the States in July I was shocked at how little support there is for nursing mothers. In Japan, department stores almost always have a corner of the kids floor dedicated to changing tables, nursing rooms, and sometimes even have high chairs for feeding! There is much more of an effort to have adequate facilities for mothers to use. On top of that, I have breastfed in strange places and seen others breast feeding as well… and no one ever says anything. On occasion you get some stares, but no one has ever made a move to stop a breast feeding mom from going about her business. Let’s hope that things are starting to change for the better!

  58. First of all, LOVE the title of this article! Secondly, I applaud you and the Flamingo Hotel for your handling of this situation. I have not yet been put in a situation where I have to breastfeed in public, as my little man is only 2 months old and I’m lucky enough to be able to stay home with him every day. I also pump from time to time so my family can share in the feeding process. I would never cave in to anyone who had an issue with me feeding my son, although I laugh at myself because if anyone has an issue its me, simply because I have weird quirks :) Regardless I am thankful for this site and all the support you provide, as well as showing the humor that sometimes coinsides with breastfeeding!

  59. You know something…your posting this couldn’t have come at a better time than this…I was just going back and forth with someone about breastfeeding in public…and she is obviously totally in favor that in modesty woman should cover up in her words ” People eating dinner do not want to see someones breasts” and another one posted “sorry im all for ppl that want to breast feed and all and for the ones who do it with class and keep them self covered but im not good w/ppl who just whip out the boob andlet it hang there for my kids to see! and i think “the boob beanie” is an insult to people who take it seriously just sayin………and those remarks came on my friends posts of “The Boob Beanie” that she shared on her wall…There is more nudity shown on tv and in magazines and even on the beach and in everyday life that what is shown by a nursing mom….those who nurse do not do it for attention…..its too bad people don’t get it…

  60. I wish my breasts were small enough to not show much when breast feeding. I get looks even when I cover up where I am.

  61. I am really surprised something like this happened. Maybe, I shouldn’t be, but I would think that management staff at a strip casino would have training that would include something like this. I worked at the Flamingo 15 years ago before I left town to go to law school. I remember a full day orientation/training just to work in casino marketing. I can’t believe the cafe manager wasn’t properly trained! That seems so crazy to me.
    I didn’t really get comfortable breastfeeding in public until my second. By then, I would enjoy staring down disapproving passerbys. I had a speech prepared. No one had the cojones to say a word. Good on you for bringing it to their attention so another mother does not have to be made to feel uncomfortable.

  62. So this issue has made me determined to be more confidant about feeding my baby in public. She hates covers so that is rarely an option and we didn’t introduce a bottle. I tend to only cover now when I am walking around in a store feeding her…this is primarily because she gets so distracted and I’m not super comfortable with nipple-lash! I am fortunate to have primarily received positive comments. The one negative comment I remember I was actually COMPLETELY COVERED by my shirt and a sling…oh yeah AND I WASN’T FEEDING THE BABY!

    I think babies deserve to eat when they are hungry. Period.

  63. Jessica Dumas says:

    I am very happy with the outcome of this in Vegas and even more so impressed with the professionalism shown by the staff. But more than that I am impressed with your reaction and response to the initial “confrontation.” I myself have been asked to cover a few times or given static about how or where I was nursing one of my babies. And I will be the first to admit that I reacted and responded poorly because while I knew that I had every legal right to be where I was, doing what I was doing, how I was doing it, I INSTIGATED the confrontation that could have been avoided, as shown in your own experience. I realized shortly after these confrontations that while I wasn’t the first to be wrong, I was still wrong. So, while I hope that this story helps to teach others that it IS okay for our babies to nurse whenever, where ever and however, I also hope it teaches people like the “old me” how to respond when people do not realize that what we are doing is perfectly acceptable.

  64. Mom with morals says:

    I am a breast feeding mother and I am appalled that any woman could knowingly and willfully expose her breast in public and force myself and my children to see it. It would be appropriate to either cover or go to the restroom to feed your child, as I do. You are just as bad as the women on those posters and are using breast feeding as an excuse to flash yourself. Yes, it’s feeding a baby, but it’s also exposing yourself. If a person exposed themselves in any other public situation, they would be arrested. I don’t let my kids watch nudity on tv, and I certainly don’t think they should be exposed to it in public. Smoking in public was banned and breastfeeding uncovered in public should be also. If you don’t want to be like those women on the posters or flyers, then stop acting like it!

    • Daughter of the Mother says:

      ‘Mom with morals’, What a hoot! Do you think Mary covered up while nursing her sweet Son, Jesus? No. Do you consider women in Africa who BF and don’t cover to be immoral? The whole ‘OMG a BOOB!’ mentality has gone too far! Men have breasts and that can go anywhere outside without a shirt. Do you hide your Kids from that too? There is having morals and then there is being just a plain old PRUDE.

    • Gross! Would you consider eating your big mac in a public restroom? As far as Im concerned no child of mine is going to be discriminated against in such a way.

      I think its sick that we have to make laws to protect our mothers and children from the opinions of others in such a way. Your children wont care if they are brought up with a non discriminatory view of life. They only reflect what you teach them.

      I guess women will never have the same rights as men in this society after all! Wanna put the topless bars out of business? Make it normal!

  65. I think it’s unbelievable the scrutiny I have heard women have had to face, especially in the states, when it comes to breastfeeding. I live in Canada, and my city is riddled with pro-breastfeeding posters, billboards and signs. “Anywhere, Anytime”, I have yet to encounter a single negative comment, but my baby is only 6 months. I’m glad this establishment has stepped up and admitted they were wrong and have actually taken the time to make it right. I hope that in the future, breastfeeding becomes far more normalized in the US, and any other areas where it might be viewed with scrutiny.

  66. I’d love to post the pic at the top of this post on my blog if you’d let me!
    That is so sad what you encountered, I’m sorry!

  67. It makes me so sad that breastfeeding a baby is considered gross and unacceptable or something to be done in a bathroom.

    I really laughed at the irony of your situation. Sexual nudity all around them and people were disturbed by a baby eating!! Craziness!!

  68. A thought occurred to me while reading this. There are people who are concerned about the exposure of breasts due to the sexual aspect, obviously. I think there are some people, though, who are more weirded out by the concept of “bodily fluids”. Let’s face it, most bodily fluids are considered gross. I am not saying that breastmilk SHOULD be considered gross, but it is a different aspect of education that I have not seen addressed. One of my former neighbors didn’t BF at all because she thought it was gross. So some people would not be concerned with pictures of showgirls, but the idea of bodily fluids coming out of someone’s body (even if they can’t see them). Just a different aspect of the problem to consider.

  69. I love how in the breastfeeding pictures the baby is giving this finger. As if saying “yeah this is my lunch, got a problem with that”. I really like how the hotel took responsibility.

  70. This was a good read indeed. I am so sick and tired of the controversies that seem to surround breast feeding these days. And it goes both ways. Getting catty about it does absolutely nothing to support the issue. You handled this situation well – standing up for your rights but not turning the situation into WW3 IS the way to go.

    Breast feeding is natural and healthy, for mom and baby. That can’t be disputed. But the fact is the move to make it a common site in very public places is relatively new to our culture and we need to educate people about that and not belittle them. As has been clearly portrayed here, not everyone knows the law and that is obviously something that needs to be worked on.

    As for the hotel. They seemed to have dealt with this situation very well and I think we need to stop speculating what they might have done or not done had it not been broadcast through social media. They stepped up to the plate and handled the problem (their problem) professionally and graciously. If, in the end, it actually benefits their business then kudos to them.

  71. I know at first glance it seems ridiculous that a place like VEGAS would be weird about nursing a hungry baby. But after thinking about it some more I think that it’s places like Vegas that are why so many people have a problem with breastfeeding.

    I had an australian nurse during my hospital stay after having my first baby who was very helpful in teaching me the ropes of breastfeeding and at one point remarked that “prudish Americans are needlessly scandalized by breastfeeding.” I nodded in agreement and have harbored this belief until thinking about this Vegas situation. Why would people seeking a sexy environment be weirded out by boobs?

    I think my Australian nurse was wrong, I think they have a problem with breastfeeding because to most Americans (women included), boobs=sex. So people walk around Vegas getting turned on by women and their boobs then see a woman’s breast being used the way God and nature intended and it’s confusing. They’re turned on because they’re conditioned to be, but it’s weird because there’s a baby involved. So instead of dealing with those confusing feelings and rooting out the truth they just label it “weird”, “gross”, or “obscene” Am I reaching here?

    Either way, I’m glad the situation turned out well for all involved and that a precedent has been set for the future.

  72. *Your

  73. If each state and municipality that has a breastfeeding law on the books also had an enforcement provision in that law- employee training would including breastfeeding accommodation. If there was a financial penalty for these businesses, changes in employee training would be made across the board. Ask your lawmakers why there are no enforcement provisions in your state breastfeeding laws.

  74. Lovely to see a company right an error properly for once :) I agree that the most diplomatic way to handle the complaining customers is to explain the law, and offer to move them to another table if there’s one available. As for making mums feel at ease – offering a glass of water or a cushion helps to make you feel welcomed without labouring the point.

    I never really liked feeding rooms but I know a lot of mums do appreciate them. Maybe if they provided the facility and then included something in the welcome pack that said something like “you are welcome to feed your child anywhere in this hotel but if you feel more comfortable feeding in private, please ask and a member of staff will direct you to somewhere quieter.” That way all the guests see the message, but there’s no implied pressure.

    • “you are welcome to feed your child anywhere in this hotel but if you feel more comfortable feeding in private, please ask and a member of staff will direct you to somewhere quieter.” Great idea! Supportive of all the options without forcing the issue. Perfect!

  75. This is such a heartening story to read! With all of the negative NIP stories of late, & the set-back we’ve just had in Austin, I loved reading about a place that wasn’t doubling down on a bad call.

  76. Cheerios are Nestle. Which is the only criticism I have of this excellent post. :D

  77. I know people are concerned about making a point here, but as a society we used to be more modest and try not to make people around us uncomfortable.

    • There are historic photos and paintings that show women breastfeeding through the ages. Breastfeeding, historically, has never been considered an issue of modesty. Women just fed their babies. ~Jessica

  78. Dacs Pinlac says:

    Thanks for this great post! I love how Sugarbaby seems to be flipping the finger in the picture, as if to say, “Don’t bother me, I’m just eating.” :)

  79. I would suggest that they offer the customers to move to a new table. If there is none available they are more than welcome to wait at the bar for a new table to open. Or they can shut the hell up. (That last was a joke).

  80. thechaosFaerie says:

    I see you rise up to champion quickly, eagerly and with much enjoyment.

    Knowing you have the legal right to do a thing?
    equals=
    YOU WIN

    sooo….
    You get attention, publicity, potential contracts to “train” corprate level clients?

    What is your rate?

    I’m curious, not challenge, just open and frank wondering…

    You say you “never” do (cover)
    or, you were astonished, and surprised to the point of unsurpressed laughter… when the lady asked you to cover:

    Were you aware of being watched by the whole immediate connective group to tables to your tables?
    Was your amusement a hush thing with the manager only, or was it also making obvious and known (if, they claimed to be offended) you found the idea of a choice to take offense in Vegas to be ridiculous, thus in an I’m not addressing-you-but-you-know-I-am-andso-do-I-and-whatever”…

    Do you think you caused the complainers any outlook change or reversal to feel the way they do while having their own holiday meal?

    Wher you up in the middle being loud boob out distracting like “hello world-lo–k-at-my-boob-is-legal” or conscienteously being cognizant that when it comes to food, people have “things” they find unnappetizing or overly distracting… where you back turned or chest out face forward flickering your eyes over their faces?

    You make excellent points. Your issue should have champions I suspect are a bit, like me… completely at ease navigating the tangly bit to the point is is enjoyable, not a boter at all because you feel like a justified, righteous human… bow, to you, in that grace of confidence…

    but… do you callously weild your naked boob with impunity and get angry if anybody DARE challenge your right? Or, actually do you have any times in reference where (not saying apologize) you find you second guess your decision and quiety alter you first decision and go ahead and quietly cover for a reason, and is it because of a vibe being given off regarding you… or because of the behavior you are practicing in…. and I’m not saying I prefer it, again this is just a curiosity? But what are the negative side effects of having a blanket cover a baby’s head, is it just trickier to balace or is the meal less comfortable then? And… do you really think people who are bothered by the nudity of the female body EVER look at those cards, and probably flicker their eyes away… but, exactly where where you hanging out in vegas where nipples where all over the place? Only curious because I may go check that out next time I go nothing like that going on where I stayed…

  81. It’s absolutely mind boggling how someone can get upset over such a beautiful thing such as a mother feeding her baby using nothing but her own body! How amazing is it that women can do that?! That is not something to shun or complain about! I have trouble NOT gawking at breast feeding women with a big goofy smile on my face! It warms my heart to see such a beautiful sight!
    Good on you! I love the way you handled it!
    When I was breast feeding my daughter my own brother did the same thing to me while I was breast feeding in my OWN HOME!!!! Some people are just unbelievable.

  82. Perhaps the company could make ‘We welcome breastfeeding cards” to hand out to mothers when they get a complaint. For instance it could read “Thank you for breastfeeding your baby in our establishment. There has been an ‘indecency complaint’ made by another guest (haha, indecency. In Vegas?). However, we are already taking steps to educate said customer on your legal right to feed your baby anywhere you are legal to be. If you care to see, the website naming is on the back. Again, thank you. We strive to make ALL of our guests as comfortable as possible.”

    Have other cards for the complaining guests that read along the lines of “As a guest here, your opinion is important to us. We want to make you as comfortable as possible. However, when complaining of a breastfeeding woman, we feel we must take steps to educate. Breastfeeding rights are listed under which can be found at such-n-such website. A woman is legally able to feed her child anywhere she is legally able to be. If you are uncomfortable witnessing such a natural act, please feel free to tell us, so we may make you more comfortable by finding you a new table. It will not bother us to move you; in fact, it will be our pleasure. We strive to make ALL of our guests feel comfortable.”

  83. just want to say that in england most women are embarrassed by staff and people staring i also think that im the only man to reply to your article not something us men really think about but i suppose we should as it is ( some of ) our wifes girlfriends that breastfeed my daughter opted to bottle feed because of the negativity around

  84. I read a post somewhere by a man who had visited a nudist colony and was shocked and appalled that overweight and unattractive people were allowed to reside there. Many people have sexualized the human body to the point that seeing it in any natural state such as breast feeding is unthinkable to them. Sad but true.

  85. Ok, so with my friends, I always play devil’s advocate and try to make them look at all sides. I will tell you that this time, I had to do this with my own way of thinking.

    I breastfed my (now 7 yr old) son. I never nursed in public and, even in my own home, I retreated to the bedroom for privacy. I also live in a major tourist area (more family oriented) and was one of the people who did a double-take and most likely made a disturbed face at mothers who walked through public areas with their chest “exposed” while feeding. If I was going to be out for the day, I would plan my trips around my son’s feeding schedule. I thought it responsible and courteous to all parties involved (my son’s included) to do it this way; even if it put me out a little.

    Thanks to your article and some of your well-spoken followers, I see some of my opinions and beliefs lacking in validity. Feed my baby in a bathroom or make him/her wait until I get home to eat?! Why only those two options? And why the dirty looks? I never saw any more nudity than at a beach (as one of the lovely ladies above pointed out).

    We are hoping to have another and as long as my body cooperates, I hope to nurse again. I’m not sure I can get over my own modesty issue (I am well endowed) to nurse in public; you never know. But I do know I will not be making any looks in a nursing mother’s direction and I will stand up for nursing mothers if a comment is made in my presence.

    Thank you.

  86. I have breastfed 5 of 6 of my children. Initially; back in the 1970’s many older women, my mother and my aunts told me I should bottle feed my firstborn because formula was “complete” and “healthier”.

    To get to the point; I have been very uncomfortable when some “weirdos” would stare at me in a “creepy” manner when I breastfed in front of others. People even stared when I covered myself and my baby with a light tent made from a receiving blanket.

    I appreciate you informing others and was unaware of the laws and rights that are now available.

  87. How can businesses help? Simple. They can educate their employees. I’m not asking for a workshop that costs thousands of dollars. I’m simply asking for a notion, such as, your time clock is located in the back room. Mothers are allowed to feed their babies from the breast just as they are the bottle. Inform employees of the law. It’s the LEAST businesses can do.

    I’m sorry this happened to you, I know you are IBCLC and very passionate and educated and it was great it didn’t happen to a brand new mom and hurt her confidence. But it does suck, you just want to eat your lunch and feed your baby and not have anyone complain about it.

  88. I am sorry everyone, but I laugh at those who are making comment about being skeptical of the Flamingo’s positive reaction to get publicity.

    What are your options in this case – ignore it and get bad publicity, handle it badly and get bad publicity, had it well, as they did, and get good publicity.

    The option seems easy enough.. make the customer happy and get good publicity. Everything is surrounded by publicity and a manager, CEO, or anyone else in a decision making position who handled it badly, should be fired as they do not know how to do their job.

  89. I lived in Las Vegas for 8 years, my oldest was born there. I’m actually quite surprised this happened, and not just because of the irony. But I spent a lot of time on the strip as a local and saw many, many women breatfeeding. Never once did I see one of those women asked to cover; and they’re everywhere.

    Good on the Flamingo, too. They are a fabulous hotel which is why they have lasted when historic Las Vegas is being ripped to shreds in the name of “new.” I believe they have amazing ethics and how they handled this is only further proof.

    Keep us updated if you go back to help educate the staff! How amazing would that be!?!?!

  90. Nan Jolly says:

    Perhaps the waitress could ask complainers if they’d like to change seats to change their view? And she could smile ever so slightly….

  91. I don’t see why it is so difficult to carry a nursing cover. They are thin and do not make the mom or baby hot. I understand that in Vegas you see alot of women with very little clothing but it is uncomfortable to see a women’s boobs while you are trying to eat. Yes, people should look away but it’s like a bad car accident, its hard not to stare. I think people have a right to be comfortable so why not just use a cover. Its not taking away anyone’s right to nurse but just asking to respect others.

    • I grew up in Africa and seeing breastfeeding mothers was a common thing. In fact many women would not even think of covering up! When I came to America I was appalled that women have to go and feed their children IN THE TOILET!!!!!!!!!! Why are Americans so obsessed with anything concerning breasts? I don’t understand it and maybe I never will since I was raised different. All in all I applaud you for standing your ground and not cowering like other women in this country! I for one will NEVER allow my wife to feed my baby in the toilet or cover up and anyone with a problem can go to hell!

    • Erin Gibson says:

      My nursing cover is light and thin and your right it doesnt bother me…but my daughter hates being under it and doesnt feed well when I use it. She spends more time fussing and throwing her hands around than eating and then ppl conplain about a baby crying. I wouldnt like to eat my dinner under a sheet either…think about how that would feel. Plus she enjoys looking at me and Interacting w me as she eats….its one of the only times shes awake and able to do so. Sometimes they just don’t work…

  92. Erin Gibson says:

    Suggestion…breastfeading is not a situation to be handled…u see a child being fed- do nothing…seems pretty simple to me! I say that with courage….as im sick of feeling uncomfortable feeding….and my daughter hates those covers and never eats well under them. Im a strong confident woman In everything I do…besides breastfeed and thats gonna change.

  93. Jennifer Leaird says:

    I am getting ready to do sensitivity training discussing the issue of mothers feeding their babies. May I share your story? May I use your this is eating picture in my presentation?