Hey, Anti-Breastfeeding Meanies: Shape Up or We'll Call the Milk Truck!

You know the story by heart, if not firsthand: Nursing mama does her best to cover baby and breast in public, but still draws the stink-eye from Someone In Charge. She may not be asked to leave, but she -- and everyone around her -- knows she’s not wanted there. Awkward!

Enter the Milk Truck. The “mobile breastfeeding unit” is artist and mom Jill Miller’s idea for really raising the profile of nursing mothers’ right to breastfeed in public. If you think a nursing mama catches some attention, wait til a giant, nipple-topped van cruises your ’hood. There’s not a nursing cover in town big enough to hide a boob like that! Here's how it works: 

Through July 27, Miller is raising money for The Milk Truck, which is slated to be part of the 2011 Pittsburgh Biennial art exhibition before touring Pittsburgh and beyond.

I’m lucky enough to have never been asked to nurse my baby in a bathroom, and I know the feeling of solidarity that comes from nursing in numbers: Once in an IKEA, I felt so much better when another mama shared a couch with me as we nursed our infants. So I can appreciate what The Milk Truck aims to offer. After all, mothers should be able to nurse anywhere—but only 45 states have laws that guarantee that right.

“I can't help thinking that for every story where a woman who stands up for herself—like the woman in Detroit last week—there are countless others who are less-experienced at nursing and actually follow orders from these morons who are breaking the law by telling them to stop feeding their babies,” Miller says.

The idea of an on-call lactation room is lovely—and the notion of parking a giant boob in front of an anti-nursing establishment is awesome—but the bottom line is that the US needs to be more accepting of breastfeeding. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization offer perfectly clear guidelines about the health benefits of breastfeeding. Besides, isn’t time we all just relaxed about boobs and babies?!

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