Her Bad Mother

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Under The Blanket

It was the kind of thing that would have outraged me, had it happened any other day, any other week. It was the kind of thing that would have had me out of my seat, demanding explanation. It was the kind of thing that I would have written letters about, that I would have blogged and twittered and shared, about which I would have said, I would have hollered, to anyone who would listen, look, this just shouldn't happen, we need to make sure that this doesn't happen, why the f*ck does this still happen?

But it was the wrong day, the wrong week, and I just wasn't up for it because my heart was too heavy and my head was too full and the last thing I needed was an argument with a flight attendant about whether or not I really should cover myself up with a blanket while nursing.

When she approached me in my seat near the back of the plane, blanket in hand, I ignored her. Jasper was tucked in at my breast, wrapped in his own blanket, his head pressed against the white half-moon of flesh that was barely visible beneath him. His head was damp from the stream of tears that had been running down my cheeks from the moment of our departure, the tears that I'd held back while saying my goodbyes. I bent my head over his, shielding my face, my breast, my baby, my tears from view with the veil of my hair. I didn't even look up when she spoke to me.

Excuse me, perhaps you'd like to cover up with a blanket?

I don't answer.

I brought a blanket for you.

She crouches slightly, bending closer. I gather my voice. I'm afraid that it will crack.

I'm fine, thank you.

She stands up, still holding the blanket in front of me.

Well. Perhaps I'll leave it with you?

I don't answer.

She reaches across me, across Jasper, and drops the blanket on the empty seat beside me. If you need help with it, let me know.

Thank you
, I say, my jaw clenched, my throat closed. I am trying to not cry anymore than I already am.

Some women are more comfortable nursing with a blanket. I can't see her, my head bent as it is, but I imagine that she stiffens defensively.

My tears are getting hot. I swallow my anger.

Thank you.

And then she walked away, and I kept my head bent over my baby for as long as he nursed and as long as he slept and until the tension in the back of my neck became too much to bear.

I didn't say anything. I had always though that if that happened to me, I would say something. That I would I would ask why she was pressing the blanket upon me, that I would ask if it was WestJet policy to 'suggest' to nursing mothers that they cover up, that I would say that if I was comfortable with blankets I would have one with me, that I would say that no nursing mother wants a stranger bent over her while she nurses, asking if she wouldn't rather cover up for privacy, that I would, if I had the nerve, ask are you serious? Are you really serious? Do you not see that I might be offended, be made more uncomfortable, by your hovering, by your suggestion that I cover up? To say, no nursing mother should ever be told to cover up. To say, it is my right, it is my child's right, to nurse and be nursed here, right here, right now, in the manner that best serves us both. To say, fuck your blanket.

I always thought that I would say something, if it happened to me.

I hadn't figured that I might, if happened to me, be caught in an anxious, unguarded moment, that I might be feeling vulnerable, that my heart might be sore, that I might not be the cocky self-assured self that I can be when I'm protected by my words, by the screen, by the condition of being virtual. I hadn't thought that, in the reality of such a moment, I might just fold under the weight of my anxieties and my hurts and my self-consciousness about those anxieties and hurts, about my self-consciousness, full stop, and just want to disappear. Under a blanket, maybe.

Which is precisely the problem, as I've said before. A nursing mother is very often a mother at her most vulnerable. A nursing mother traveling - a nursing mother traveling on her own - a nursing mother traveling on her own and weeping - is almost certainly a mother at her most vulnerable. To approach woman under these circumstances to suggest that she do something to modify her behavior is to exploit her vulnerability. It is - and maybe this is too strong a statement, although on the basis of my own experience I think not - to bully.

I wish that I had the emotional strength right now to be more outraged about this. I wish that I had the emotional strength, even, to express a measure of outrage that amounts to more than this heavy sighing, this defeated complaint. I wish that I had the mental and emotional wherewithal to write a letter, to send an e-mail, to make a phone call. But I don't. I'm spent, completely and totally spent. Everything that I have is going toward supporting my family and keeping my own emotional ballasts stable. There was, there is, nothing left over.

All there was to do, all there is to do, is to take cover under the blanket, and hope that it doesn't smother.

*******

One of you, anonymously, took the initiative to get the contact information for media relations at WestJet. If you're so inclined to express your opposition to policies advocating the blanketing of nursing babies on airplanes, here it is: Gillian Bentley, Media Relations, e-mail: gbentley@westjet.com.

Many of you have told me that you've already sent e-mails linking to this post. You are all so, so awesome. It's warming, to be so surrounded by heroes, bare-breasted or otherwise.


Labels: , ,

213 Comments:

1 – 200 of 213 Newer› Newest»
Blogger Katrina said...

Bless you heart. I'm so sorry you had to deal with that b**** on top of everything else. Drives me nuts when folks get all antsy about the boobfood. You weren't hanging your nips out to air dry the entire flight so wtf? Gah, makes me mad. I'm sure there were women on that plane showing a lot more boob than you were and I am sure they weren't offered blankets.

Hang in there chickadee.

Hugs...

12:26 PM  
Blogger Issas Crazy World said...

I am enraged for you and also weeping for you. There is something wrong with a woman like that. I've never breastfed, but I find it the most beautiful thing. I just can't understand people.

Wan't some of us to write a letter for you? I'd so do it.

Hugs to you Catherine. I hope life starts to look better soon.

12:27 PM  
Anonymous WaltzInExile said...

Not that you're asking for absolution (nor do I presume to be capable of giving any), but: You're allowed to be spent; there's no way to avoid it, sometimes. No one expects you (or any of us) to be able to crusade non-stop. We do what we can, when we can.
Personally, I think you should be proud that you were so civil. When I'm vulnerable, I'm much more likely to lash out.

12:27 PM  
Blogger b*babbler said...

Some people really have no fucking idea, do they? I especially hate when this behaviour comes from women. Do we not have enough to contend with, as women, without pushing old-fashioned, ridiculous, male-inspired ideas of boobs as sexual objects on one another? Haven't we heard of solidarity?

I guess I was truly lucky in my public breast-feeding experiences, but I do understand how when you think you'd be the person to stand up and say something, how sometimes it is just easier to retreat into ourselves and be silently enraged.

I say we book a blogger flight on West Jet in which we collectively bare our breasts. Who's in?

12:28 PM  
Blogger Kimberly said...

I say you should just email your blog post to the CEO of West Jet.

Complete with the italics and asterisks, etc.

Bleck.

Hugs to you.

12:38 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Oh honey...

It happened to me, once, too. I was in St. Thomas, at the court house, while my friends got their marriage license. It was so hot, and the baby was thirsty, so I sat in the waiting room and nursed her. I wasn't just offered a blanket, I was ushered into a conference room and told to feed the baby there.

I was mortified and outraged, and EXTREMELY pissed at myself for not ripping the bastard (male) security guard guy a new one rather than following him trying to decipher his thick accent. However, I was in a foreign place, and I didn't know the laws and whether or not they would protect my right to breastfeed, and so I sat there, seething, as I fed my child.

When she was finished I went back into the lobby and said, "Is there a law in the Virgin Islands that prohibits women from breastfeeding in public?" to the guy who had asked me to leave. He said "You can't do that here, this is a court of law," I said, "That's not what I asked..." and we went around and around about it until someone else intervened and said, "It's done now, no fighting," over and over until I shut up. I did manage to get in that I was OFFENDED to be asked to move, and that he had no right to treat me that way, I wasn't being indecent, you could see more breast on the beach than what I was showing, etc. etc.

But I was so humiliated that I had followed him in the first place. I felt like I had betrayed the cause somehow. Being in a foreign place, though, with no one to bail me out of jail if necessary, except the busy bride and groom, and not wanting to miss the wedding because I was in some Caribbean prison... Well, I was vulnerable, too, and I was bullied. It took me 15 minutes of nursing in a conference room to get my courage on.

You didn't have those 15 minutes, and you were already operating from a position of completely understandable weakness (grief and fear really take it out of you).

Let it go. Let someone who is in a stronger place do the crusading. You did the best you could at the time with the resources you had at your disposal. You didn't want to get kicked off of your flight, of course, and end up on the news with everything you have going on right now, and we all know that women have been kicked off of flights, right?

As a card carrying member of the cause, I salute you for nursing your baby in public. You did not betray the cause. You are hereby exonerated.

Amy @ http://prettybabies.blogspot.com

12:44 PM  
Blogger Niksmom said...

Wow, I'm sorry you had such an experience. I can't say I can relate; never had the chance to b/f since Nik was on a ventilator. But I get those same looks in public when I lift his shirt to put his feeding tube in so he can eat. When did the human body become so "dirty" to others? Sad.

12:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you would have spoken up if you were not traveling to where you were traveling for what you were traveling for, i know you would have.

12:47 PM  
Blogger kaila said...

I'm with Kimberly. Just send this post to WestJet. Your point will come across very clear.

So sorry you had to go through that.

1:01 PM  
Blogger Backpacking Dad said...

I will write your letter, Catherine. Just let me know which flight it was and the woman's name, if you ever caught it.

1:08 PM  
Blogger Barb @ getupandplay said...

You stood up for yourself and your baby- maybe not in the way you would have preferred if in a stronger place mentally, but you still did. And that is awesome.

1:09 PM  
Blogger mamatulip said...

((((Love))))

Send this to West Jet. Your voice, though tired, is loud and clear. And beautiful.

1:12 PM  
Blogger Vered - MomGrind said...

I don't know why these things still happen. I don't know why people, women included, still feel so much hatred, shame and disgust towards women. I don't know why people still feel that women should be CONTROLLED and managed and shamed.

I am very sorry that you had to go through this.

1:17 PM  
Blogger motherbumper said...

West Jet needs to read this. For real - and to keep it for sensitivity training purposes.

1:20 PM  
Blogger toyfoto said...

My thinking is it could have been worse; instead of offering an 'option' (arguably that you would have already have employed had you actually wanted 'privacy') she could have demanded the blanket be used and had you hauled off with security once the plane had landed. I understand that kind of outrage happens, too.

But, screaming outrage or not, you did stand up for your rights by refusing her attempt to get you to cover up. You said 'No thank you."

"No thank you" is perfect.

Also: There is always time to write your letter. My thinking is that airlines are training this type of behavior more so than they are admitting. A letter to the airlines (and your local congress person) couldn't hurt.

1:23 PM  
OpenID verybadcat said...

I submitted a complaint for you. I have enough energy for both of us, and also enough outrage to go around.

Just think about the effort it took not to give in and cover up- that was enough. It was the minimal effective response, and sometimes that's the best we can do.

xoxo

1:25 PM  
Anonymous Ree (The Other One) said...

{{hugs Catherine}}

1:27 PM  
Blogger Atlanta Mommy said...

I am so sorry. The last thing you needed, at that time in your life, was someone questioning how and where you feed your child. I nursed my two little ones for longer than a year each. It was one of the most rewarding things I've ever done. There are many of us ready to stand up for mommies and their nurslings everywhere. It's OK to take cover under the blanket; spend a little time healing yourself.

1:29 PM  
OpenID madgetastic said...

My jaw clenched tighter and tighter as I read that. I want to punch that woman on your behalf.

Good work for not giving in. In your condition, I can't imagine being able to muster more than that subtle, yet very pointed response.

1:29 PM  
Anonymous Stacy said...

I think you did a great job by just continuing to nurse and not looking her in the eye. If it helps, your experience has toughened me to the bastards who make us feel dirty for nursing in public and the next time I'm "talked to" and "offered a blanket" I might just speak up for all of us.

Peace.

1:30 PM  
Anonymous ame i. said...

Mmm-hmm.
Yet no one ever says a thing to fat men on beaches and at pools about subjecting us to the sight of hairy, saggy man-boobs. (moobs?)
I'd rather see woman boobs any day, and I don't even dig other chicks. ;)

1:31 PM  
Blogger Immoral Matriarch said...

I'm sorry that this happened to you, on top of everything else you're going through.

1:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It could have been worse - at least she didn't walk across your stroller!

1:47 PM  
Blogger Dawn Johnson said...

I agree that your response, or lack there of, while created because of a tough situation for you (I'm so sorry you had to go through ALL of that) probably said a whole lot. It strikes me that you probably said a whole lot by not saying anything but continuing to keep doing it your way.

1:59 PM  
Blogger zchamu said...

You know what? I think you handled it *extremely* well.

There was no need to engage her. At all. She offered the blanket. You said no. That was that. No amount of cajoling or wheedling or defensiveness on her part could get you to say anything else. A simple "no" was all that was needed. And in a way, that's almost the best possible way to respond. No point in engaging in an argument. She can't force you to use the blanket. Just... no. Perfect.

2:01 PM  
Anonymous Amy (chaseafterwind) said...

I am so sorry this happened to you. Our society's hangup about breastfeeding is ridiculous and infuriating.

2:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WEST JET SUCKS.

You know, some companies monitor what's being said about them on the Internet. I hope West Jet is one of them.

P.S. WEST JET SUCKS. HEAR THAT WEST JET?

2:18 PM  
Anonymous Rebecca said...

I wonder if West Jet flight attendants tell women wearing revealing clothes to cover up with a blanket.

2:20 PM  
Anonymous How About... said...

How about everyone who reads this post sends a link to it--and a quick note expressing your outrage--to West Jet's head office?


Gillian Bentley, Media Relations
e-mail: gbentley@westjet.com

I'm sure Gillian will get it to the right people.

2:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a complete hag! I'm glad you refused the blanket and kept nursing the baby.

2:50 PM  
Blogger Tiffi33 said...

UGH.
That is just shitty..
I think the No thank you alone was more than enough to handle it civilly..
I think we ALL have the vulnerable moments, when our heads are too clouded to be brave & ask the hard question..
You had a TON on your emotional plate this week..
if you feel up to it, write the letter..until then, heal and de-stress!

2:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't believe this happened after all the negative publicity businesses that harrass nursing mothers have been getting lately. This is very disheartening because it says that all the nurse-ins have not been super effective; however, we must still keep trying. A very good opinion peice on nursing mothers can be found here http://thebroadspot.blogspot.com/2008/08/girls-gone-wild.html. It was written by one of the other writers at my blog.

3:06 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

My third child is 3 months old and I still feel uncomfortable nursing in public. Good for you for just feeding your son and not having the issues that I have.

And your response is the best one you could have given in my opinion. If you'd made a big issue, you'd probably look like the crazy lady. Your response was polite but firm and calm. Says volumes more than a tirade.

But I'd say you need to send a letter so that the company knows (if they don't already) how you were treated.

3:11 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

Perhaps she was simply trying to offer comfort to a weeping, nursing woman. Instead of just asking if there was anything she could do for you, she just threw a blanket at you. Some people don't know how to offer help.

3:25 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

At the risk of oversimplifying things, I say: F**K those B**CHES!! You rock, you are doing what you have to do for your family and if you don't tell of some bleepity bleep, don't give it one more thought.

I think you're one TUFF lady and have a lot of respect for you.

From one nursing mama to the other,
Sarah

Ps. Thanks, as ever, for sharing so candidly.

3:27 PM  
Blogger Tara@From Dawn Till Rusk said...

Grrrr! If you couldn't be angry let me be angry for you. But do you know what, you probably did more for nursing mothers by not saying anything, by not being outraged so the complainers could tut tut and shake their heads, by just doing what IT'S GODDAM NATURAL TO DO. Really, people like that make me mad - and it's even worse when it's a woman who makes a fuss.

3:41 PM  
Blogger DivaDunn said...

As if flying with an infant isn't hard enough! WTF - I thought they were more liberal in Canada?

During my year and a half of nursing, I flew six times and was a nervous wreck every time. That same year a nursing mom had been kicked off a flight for nursing. Maybe that uproar helped cause luckily noone said anything to me.

I think I'm a real badass too, but if faced with that kind of confrontation while holding my baby and trying to keep her/him from stress, I'd so wuss out.

3:43 PM  
Anonymous Kathy said...

Like Kate said, maybe, just maybe, she was trying her best to comfort a visibly upset, alone, nursing mother. Her efforts were obviously misdirected as it was not the act of nursing on a plane that had you upset. It is definitely worth writing to West Jet as the attendant could certainly use a little sensitivity training but it is possible her motivations were to help you, not sheild others from the partial sight of your breast.

3:47 PM  
OpenID zandor said...

I'm sorry that happened to you. Hugs.

3:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps in the months to come you will feel like you have the energy to complain to west jet directly and perhaps send a smart and witty letter to the editor to all the major papers which i'm sure would catch west jet's attention!

3:57 PM  
Blogger Mommato2 said...

Seriously? Maybe we could all write letters on your behalf. Oh the nerve of her...

So sorry you were treated this way on top of everything else.

I hope your nephew continues to get better.

Hugs.

3:57 PM  
Blogger mothergoosemouse said...

"If you need help with it?"

What. the. fuck.

I think you did exactly the right thing under the circumstances. But I also think a well-worded letter to the airline - when you are feeling up to it - might be worthwhile.

Continuing to think of you and yours.

4:00 PM  
Blogger Momily said...

I think if the flight attendant was really trying to help as opposed to say hiding boob at all cost, she would have just asked, "Is there anything I can get you or do to help you?" No?? Not swoop in with a blanket. It sounds like she was definitely trying to get HBM to cover up.

4:00 PM  
Blogger Tuesday Girl said...

Terrible. I wish I was with you because I would have been your voice when you couldn't speak.

terrible.

4:03 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

I'm sorry babe - but you took care of yourself and your child, so you done good. And we can all be outraged on your behalf, it that helps... those of us south of the border have a whole election cycle's worth of rage, so we can afford to overflow in whatever direction you point us.

4:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

O honey - I am a very new reader to your blog and I come from NJ (meaning never heard of that airline) BUT if you email me the info I will GLADLY send a letter for you. Nursing moms need the voice of NON NURSING WOMAN to stand up for breastfeeding. TO LET everyone know that breastfeeding is fine. If Paris Hilton can flap her nasty lips to the world and the world eats it up, then what is the harm in a breastfeeding mom. What jerks!!!

Kayla

PS your nephew is in my prayers

4:12 PM  
Blogger Mandy said...

Sorry to hear that you were hassled on top of everything else.

Continuing to think of you and your family.

4:14 PM  
Blogger excavator said...

Oh, gee, I'm furious.

Yes, that was bullying, and she should be held to account.

Who's the airline? Could you give me the e-mail address? Would it be OK if I sent my protest? Would it be ok if I attached a copy of your post?

Let me at-em!

Grrrrrrrrrrrrr

4:15 PM  
Anonymous Dawn said...

oh my dear, mothering is such political act, and sometimes, when we're weary and heartsore, the politics get abandoned for the mothering. Don't feel bad - you're an inspiration to me, a first time mom and nurser, to stand up for my rights and those of my daughter.

I have emailed West Jet through their online service evaluation. I'm willing and proud to stand up on your behalf during such a vulnerable time. Please let us know whether or not they contact you.

Love and hugs to you and your family, dear one!!

4:15 PM  
Blogger Kim/2 Kids said...

I found your post beautiful. Thank you for being so honest, it doesn't really matter what you did or didn't do. You were doing the best you could at that moment and trying to hold it together. I can imagine that watching your baby nurse gave you some much need connectedness and relief in the face of all you and your family have been through. There will always be more women like her and times when you have more strength to fight. At that moment, you did what was right for you. Thinking of you.

4:23 PM  
Anonymous kathy said...

I don't disagree, it is obvious the attendant was suggesting covering up and her approach was wrong. My point is that we don't know her motivation. These could have been very misguided attempts to help someone she thought was upset. It is possible that the attendant wouldn't have looked twice at HBM breast feeding if she had been in a more positive emotional state. To fly off the handle and accuse this flight attendant and West Jet of being "anti-breast feeding" may not be appropriate. She handled this interaction very poorly and should be educated (along with all airline staff) accordingly. If she has a history of this sort of behavior and West Jet has not addressed it then yes, there is a more serious problem.

4:25 PM  
Blogger excavator said...

I just sent a message (per How...About...'s suggestion above) to Gillian Bentely.

I hope she gets swamped with them and does some staff education pronto.

Please don't be too hard on yourself. It was enough that you refused, and you were certainly on a higher road than the flight attendant.

4:31 PM  
Anonymous fruitlady said...

There's a bigger struggle here that this is a smaller part of. The struggle to not impose our opinions, our reactions, and our judgments on others. There is always another side to the story and another tale to tell. A box of kleenex would have probably been more appropriate for her to bring to you, but her own baggage prevented her from really noticing what was happening there. A woman suffering and while suffering providing comfort and nourishment to a child. It's too bad she couldn't have taken off the blinders of her job or her personal opinions to really take note of what was happening.

4:40 PM  
Blogger Miss Grace said...

That's almost exactly how it happened to me. Except (I'm sorry I know it's not true) it was worse because it was happening to me. And I was already so tired and I was on the train and uncomfortable ANYWAYS and I had this MAN telling me that I was offending people when I was the only person in the car and...sigh...I completely sympathize.

5:00 PM  
Blogger Lindsay Lebresco said...

I probably should have been more grateful when the sweet stewardess at US Airways let me pump in the galley since the bathroom didn't have a plug. I'm here to say that US Airways was great to me - not sure the other (male) passengers were as grateful for their graciousness. :)

5:14 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

kathy, I don't think that it was immediately obvious that I was in any sort of distress - it was the sort of very quiet choked up crying that just involves tears streaming down the face - she definitely knew from the moment that she kneeled down to give me the blanket to cover up. It would have a been a good moment to back off. But no, I don't know her motivations. All I know is that she was pretty insistent about the benefits of the balnket.

5:27 PM  
Blogger Delphine said...

I was surprised to see so many women breast-feeding with blankets in the US and other countries because in France, and I guess some other european countries, we are really cool about that. Anyway, I am glad you're safely home with your loving family and I send all my best from across the pond for Zach's recovery.

5:37 PM  
Blogger The Stiletto Mom said...

Rudest woman ever. Aside from just being horrid, suggesting you throw one of those germy nasty blankets over YOUR BABY? Uh, no thanks...I'm with everyone else...you should complain. I did once and got 6,000 free miles (roughly 1/4 of a free ticket..but still).

5:55 PM  
Blogger rhea_sun said...

OMG, it's the return of the big scary BOOB!

Seriously? Are we not grown up enough in this civilization to have nursing mothers anywhere and everywhere? Must we cover them under blankets because it's *so* shameful to be a mother?

If I were you I would have snarled and promptly broken into pieces, kudos to you for keeping it together.

5:55 PM  
Anonymous Nina said...

So, so very sorry Catherine.

After what you have been through these past couple of weeks, for that to happen on top of everything...I'm just so sorry.

5:56 PM  
Blogger Anissa Mayhew said...

Catherine,

I'm sorry for the tears, the pain and fear your family has endured over the past weeks. and I'm so worry it was made worse by some douchebag of an attendant who needs to learn that nursing is the most natural thing you could possibly do.

{{HUGS}}

7:10 PM  
Blogger Omaha Mama said...

Maybe you could just email or mail this post to the airline? Just as a thank you very little.
I'm sorry you felt vulnerable, on top of everything else. And I'm sorry that you were made to feel the way you were made to feel.

7:46 PM  
Blogger litanyofbritt said...

don't you hate moments like this where you think of all the great things to say or do after the fact. you did good by not covering up. that was a statement in itself.

i have no idea how to bf with a blanket without smothering my baby who is now 6 months old, and F THAT if you don't want to see me bfing, general public, avert your eyes. or stick a blanket over your head,. or maybe you could go eat lunch on a public toilet whilst i leisurely feed my baby in the food court.

i did have to stare down an old man who was glaring at me, and even so much as walked across the room CLOSER to me to glare in case i had missed it. i gave him what-the-fuck-would-you-like-a-sip-yourself face until he backed off. i should have aimed and fired. is that assault?

7:53 PM  
Blogger litanyofbritt said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:55 PM  
Blogger litanyofbritt said...

oh and although i doubt they would give a rats ass about some random passenger, i think emailing the link to this post and the plethra of angry voices behind it may be enough for at the very least a written apology.

7:56 PM  
Blogger Karen MEG said...

I am so outraged for you Catherine. I think you handled it well, the message certainly came across from the sounds of it. Just so ignorant... it's unfortunate this continues to happen.
I remember when the girl was a few months old, I was in a mall and an older lady came by to admire her. Then girlie got fussy as it was time to eat, so I positioned her on my boob with her blanket. And I have very little boob, so there was really nothing showing. The lady was shocked, looked away, and said that there were rooms for "that". She was a grandmother too.

I just said we were fine and quite comfortable where we were. Those "rooms" that she spoke of were in the washroom - ugh, smelly, and forget that!

8:11 PM  
Blogger Ruth Dynamite said...

Flush.

Just flush away mosquito brains like this ignoramus. You just take care of yourself now, OK? Think of all your internet pals as bare-breasted warriors standing by your side. We'll scare away the blanket brigade yet! Hang in there.

9:02 PM  
Blogger Satsuki Rebel said...

I'm sorry that this happened to you. Personally, my babe is still only 1 1/2 but another mum breastfeeding in front of me without a covering of some sort would make me uncomfortable. However, instead of saying anything, being offended, or shooting you a look I would turn my head in a different direction. You have the right to bf how you see fit. I understand why the attendant offered you a blanket but she should have left it at that and just left. Pushing your beliefs on others ISN'T a good thing regardless of what our society tells (forces on) us.

9:37 PM  
Blogger Shannon said...

Oh - I could cry - and yell! The nerve! (And I am not prone to exclamation points.) I've sent a letter on your behalf. I'm so sorry - for all of it, all the pain and stress you're going through right now. A week after my youngest was born, my mother nearly died in my livingroom. It turns out she had leukemia. The stress of the months (years?) that followed was just horrible. I just don't understand why so many people find it so hard to be human. My thoughts are with you. I wish I knew what else to say other than hang in there....

9:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have and do BF in public - sitting on a bench in the mall, on planes, in restaurants, etc. I _myself_ was usually more comfortable with a blanket, especially with the first, but sometimes it was hot, or I didn't have one along, or she kept pushing it off... And it was fine.

That being said, to give the attendant the benefit of the doubt, she might have noticed you were traveling alone, and maybe not seeming very comfortable, and the blanket might have been a helpful gesture... but then she should have left it alone much, much sooner. A possibly helpfully-meant offer, but "I'm fine, thank you" and she could have left you alone, without seeming pushy about it.

That's really what it comes down to, doesn't it... was she pushily trying to get you to cover up because, oh, gosh, shameful body part!!!! or trying to be helpful and let you be more comfortable?

Either way, good for you to nurse your child in the way that served you both best, and know that many, many of us are thinking of you and wishing you, and your family, well.

9:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WEST JET welcome to 2008; hiding a nursing baby under a blanket was wrong back in 1958, but back then we didn't know it was wrong. Now we know better. Shame on you.

9:58 PM  
Anonymous Susan Getgood said...

I agree with motherbumper and mothergoosemouse. When you feel you can, you should let the airline know. Even if you just send your post with a note that lets them know that this is how you, their customer, were made to feel on their airline.

And I am so sorry that you've had such a rough time and insensitivity made it worse.

10:06 PM  
Blogger whensheworeponytails said...

WestJet? You just give me the date it occurred and I'll be writing me some letters. That's bullshit and I'm sick to death (and you'll excuse me for generalizing) of women being permitted to walk around with half their tits hanging out if it is a low neck shirt and showing off the goods but GOD FORBID a baby be eating! GASP! The HORROR!!

I'm there, lady. I got your back and I'm with you.

I'm so sorry that this happened to you while you were already going through so much. I truly am. It's hard enough to deal with emotional turmoil without assholes acting like assholes.

Like I said, I'm ready and willing and filled with plenty of venom to write the letter. I'll call them assholes so politely they won't know whether to hug me or be angry.

10:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please Catherine, give us the flight number and the date of the flight. All of us who have the energy right now need to write to Westjet, saying that our friend was made uncomfortable by a staff member making inappropriate suggestions, and as nursing mothers ourselves, we find it unjust, unecessary, and offensive. I've been there too, and was too weak and vulnerable to make a fuss at the time. But I'm stronger now! And I/we want to do this for us, and for the women who come after us.

10:13 PM  
Blogger whensheworeponytails said...

I emailed

Gillian Bentley, Media Relations
e-mail: gbentley@westjet.com

and I BCC to you.

I hope they apologize to you. They owe you and Jasper AT LEAST that much.

10:26 PM  
Anonymous Dana said...

I want a t-shirt that says f*ck you blanket. Awesome.

Love and hugs for you, fists for the boob haters. xoxoxoxoxo

10:44 PM  
Blogger Mekhismom said...

You would think in this day and age mothers would be able to feed their children without being made to feel like we are offending others. I am so sorry to hear that this happened when you are in a vulnerable place. Perhaps you can write a letter to the airlines - the treatment that your received was uncalled for.

10:51 PM  
Blogger Brandi said...

I just weaned my 2yo a few months ago and I nursed him where and when I needed to. Sometimes with a cover (because I didn't care for the atmosphere created...) most of the time without. He never liked being covered up.

My point being, I am SO sorry you felt bullied at a point when you were feeling terrible anyway. And I am really sorry that we have to look at barely legal girls boobs spilling out of their shirts and ass-cracks showing 6 inches above their pants, all the time(!), and no airline attendant would ever think of offending her by asking her to cover up.

I second the general assessment that you handled yourself extremely well and perhaps, "no thank you" was the most dignified response regardless of your emotional state, simple statements like that speak more than screaming and shouting.

Rather, I wish she had asked if there was something she could do to help regarding your crying (something to drink, a bump to First class, something like that) rather than offering a "solution" for a problem that didn't exist.

I give you {{hugs}} and keep your tits out and doing what they were made for, for as long as YOU want!

10:55 PM  
Blogger Cynthia Samuels said...

Clearly we need to gather the League of Maternal Justice immediately. Is WestJet the real name? Of course it could have been one lame flight attendant OR she could have thought she was helping (my sons say I see the world through pink "Cindy glasses" but still, it's possible. In any event I saw rally the League! Immediately.

10:55 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

No fucking way. You. YOU of all people.

I think it's wonderful that you're not afraid to admit that even the women in charge of the boob brigade against Facebook sometimes just don't have the fight in them. Sometimes it's just easier to ignore...or cover up.

You're amazing.

10:59 PM  
Anonymous Andria and Co. said...

Oh honey, I feel for you. Fly AA next time. The last time I flew, the stewardess was so excited to see me nursing, and talked (loudly) about her own days of nursing.

11:03 PM  
Blogger LetterB said...

What did they expect when they started eliminating the in-flight meal? At least you weren't breastfeeding your seatmate who probably could have used it.

Seriously, my hackles may never go down after reading this post. I am completely outraged in every way for you. Stoopid American that I am I have never heard of WestJet but I can tell you right now they are dead to me forever.

11:07 PM  
Blogger Ashley said...

WestJet? I AM APPALLED. While you were CRYING? If I'd have been there, I'd have said something FOR you. As a MOTHER and as someone who has been there. Let's start a blogger boycott.

I wrote about a similar thing a couple of years back when a Vermont woman was asked to de-board a plane for nursing her child. Crazy. http://www.theredheadedlefty.com/2006/11/angry-moms-to-donkey-kick-delta-in-gut.html

11:07 PM  
Blogger Don Mills Diva said...

Just sent this beautiful post to that media contact.

I WAS booking a business trip to Vancouver on WestJet tomorrow. Now I believe I shall hold off until I see what the response is...

11:08 PM  
Blogger whensheworeponytails said...

Okay...Information I got when I called was if you want to submit over the web you can go to their website and then go to "Contact Us" and select E-mail us your feedback.

OR if you'd prefer to send letters send them to..

WestJet Airlines Ltd.
5055 11th St. NE
Calgary,
Alberta T2E 8N4,
Canada
Attention: guest
services manager

Their fax is 403-444-2301 and there is someone manning the phones at 888-293-7853.

I called already. Am typing letter to send and submitting one over their form. May be over kill but I'm hoping it makes a point.

And then when I'm done pointing I'm going to bed. LOL

Good night, C. I hope you're able to rest some after all you've been through these last few weeks.

11:10 PM  
OpenID blissfullycaffeinated said...

That just makes me furious. And that's all I can really say about it. These types of incidents make me really, really mad.

Please, please do not beat yourself up over this. I imagine it takes a lot of gumption to argue with someone whilst expending your energy in the nurturing of human life. You are going through an incredibly difficult time right now and I can't imagine that you would have enough reserve left in the tank to take on an incredibly insensitive flight attendant.

I'm so sorry this happened to you and will definitely send an email to the airline.

11:11 PM  
Blogger Mommy Melee said...

This just makes me feel ill. I'm so sorry you had to go through that.

The other day at work my female boss and coworker told me how uncomfortable it made them and how "just wrong" it was for women to nurse in public.

Here I am, nearing eight months pregnant. I've made it clear that I nursed my son. I wanted to start advocating, but all I could manage was a nervous laugh as I told them that I nurse anywhere I want. To which they responded with shocked and uncomfortable expressions.

Even without a babe at my breast I felt vulnerable and defensive.

It's a crazy thing. And it's not right.

11:11 PM  
Blogger delaneydiariesmama said...

Add me to the list of those who are outraged for you.

Just today I wanted to nurse my sobbing, separation-anxiety-ridden son in our gym's daycare after they paged me to come get him when he wouldn't settle down. I asked for a spot to nurse him but all the caregivers could tell me was that there wasn't an "appropriate" place for that because there were (gasp!) older children and it wouldn't be OK for them to see me like that.

I wanted to shout, "Why not? So they can't, won't, ever become accustomed to seeing it? Because God forbid children should think that breasts have a purpose, that they were once fed by their own mothers. Don't you think that if more children were exposed to nursing mothers instead of shielded from them, we wouldn't be having this conversation right now???" But instead, I took my sobbing child and walked out of there. I, too, wish I had stood up and shouted that. But my main concern was making my son feel better so I got the hell out of there.

In this day and age when we feel so evolved, it is painfully obvious that we so are not.

11:23 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

You. I have traveled across the country, though there was no where near the duress of your flight, I clung to my Fin, deriving the strength I needed to survive the flight from her nursing. My head stayed bowed and we bore no skin, yet I am sure that had I been addressed as you were I would have reacted the same. She may not have meant harm, but she pushed too hard. Too long. I hope you found some modicum of solace in the good you were doing for him and for you.

I'm running with Dana's idea on the f*ck the blanket tee.

11:26 PM  
Blogger HeatherY said...

I know that there are people who may be uncomfortable with people who nurse in public. It's like they don't even realize that you are actually feeding a child. Bless your heart.

11:30 PM  
Blogger Satsuki Rebel said...

Perhaps instead of bashing the uncomfortable people we should try and find a happy medium. Maybe cuz like it not- a boob is a boob, regardless of if the tit is exposed AND yes, breasts are BOTH sexual & natural objects. Sorry to be harsh. As I posted just a bit ago I'm sorry this happened to you (so this post isn't exactly about you right now- you deserve compassion more now than ever) but I think all of this outrage over "uncomfortable people" is pretty closed-minded as well. Speaking as an uncomfortable person the stereotype peeves me off a bit.

11:48 PM  
Blogger Rachael said...

That sucks. It can be so hard to think you will do something and realize how vulnerable you are at that moment. If you're feeling sad, airplanes can be incredibly sad places - they can signify leaving things behind that you'll really miss. (Hugs)

12:55 AM  
Blogger Red Cup Mom said...

It is awful when it happens. The glares, the blankets or whatever. I am glad you posted about it and refused the blanket. Your baby deserves you to stand up for the right for all nursing Moms.

1:55 AM  
Blogger Kat said...

Jesus. Sorry. Really, really sorry. If I'd been sitting near you, I would have told that flight attendant to leave you the hell alone. I love seeing women nursing in public, uncovered, and unconcerned. There's just something right about it. Personally, I think the uncomfortable people need to realize its just their problem, not yours, and avert their eyes.

2:20 AM  
Blogger Louisa said...

Wow! i can't believe that happened. it is outrageous and I am really glad that you've got people speaking up for you on this. when you've got some energy back then i would encourage you to say something too. it's completely inappropriate & not at all standard. i have flown a lot with my bubs, breastfed most times and have had nothing but help and encouragement from the airline staff. I am so sorry you had to experience this crap when you have so much else going on! Gosh, could they have been even slightly empathetic!!

3:15 AM  
Anonymous dani said...

Complaint to WestJet sent.

I have zero tolerance for people being outraged by a child being fed. We Australians, by and large are more liberal bout such matters. In fact, the only times I have been really harassed about b/feeding my children has been in the USA and Ive been b/feeding for 5 years next month.

IMO older children need to see it. It's natural. Perhaps if it was more visible in society, people would have less trouble establishing b/feeding in the first place.

I'm a pretty tolerant sort of gal but it offends me to the core of my being when I hear insinuations that b/feeding is somehow indecent or responsible for making others uncomfortable.

4:15 AM  
Blogger Millicent said...

Add another outraged Aussie here! I have already sent my email to West Jet! Lets hope they get the message.

6:29 AM  
Blogger Elisa said...

I really don't understand this fixation people have here, about covering up or not breastfeeding in public at all. Even Swiss people, who are pretty damn conservative, don't blink an eye when moms nurse in public. I just don't get it.

7:16 AM  
Blogger Brandy said...

When I was a rookie breastfeeder I was covered in blankets, shields, tucked away in a corner if forced to feed in public, now that I have earned my wings I will do it anywhere with or without coverage.

I would be very irritated if told to cover up, what is this? the dark ages? No. wait, if it was there wouldn't be an issue...

WestJet will get a piece of my mind.

8:08 AM  
Blogger nomotherearth said...

I'm with MamaTulip - send a link to this to WestJet. No doubt they will see the error of their ways in your eloquence. xoA

8:33 AM  
Anonymous egm said...

I can remember going into a back bedroom to nurse my daughter so that my father-in-law wouldn't be uncomfortable at a family Christmas gathering. As a new stay-at-home mom, I was already feeling isolated enough, but instead of enjoying the holiday, I went into exile for 30-45 minutes out of every couple of hours. Not good for the psyche, but I was too polite/chicken shit to do anything else.

Fast forward 7 years to my son's birthday party, when my sister-in-law nursed her daughter at the table as we sang happy birthday. She and I have hardly anything in common, but at that particular moment, I felt such a rush of affection and admiration for her. If I ever have more children, the first things I will buy will be that F*&k the Blanket t-shirt (seriously, someone make one!) and a Mutha Sucka onesie.

It might be painfully slow, but things are changing. Your simple, dignified refusal to use the blanket was perfect. No need to apologize for that.

Here's hoping West Jet gets the message, and you start feeling stronger again soon.

9:00 AM  
Anonymous Wyliekat said...

For what it's worth, I've flown WestJet a good half dozen times with a child at the breast, and have never been treated in that fashion. In fact, it was flight attendants who strongly suggested that I *did* breastfeed through take off and landing. Never once had a problem, and I was never a blanket nurser.

Just wanted to give a different perspective.

9:36 AM  
Blogger Tiffi33 said...

http://shop.cafepress.com/design/14581993
THIS is a very appropriate t-shirt for ya..till you can get a F the blanket one..heh

9:44 AM  
Blogger Jenny, the Bloggess said...

After all the drama you've been through lately I'm just proud that you didn't just give up and accept the blanket. To continue to tell the woman "no, thank you" even after all of this emotional havock has run you raw is really quite heroic.

10:40 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Satsuki Rebel - I make every effort when I nurse to not flap my boobs around, in part because I don't want people to feel uncomfortable, but also because *I* would be uncomfortable doing it. But here's the thing - and I am pretty uncompromising on this point - it's much easier - and more reasonable - for someone who is made uncomfortable by the sight of a partly exposed breast to just look away than it is for me to just not feed my baby, or to cover him up, or to skulk away to a washroom or whatever. As I've said a gajillion times - my baby's right to nourishment trumps, by a thousandfold, any other person's right (if such rights can be said to exist) to not be made uncomfortable. I extend a courtesy to others around me by endeavoring - within reasonable bounds - to be discreet, even though I balk at anything that implies that the nursing breast is something to be ashamed of or hidden. Is it so much to expect that others will extend me and my child the courtesy of setting aside their discomforts and allowing us to nurse peacefully and without interference or embarassment?

10:54 AM  
Blogger Elisa said...

Satsuki rebel -

What is a "happy medium"??? a nursing mother is not a peep show.

I am not comfortable nursing in public but respect that right in other moms and admire those who do it, especially in the US, where there are close-minded, repressed individuals who are willing to watch boobs on TV but not when they are feeding a child. Which brings me to this: if you don't want to see it, DON'T LOOK.

11:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am crying as I read this and write this. I understand why you cannot write to them or deal with it at the moment. I will be writing to them, as I am sure many other people will be. By writing this post, you have made a difference by inspiring other people to act. Thank you.

11:31 AM  
Anonymous lavandula said...

hi catherine i'm sorry you've had such an emotionally draining time of it lately.and i'm sorry you were offered a blanket to cover up with.what the hells wrong with people?you were clearly upset.so why was that flight attendant making matters worse? when is society going to stop making nursing mums so frikkin uncomfortable when they are only providing food and comfort to their babes?! argh...and for the record not one of mine would have nursed with a blanket covering them.all 4 of them would have pulled it or batted it off of themselves!sending you a big hug...am off to e-mail westjet now

12:15 PM  
Blogger Laural Dawn said...

I'm glad you did what you did.
I would have been mortified if that had happened to me and may not as have had as much dignity to just say "no thank you".
I think it's just a little ironic that they chose you to pick on considering about a billion people read your blog.

12:29 PM  
Anonymous torrie said...

I'm so sorry.
I nursed my daughter until she was 13 months old and I nursed her in public- everywhere. Her face and my shirt covered most of my breast. There was a lot less of my tits on display than all of these woman I see walking around in low cut tops. It amazes me that we are doing the best, most natural thing for our children, and it makes people uncomfortable. What a sad world.
I only ever had one person say something to me while I was breastfeeding. I think more people didn't say anything because if they looked uncomfortable I would give them the "I fucking dare you to say something" look.
I'm sorry you were alone and sad and your defenses were down, otherwise I'm sure you would have put the flight attendant in her place.

12:40 PM  
OpenID pamelamunsell said...

This is what I've written & done:

To: Gillian Bentley
Media Relations
West Jet

I cannot believe that in the 21st Century any corporation would have a policy that would require a woman to be covered while breast feeding. I suggest, no I demand that after reading http://www.badladies.blogspot.com/ and the September 9, 2008 post that a public apology be written to her and this archaic policy be removed. I will be using my entire e-mail address to inform my people of this outrage and ask them to join me in boycotting West Jet until such apology and recanting of policy.

Pam Munsell

1:19 PM  
Blogger Winkin1 said...

HBM

Totally feel your pain. I never got more than looks, but frankly, I think you handled it with a becoming grace.

I became more and more comfortable BF my DD in public, and did so at airports, on airplanes, and at many-a-restaurant. I have to tell say also, I never could have used a blanket. I always had thought I would want to, but with breastfeeding, my always large breasts were darn near unmanageable. Holding baby and a bowling ball sized breast was always a two handed affair. How on earth is lady to adjust a blanket with one hand supporting the boob and one the baby? Am I supposed to let a stranger touch me/us rather than let another stranger see a half-moon sliver of booby? I don't think so. This mama's not using blankets and not letting strangers touch her booby (or baby) either.

2:20 PM  
Blogger Lisa b said...

oh no she didn't.

I will be writing them too. Westjet was on my very short list of Canadian Airlines that I enjoy flying with.
I will be writing Gillian and I cannot wait to hear their apology. I won't be impressed unless it includes a free return flight out west.

2:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll never fly WestJet. Too many stories just like this. I'll warn people, too.

Some women do feel more comfortable hiding under a blanket. I respect their (shame) modesty. I can't find a reason why people wouldn't just avert their eyes if breastfeeding was making them uncomfortable.

2:37 PM  
Anonymous How About said...

If anyone receives a response from West Jet, please post it here!

2:57 PM  
Anonymous Punk Rock Dad said...

May not mean a whole lot coming from a dude but I dont get the social aversion to nursing. Just another example of a socially programed response that needs to be done away with.

2:57 PM  
Blogger Goldfish said...

Today's the very first day I've ever read your blog. And I am also breastfeeding, and you are so very right that we are often at our most vulnerable. I am so very sorry, and can relate to every word that you said. Thanks for writing this.

3:12 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Did you have your pants on? Because if you were nursing naked from the waist down, I could understand the blanket. Try that next time. Go panty-less. That oughta' take the focus off of your nursing baby.

3:16 PM  
Blogger LinLos said...

I believe you had more impact on that stewardess and others on that flight than if you had any other response.

Thank you.

3:27 PM  
Blogger Jenica said...

Unfortunately we all express life in very different ways. Perhaps this woman was suggesting that you modify your behavior for the comfort of others, but maybe she saw a woman in tears, nursing, and truly thought she was being helpful, either based on her own experiences, or out of ignorance. Isn't it possible that she really thought she could be helpful, and didn't necessarily know how to respond when you seemed disinterested? Obviously you were there and may have had a better idea of her intent, but I also think it's possible that it was just a meeting of two different people with two very different life experiences, causing her to offer up the completely wrong thing and causing you to completely misinterpret her intent.

6:59 PM  
Anonymous Pamela-Atl. said...

At the risk of being the devils advocate...Maybe she felt a little sorry for you. Maybe seeing a new mother, in tears, made her want to do SOMETHING to help. I have never nursed a child, nor do I find it uncomfortable to see a mother nursing. It's natual, beautiful. Put in her place though, seeing you with a little baby, crying, my heart would go out to you. I might have done the same thing. Not meaning any harm but trying to lend a little sisterly aide. That's just my thoughts. My best to you and all of your family.

7:05 PM  
Anonymous Curious said...

I'm usually as lurker, and I'm sorry this situation upset you. I have to ask and maybe others can enlighten me-what's the big deal about covering up? Why is it SO not okay?

7:18 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Curious - there are two problems with covering up. 1) It's uncomfortable and awkward for the mother (who already needs about three hands just to hold and balance baby, get boob out and get baby onto boob - this is a trillion times more difficult if baby is squirming or fussing) - not to mention less than ideal in terms of comfort for baby. Would you want to eat with a blanket over your head? Some babies won't tolerate it at all.

2) It implies that there's something shameful about nursing, such that it needs to be hidden. It's like a boob burka - it suggests that what's underneath is too much for observers, not fit to be exposed. If I choose to cover up, because *I* feel uncomfortable exposing part of my breast, that's one thing. But for someone to tell me that I *should* do that, that's quite another thing. That's shaming.

7:25 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Pamela-Atl. - that's possible. But I was really, really tucked in with my crying - i just had tears running down my cheeks and my head was bent well over Jasper. Would have been hard to see - impossible to see - from the back of the plane. I'm not saying that the FA was evil - I assume that she was either following policy or just thought that covering up was best. Whatever the case, there really needs to be either a change in policy or some sensitivity training.

7:28 PM  
Blogger Haley-O said...

I've been nursing my rascal for almost a year now. A year of "ew"s and "uch"s from my own family. A year of "why don't you go in the back room where you'll have more privacy" and "he just spit up Haley's breast milk -- ew" (again from the family).

We're also most vulnerable hormonally. I find myself on the edge of tears all the time lately -- from the sheer exhaustion that comes with breastfeeding. And, if one more person gasps at how large my breasts are, I'm going to TOTALLY lose it.

A woman once yelled at me in synagogue for nursing. I was in a far corner. In the lobby.

I'm thinking of you. My heart goes out to you and your family. And, I'm sorry you had to experience what you did on the plane. I don't know about other babies but NEITHER of mine wanted to nurse under a BLANKET.

7:51 PM  
Anonymous Bec said...

Still no response from Worst Jet?

9:38 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Nope. No response.

10:04 PM  
Blogger 88*Keys said...

Well, the good stuff's already been said, but still ... on your behalf,

"FUCK YOUR BLANKET."

I like coming up to women who are nursing in public, making eye contact, and very quietly (so as not to disturb the baby) saying "Good for you." It's wonderful seeing their faces light up, since that's generally not what you hear when a 30-something-woman is bearing down on you when you have a baby at the breast. Oregon has good laws about it, but public tolerance still has a long way to go.

I am sorry that you had to suffer from it.

10:46 PM  
Blogger just beth said...

Total bullshit.

I have a La Leche League meeting tomorrow, and you bet your ass you'll get some more letters written.

I wrote one tonight and cc'd you.

I'm so sorry.

xo

b.

1:32 AM  
Blogger Bedlamite said...

I'd like to give a (possible) alternate explanation for what may have happened. Do you think the way you were hunched over your baby could have led to the incorrect assumption you were trying (uncomfortable as it may have been) to cover up? Is there any way you may have overreacted or misinterpreted the offer of a blanket? When I first read your post, that was my first thought...
I support a mother's right to nurse her child in public or in private on the damn moon if she wants, but can I get some clarification on everyone's own idea of what exactly breastfeeding in public means? I nursed all five of my children all over the place, in shopping malls, McDonald's, public washrooms/lounges, etc. I usually kept us covered loosely with at least a receiving blanket. There may have been the occasional (unintentional) flashing of booby here or there when the baby suddenly detached, but for the most part I think I was pretty discreet without being uncomfortable. I lifted my shirt up to nurse and pulled it down the second the baby was done.
I have seen women breastfeed who for some reason needed to expose both breasts at the same time while only nursing on one side, or who didn't cover up while burping the baby afterwards. That was a little weird to me, but unless it was somehow in my job description to monitor such behaviour I would never bother to voice my opinion.
I don't find that kind of exposure to be appropriate or something I personally would be comfortable with. I'll never forget nursing my 3rd baby in the back bedroom of my 86 year old grandfather's house, only because it was quieter and I thought she might fall asleep easier there. My grandfather actually kind of gave me shit because he thought I was too embarrassed to nurse in front of everyone and he told me I didn't have to hide that baby and could nurse her wherever I wanted! Go Grandpa!
One time in university I was nursing my child in one of the lounge type women's bathrooms. I only was in there because they had padded couch type furniture that I thought would be more comfortable for us both than the plastic chairs offered out in 'public'. I actually had a woman come up to me and praise me for not feeding my baby in public. I was annoyed that she felt the need to say that to me, but I was too young and inexperienced to speak up for my right to feed my baby wherever we happened to be.

1:42 AM  
Anonymous Vanessa said...

Add me to the list of the enraged, and I'm 21 and childless. Goodness sakes, when I have a baby, I want to be able to feed him or her wherever the heck I please, without worrying about whether or not someone doesn't like my rack. Too bad, son, its there for a purpose and the purpose isn't for you to oogle it.

I've sent an e-mail as well, and BCCed you, Catherine.

7:16 AM  
Anonymous Vanessa said...

OH! One more thing.

FOR EVERYONE WHO SUGGESTED THE SHIRT:

http://i35.tinypic.com/w9xor4.jpg


*giggles*

8:01 AM  
Anonymous Steph said...

I'm guessing you've already read about the other women on westJet:
http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2008/08/06/bc-breast-feeding-cover-up-west-jet-.html?ref=rss

8:39 AM  
Blogger facecat said...

Flashing a bare breast in public is called indecent exposure and if anyone other woman did it she'd be arrested. Why you and other breast feeding mothers think you are so special that the laws don't apply to you is beyond me. The attendant was kind & attempting to be understaning, you were not. No one wants to see your engorged, sagging, post-partum anatomy or your little 'bundly-o-joy' while he feeds. Cover up & grow up. You aren't entitled anymore than anyone else. You aren't the only person on this planet nor the only one having a bad day. And no, I am not against breast feeding - but I also don't want to see anyone doing it.

8:43 AM  
Blogger just beth said...

facecat, you are not only ignorant, but stupid and mean. Breastfeeding is nowhere near the same thing as flashing a boob, and if you were educated and or informed, you would know that. If you are so adamant about not wanting to see anyone 'doing it', then...um...DON'T LOOK. It is a woman's right to feed her baby, and your right to look away. I think you're the one who needs to grow up, sweetheart. You obviously have some issues.

Plus, 'engorged, sagging...'really? You expect to be taken seriously when you are just blatantly mean?

You should call your mother, I think you guys probably have some problems.

Catherine. This person is stupid, ignore them.

xo

b.

9:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh am I mad now! I wasn't going to write anything until I saw that last comment from "facecat." Well, let me respond to a few of your kind and oh-so-mature remarks. First, most countries, states, provinces, etc. in Western Civilization recognize a huge difference between flashing breasts (i.e. indecent exposure) and providing nourishment for a helpless individual (i.e. breast feeding). These governments recognize that nursing women actually are special and so there are laws PROTECTING THEIR RIGHTS. Second, if you do not want to see the direct results of bringing life into this world then I have a simple suggestion for you...DON'T LOOK. Turn your head, look away, distract yourself by gazing as something else. You never have to watch anyone breastfeed. Third, someone can see more actual "boobflesh" from media, modern clothing, and swimming suits than from a woman feeding her child. The nipple is IN the mouth; the surrounding "boobflesh" is blocked by a largish head. Low-cut shirts are more immodest. Next time you eat, I suggest you eat on a toliet or covered under a germ infested blanket so that the rest of us do not have to watch your rude mouth. Practice what you preach "Cover-up and grow-up."

Oh and HBM, I was never able to breastfeed but I will fight for your RIGHT and others to feed their children.

9:57 AM  
Blogger ChurchPunkMom said...

Bristling with anger...

10:23 AM  
Blogger LD said...

so so stupid. Consider the email already sent!

10:34 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Vanessa ROCKS!

10:52 AM  
Blogger Meryl said...

Woah there asshat--who gave you the right to speak for us all? "No one" wants to see Catherine breast feed? Really? Cause actually I think it's kind of encouraging to see a woman proudly breastfeeding, and I think there are over a hundred other commentors here who would agree.

10:53 AM  
Blogger zchamu said...

Actually, Facecat, you are wrong. It is not indecent exposure. Women are legally permitted to bare their breasts, at least in Ontario.

If you don't want to see someone breastfeeding, feel free to turn your head.

And don't be a douche, because nobody likes douches.

10:53 AM  
Blogger Noelle said...

Don't engage facecat. She is clueless and to argue point by point will not change her mind. Babies were meant to be fed. The way we are meant to feed them is by the breast. The rest is all other peoples cultural hangups.

10:53 AM  
Blogger Alli {Mrs. Fussypants} said...

Mah boobies have been exposed all up & down the East Coast for a decade, 5 boys and all, planes, trains and automobiles.


It's a natural God given function.

The fact that people may get uncomfortable astounds me.

The airline will hear from me, also.

11:01 AM  
Blogger Cagey said...

Catherine, you are not the first to have had issues with WestJet - check out this article. I was thinking of you when I read it.

Love,
Your Fellow Lactating Cow. Just call me Bessie (or "Kelli" would work just as well :-)

11:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man boobs highly offend me. Maybe next time I head to the beach I should bring a blanket with me.

11:17 AM  
Blogger Backpacking Dad said...

Facecat: flashing a breast indecently in public is called indecent exposure. Breastfeeding mothers don't get arrested for breastfeeding in public because we've collectively said "Oh yeah, it would be monumentally stupid to keep public breastfeeding illegal." It's not special treatment; it's respectful treatment. Because babies and their nutrition are more important than whatever psychological damage has been done to you by your upbringing. Way to piss on someone though. Congratulations.

Asshat.

12:40 PM  
Anonymous Vanessa said...

Methinks Facecat has some boobie issues. Wanna bet that you noshed on the titty as a youngin? And at the time, you probably didn't care that it was engorged, cause hello, that meant full of food for you. Fool.

Moving on.

I asked for a "read response" with my e-mail, and I got one this morning, so I know she's reading our letters. Any response yet?

1:11 PM  
Blogger Badness Jones said...

My son is 21 months old and still nursing. I never thought I'd be nursing a baby this long, but I have and I am, and it's right for us right now. Last week we stopped at a restaurant on the 401 halfway through a very long drive. After our meal I offered my son a quick nurse before getting back in the car. A family sitting across from us, parents and two teenaged daughters, picked up their meals and moved across the restaurant away from us. It was the first time in nursing two children that I've felt shunned and humiliated. I was shocked and hurt, and all my husband's assurances that it was their problem and not mine didn't help. I'm sorry for you, and for everyone else that has experienced similar. I hope that if we all keep nursing in public, by the time my daughter, and your daughter, have babies, nursing in public will be a non-issue, and they won't have to think twice.

1:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I nursed both of my kids for 2 years each, everywhere, anywhere, on many many long international flights, without a blanket. Facecat, if I had run into you or your kind at any point during this time, you would be getting an indecent exposure of my postpartum, stitched up, saggy white ass. And I would hope that that would damage and confuse your fragile little pysche more than it's already damaged/confused.

4:19 PM  
Anonymous Mz X said...

I have very little beef with the OP but the drama in the comments is astonishing. Would someone be so kind as to explain to me why it is ok, in fact, 'beautiful', to breastfeed a baby in public, but it is ok for you to insult women who wear low cut tops and hipster jeans? Why should the child free be any less proud of our beautiful bodies than you? There's a lot of OTT bullshit on both sides of an argument like this, and everyone needs to put their toys back in their pram and go for a nap. Self included. I'm going to go look at some funny pictures of cats, have a nice day.

6:30 PM  
OpenID GeekLady said...

I'd have squirted her. (Okay, not really. I'd have been severely tempted, though. I have a pretty good range.)

I WILL squirt Facecat, if I can track it down. The asshat.

11:14 PM  
Blogger Katrina said...

Mz x...the point is that boobs aren't sex objects, they are designed to feed babies. And boobs are beautiful in design and function. And no one is saying that childfree folks shouldn't be proud of showing their bodies but they are saying if a chick with her breasts half out of a low cut shirt isn't asked to cover up why should a breastfeeding mom be asked to cover up?

A lot of times more skin is shown in revealing clothing and definitely certain swimwear than by breastfeeding but no one is asking those in revealing clothing to put a blanket on their chest.

I also filled out an online complaint, as it's a crock of crap what happened.

11:48 PM  
Blogger To-Fu said...

Chorus joined:

Dear Ms. Bentley,

I wonder if you can clarify for me West Jet's policy on breastfeeding mothers. After having read a friend's post about a very negative experience while nursing in-flight, I'd like to be sure the same wouldn't happen to me while nursing my baby while on a West Jet flight.

It's a shame that this sort of thing still happens today to mothers who are simply trying to comfort and feed their babies. I hope to hear from you soon.

--MyNameHere
Breastfeeding Mom and Frequent Flyer

3:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

mz x: good point. but i draw the line at man boobs.

7:09 AM  
Blogger Katrina said...

I got a response:
Company Reply: Hello Katrina,

Thank you for taking the time to write to us with your concerns.

WestJet has a responsibility to act in the best interests of all guests on a flight. If a guest is engaged in an activity that makes others uncomfortable, or has the potential to make others uncomfortable, flight attendants have a responsibility to engage the guest in an effort to find a solution. Under the circumstances, we believe the solution proposed by our flight attendant was reasonable. WestJet supports a woman’s right to breastfeed. We also support the rights of all guests on our flights to have a safe and comfortable experience while in our care. If at any time we decide that a situation exists which has the potential to interfere with the comfort of our guests, we have a responsibility to address it.

WestJet does not have a policy on breastfeeding. We do not feel one is required because we fully support it. At no time was Ms. T asked to stop breastfeeding. We do not believe it is possible, or even desirable, to have a policy for every possible occurrence or situation that may arise. We believe and trust in our WestJetters, and empower them to make decisions based on common sense and good judgment. WestJet has responded to Ms. T’s complaint by apologizing if Ms. T felt the request to cover up was unwarranted. However, we believe the decision by our flight attendant was reasonable, and in the best interests of the other guests on the aircraft. Ms. T was never asked to stop breastfeeding her child. WestJet supports the right of every woman to feed her child, whether by bottle or breast.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact us. I hope we can look forward to welcoming you aboard a WestJet flight in the near future.

Sincerely,

Kristin
Specialist-Guest Relations
WestJet

10:01 AM  
Blogger canape said...

I'm late to the game here, but I wanted to leave you this link:
http://phdinparenting.wordpress.com/2008/09/03/tips-for-breastfeeding-on-a-plane/

Turns out in Canada, it doesn't matter squat what the attendant's intentions were. By law, she is not allowed to ask you to cover up.

From the article:
"It is (your) right to breastfeed (your) baby anywhere (you) wish without covering up. This right is protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms."

1:00 PM  
Anonymous Mz X said...

Katrina - the difference is nipples. It is an arbitrary difference and I have to admit I fail to understand society's obsession with 2 square inches of flesh, but, fact is, I can't wear a top cut below my nipples. I cannot hike my nipples out on a plane. Neither, to be fair, should a woman just because she has a baby. I am not saying the breasts should not be used for their intended purpose. There are tops you can get with a flap of over hanging cloth with a slit underneath, or you could wear a baggy top the baby can fit under, or you could use a blanket. Oh, and by the way: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/20638479/ IT'S NOT JUST MOMS OMG.

5:38 PM  
Anonymous Xa said...

Sent in a message to those kind, kind souls at the airline, thanking them for helping me save money by NEVER flying their airline.

Thank you for bringing attention to the situation, and I really hope things start looking up. Love, prayers, and a "you kick ass" is coming your way. Way to stand up for women!!!!

Rock on.

-Xa

3:46 AM  
OpenID phdinparenting said...

How awful. I can't believe this still happens.

Thanks to canape for linking to one of my posts on this issue. I actually have a whole series that I've written recently on breastfeeding on airplanes:

Breastfeeding on an Airplane: The Collection

11:15 PM  
Anonymous Dr. P. Rapoport said...

[Letter to WestJet]

RE: the two recently documented cases of WestJet staff "offering" a blanket to nursing mothers

--------

It seems that WestJet doesn't get it. Its flight attendants or other staff should not be harassing nursing mothers --- and that is what the attitude of WestJet is: harassment, however slight the matter may seem to you. These women have also been inconvenienced, insulted, angered, and hurt. Even if all the details I've read about Erin Tarbuck and Catherine Connors are not 100% accurate, they indicate that WestJet has a problem, both on board and in its corporate office.

I have read WestJet's standard form-letter response on this issue. It is contradictory and dishonest. WestJet does not actually support breastfeeding. It supports harassing breastfeeders and telling them how to behave, for spurious reasons. WestJet is acting no better than someone telling blacks they have the right to walk down the street but not THIS street --- because, you know, someone somewhere might be uncomfortable at the mere thought of it.

WestJet cannot and must not continue to pretend that it is protecting the interests of passengers when it is protecting only the prejudice of its staff. Human Rights legislation, which has the force of law, has established that women have the right to nurse just about anywhere in just about any manner they deem fit. It is not allowed that WestJet tell them otherwise, directly or indirectly.

The demeaning acts of WestJet staff that I have read of in these two cases, if not eventually thoroughly denied in every detail by WestJet, are grounds for significant action against the airline, as you probably know.

Other commercial enterprises have seen their errors in this subject when they have been pointed out to them. It is time for WestJet to issue an unconditional public apology to these women and to undertake a short but serious training program with all its employees about breastfeeding, principally how to leave breastfeeding mothers alone.

In the extremely unlikely event that another passenger complains, the person to be addressed is that passenger, not the mother. If you wish to know how that might be done, I will elaborate further.

Kindly do not send me WestJet's standard response, which I have indicated I have already read. I ask that you pass this message on to someone who will act properly on it. This is not a public relations exercise for WestJet but a public health and human rights matter of wide significance.

--
Dr. Paul Rapoport
McMaster University
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton ON L8S 4M2
Canada

12:43 PM  
Anonymous Shannon said...

Gillian Bentley
Media Relations

I know you must have received many email letters already about this issue. I am just wondering why, or even if, it is part of your inflight policies and procedures to require nursing mothers to be concealed from the view of other passengers. Breast feeding is somthing that is encouraged in both Canada and the United States and should be supported by everyone. Or, at the very least, left be by those who disagree, or obviously do not understand what its all about.

Please tell me what the collective opinion of Westjet is on this matter. I know that Westjet is a good company, and I know that many of the people who currently fly Westjet are parents, and mothers, and even babies. Babies need to eat, and if they can not be fed fairly inflight, maybe those parents and mothers, and even babies wont be flying westjet in the future.

Thank you

4:09 PM  
Anonymous Shannon said...

Oops, I had meant to add, thats what I emailed to her just now. I dont expect her to reply, but just take notice.

Take care!!

4:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why all the drama? Some people don't want to see in-flight boobs. Boobs are private, I don't really want to see yours and I don't know why everyone here is so intensely upset that your rights were violated. Is it desperately uncomfortable to pull a blanket or shirt over your boobs?

I think I should go anonymous here so I don't get 150+ emails telling me that I'm an horrible person for not wanting to see boobs.

11:08 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Anonymous: Yes, it can be uncomfortable, for both mother and baby. Some babies (my own, for example) refuse to have their heads covered while nursing (can you blame them? would you want your head covered?) Especially with bigger and or squirmier babies, it takes both hands just to hang on to baby and try to keep him at the breast to avoid full exposure, never mind trying to pull on and keep on some sort of covering device. Isn't it simply easier for someone who doesn't want to see a sliver of boob to just look away?

If we demanded that everything that made us uncomfortable should be covered up with blankets, we'd soon live in a very swaddled world.

11:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe the flight attendant thought you were trying to hide - from the way you described:

"I bent my head over his, shielding my face, my breast, my baby, my tears from view with the veil of my hair. I didn't even look up when she spoke to me."

It sounds to me like the flight attendant saw a woman who appeared uncomfortable and just wanted to help by offering a blanket for security and comfort. It sounds like the flight attendant was just trying to be nice and accomodating.

12:21 PM  
Anonymous butterfly said...

This is the message I sent:

Dear Ms. Bentley,

Please advise the policy of the airline you work for regarding in-flight nursing. As a nursing mother who must fly places, I would like to know that I can feed my son while on the plane. My son refuses to eat while covered under a blanket, and I think it's disgusting to feed him in the bathroom. If my son doesn't eat, he will scream, because he is hungry. He likes to eat, every day, just like the rest of us. The source of his food happens to come from my breasts, as this is the healthiest possible choice for all babies (as has been proven by years and years of research). As I understand it from this website, http://badladies.blogspot.com/2008/09/under-blanket.html, one of your representatives asked a nursing mother to cover up while breastfeeding. I want to make sure that you take the time to educate your staff regarding the fact that human breasts were made for producing milk to feed human babies, not for sexual activity or for uneducated staff to ask to cover up during the production of human milk.

- Butterfly


www.reasonsyoushouldntfuckkids.wordpress.com

2:50 PM  
Blogger apathetic bliss said...

This is ridiculous!!!! I am always naively surprised that this ignorance is still so prevalent. I am sorry that you had to deal with this. You are right though, nursing moms are already emotionally vulnerable and then BAM hit with some first-class ignorance. I will be emailing Westjet asap.

12:44 PM  
Blogger that chick said...

westjet have been fuckers about breastfeeding lately. i'm not flying with them any more until they resolve the breastfeeding issue. which sucks, since air canada doesn't fly directly to my normal destination. still, assholes can't be allowed to stay assholes.

4:03 PM  
Anonymous Gillian Bentley said...

There’s been some discussion in the blogosphere about WestJet’s interaction with a guest who breastfed her child on a flight in July. We’ve also received positive and negative e-mails with respect to our flight attendant’s offer of a blanket to this guest, which created a situation for which we apologized a month ago. This act was done by the flight attendant as a gesture of good customer service.

Today, we’re posting to share what we’re doing for mothers who nurse on our flights. Please feel free to pass the word.

We are sending out communication to remind all of our front line WestJetters that when and where to breastfeed is a mother’s personal choice and right. If another guest indicates they are uncomfortable with the situation, that guest will be offered a seat elsewhere on the aircraft, provided there is space available. A nursing mother will not be asked to cover up, nor will she be moved unless she requests it.

WestJet has always supported a mother’s right to breastfeed her child, whether in our boarding lounges or on our flights. For us, the guest experience is everything. Hopefully, in addressing this matter with further guidance to our flight and airport crews, we can avoid any misunderstandings in the future.

Gillian Bentley
WestJet

6:12 PM  
Anonymous Vanessa said...

Just in case anyone is wondering if the comment from Gillian is legit, it is. I received this e-mail, directly from her (rather than from a lackey)

Thank you for your email. We have posted our response at: http://badladies.blogspot.com/2008/09/under-blanket.html

Gillian Bentley Media and Public Relations Coordinator WestJet 5055 11th Street NE Calgary, AB. T2E 8N4. Ph: (403) 444.2615 Toll Free: 1-888-WJ 4 NEWS (1.888.954.6397)Fax: (403) 444.2261 gbentley@westjet.com www.westjet.com

In conclusion:

WIN FOR THE MOMMIES.

6:40 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

It *would* be a win, were it not for the fact that WestJet has confused my case with one that happened in July - and not responded to my direct communication at all. It seems that they didn't read your mails or posts or my post - or my mail to them - carefully enough to realize that this was an entirely separate incident.

I do appreciate the amendment of their policy, but I'd like some direct acknowledgment of *my* complaint.

7:04 PM  
Blogger SUEB0B said...

While I am glad they finally responded, I think this is extremely lame and late example of public relations, though. It is buried where most people will never see it. I am wondering how Gillian keeps her job.

7:04 PM  
OpenID blissfullycaffeinated said...

I received the same email.

7:19 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Seriously, her comment refers to a completely different incident. No-one apologized to me. My original customer complaint received the same generic SEE POST HERE mail. No acknowledgment of what happened to me.

I think that I'm even more pissed off than I was.

7:24 PM  
OpenID blissfullycaffeinated said...

My response to the generic email:

Ms. Bentley,

While I appreciate your response, I would like to point out that the case in July that you refer to is not the incident that I have contacted you about, which took place this month. If you had actually trained your employees in the way that you say you have in the comment posted at Her Bad Mother, then Catherine would never have been harassed by the flight attendant in the way that she was.

I respectfully suggest that you re-read the emails and blog posts that you say you are responding to and address the actual incident in question.

Regards and blah blah blah.

7:26 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

I just got the same copy 'n pasted email that sent me back here to read Gillian's comment.

It's not adding up....she is confused.

> Thank you for your email. We have posted our response at:
> http://badladies.blogspot.com/2008/09/under-blanket.html
>
>
>
> Gillian Bentley
> Media and Public Relations Coordinator
> WestJet
> 5055 11th Street NE
> Calgary, AB. T2E 8N4.
>
> Ph: (403) 444.2615
> Toll Free: 1-888-WJ 4 NEWS (1.888.954.6397)
> Fax: (403) 444.2261
> gbentley@westjet.com
> www.westjet.com

8:34 PM  
Blogger Shannon said...

Andy my response to the generic email:

Dear Ms. Bentley,

I appreciate your reply. However, this incident just happened within the last month. This is not the July incident. And the woman who was pushed to cover up, has not received any personal communication at all. That would be Catherine - whose blog you posted on. Your response will probably be better received if you contact her directly.

8:39 PM  
Blogger Jeffrey said...

Hi, we're West Jet. We can't figure out how the internets work, but you should totally trust us to fly planes. Feel free to pass the word, and enjoy the upcoming Victoria Day weekend.

9:17 PM  
Blogger Millicent said...

Just got the same generic email. I also just sent back an email expressing what a pathetic attempt at customer service it was. Hopefully someone there actually DOES their job and sorts this out once and for all.

10:34 PM  
Anonymous Vanessa said...

I told them off like only an academic can. Ha!

Ms Bentley,

While I appreciate finally receiving a response, form letter though it may be, I would like to inform you, and your public relations department, that the people who have sent you letters about this incident, myself included, are all aware that you have not taken the time to read any of the letters you are receiving.

Should you have taken the time to read the letters, you would have noticed two important things. One, that the incident did not occur in July. Two, that the woman in question is not Erin Tarbuck. The blog where you posted the comment that your generic e-mail linked us all to belongs to a woman named Catherine Connors, who as of today, September 25, 2008, has received no personal correspondance or apology from your company, even after communicating directly with you herself.

WestJet's handling of this complaint has made your public relations go from bad to worse. First, a staffer harasses a nursing mother, even though she has a legal right to nurse AND another mother had made a complaint a month before. Secondly, you fail to read quite literally hundreds of
e-mails about a completely seperate incident in which WestJet again violated a mother's rights. Now thirdly, you are apologizing via a comment on a blog which refers to the wrong person and wrong incident.

By any standards, this is a public relations nightmare, and you, madam, as a "Media and Public Relations Coordinator" should know better than to respond to a complaint of this nature by a comment on a blog. Mrs Connors' e-mail is herbadmother@gmail.com. I suggest you start there.

Sincerely,

Moi


We've got a win for the mommies on policy. Now HBM deserves acknowledgement.

10:45 PM  
Blogger Mommer said...

LMAO at Jeffrey and "you should totally trust us to fly planes."

And add me to the Bemused and Now Even Madder Club.

11:45 PM  
Anonymous Shawna said...

Yep, same generic response from WestJet here and I returned one of a similar sentiment to those expressed already - that they got the idea right but the person and month wrong, etc. I think we should make up a generic response and all send that exact one back. Any takers or votes for responses already posted? Mine's not clever enough to be in the running.

8:57 AM  
Blogger Niksmom said...

Seems to me it's time to contact the reporter who interviewed you for the television piece recently. I'm sure they'd be all over this!

9:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm unconfortable with women covering their heads with a hijab, but you will never see me ask them to remove it ! Westjet, shame on you. Give women respect !

11:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why on earth can't you cover up? I guess now that you've reproduced you don't feel a need to have any consideration for other people because you're so special. You want respect--how about giving some to other people? But of course not. Putting a blanket over yourself is simply too much trouble. You DO need to cover it up. What about the people sitting next to you, or across the aisle? If you want to breastfeed, fine. But do have just a slight bit of consideration for others and be discreet or cover up. It's really not that difficult. You were just looking for a fight and you know it.

10:21 AM  
Blogger *The Young Mother* said...

Dear Anonymous,
Why the hell should any mother have to cover up. And for your information, yes, now that I (as well as other mothers) have "reproduced" it IS within my right to feed my child whenever I feel is nessecary. My breasts are MADE for feeding my children. There's no reason to make my child uncomfortable, under a hot stuffy blanket, because you can't be adult enough to accept that breasts are a natural thing. You have a problem with it, its a simple solution, stop looking! I am not about to make my baby uncomfortable because YOU have body issues. Get over it.

11:32 AM  
Blogger Bellamomma said...

Dear Anonymous:

Thank you SO. MUCH. for not coming to my zoo this weekend, where I was seen breastfeeding my infant in front of the zebra exhibit. It was the most remote & quiet place in the park, and also one of the few places with a bench in the shade. Since my 3 month old cannot stand to have her head covered, several people were witness to her feeding. Every single one of them noted the activity, saw me staring back at them & looked away. A few of the moms smiled & nodded in understanding. No one was scared for life & no one had to look if they didn't want to. I wasn't looking for a fight, but I was prepared to defend myself if the moment came. To be frank, I was praying that no one would say anything, but I refused to look away in shame because I was doing nothing wrong.

Oh, and please don't suggest that I feed my child in the bathroom. I barely want to urinate in public restrooms, why should I expect my child to eat in one?

12:16 PM  
Blogger m said...

I'm very surprised by this. I have flown close to 20 round trip flights with WestJet in the last three years, each time breastfeeding and I've *never* had a problem. I have found them to be the most child/parent-friendly airline I've ever flown. In fact, I've often been given knowing smiles by the attendants as they've walked by while I'm nursing. Perhaps it was the route you were on? Either way, it makes me sad.

12:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I sent a letter to WestJet applauding the flight attendants actions. Cover up or bring a bottle. Some people are offended by exposure and it is entirely to easy to cover up or bring a bottle.

12:52 PM  
Blogger Angela said...

I'm sorry, but I'll just choose to laugh at these anonymous commenters here. "cover up or bring a bottle" LOL. Obviously someone who hasn't been a parent yet.

Guess what, come back after you've had a child. It's amazing the perspective you'll gain when you realize a baby just isn't the same thing as a doll. They're not all willing to be covered up or bottle fed.

Would you really rather we just let them scream on the plane? Would that make you more comfortable?

1:04 PM  
Blogger bob said...

Your and your baby's right to feed in a way that best serves you? What kind of nonsense is that? Your rights end where the next person's nose begins. You weren't in your house. You were in an aircraft belonging to a private company. You were on another's PRIVATE property. If they want to ask you to cover up - thats the perogative. You wouldn't say I have the RIGHT to come over to your house and have sex with my wife in your living room, would you? The flight attendant made a very simple, polite request that would have allowed you to continue feeding in peace. Your disproportionate response to her polite request is not only unwarranted but childish. You may think that those offended by public breastfeeding are silly (and I'd largely agree) but your childish response to the flight attendant's request is just as bad, if not worse.

1:12 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Ah, Bob. That PRIVATE aircraft is still governed by Canadian law, which states that I have the right to breastfeed wherever I please. You know why? Because my child's right to nourishment trumps your right to not be bothered by the sight of a woman breastfeeding.

And I was childish to respond by...not responding? Or by writing about it?

*SIGH*

1:35 PM  
Anonymous Jen Maier said...

I'm sorry but sex in someone else's living room could not be further from feeding your baby. Wtf?!

1:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Bob,

Have you ever visited a strip club, or viewed Playboy magazine, or watched any movie/television show featuring nudity, or admired the beauty of the female figure in any of the numerous famous paintings? If so, you've certainly seen much more exposed breast than can be seen in a glance of a feeding. Get over yourself and the thought that breasts are to be kept covered until men such as yourself desire for them to be shown. The intention is to nourish our young and if doing so makes you uncomfortable, WHO CARES!

1:53 PM  
Anonymous Shannon said...

I never breastfed my child in public because I wasn't comfortable. However I fully support other mother's rights to do that. I figure when I have my 2nd child there will be some public breastfeeding happening and I will stand up for my rights and my baby's if I have to. Breastfeeding in public is 100% legal in my state as it should be.

Breasts were made to feed babies. How in the world do you think babies were fed before formula was created?!?! The haters on here need to move on.

2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anyone who does not have a baby, let alone a VAGINA, should stay far away from this issue. you do not by any means have the right to decide the rights of others. this is what we call a tyranny of the majority. if the majority decided the rights of the minority, well... oh wait in america the majority DOES decide the rights of the minority. hello, prop 8? i assume all you anti-breast-feeding people are also pro-lifers? i hope one day you have YOUR rights taken away by someone who is completely removed from your situation. the fact that a man has an opinion about this disgusts me.

hey bob, fuck you.

2:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Peeing is natural too. Maybe I should just whip it out a pee in a bottle. I mean, that's what it was made to do and no one wants me to to be in pain or discomfort. Oh wait... they have provisions for using the restroom that is blocked from the the eyes of those who don't want to see me in action. I wonder if there are any simple provisions available for breast feeding as well... just a thought.

Oh, by the way, I'm a parent that doesn't mind breastfeeding in public. I just don't see full exposure as a right. If one person near by would rather not see it, I think it is only proper to make different arrangements.

This goes for most any subject, not just breastfeeding.

2:44 PM  
Blogger J said...

Comparing feeding a child in public to having sex in someone else's living room. Wow...just the fact that you said that, Bob, shows that you don't get it. Breasts are for feeding. Just because they have been turned into sexual objects by society does not change that fact. The penis is made for multiple purposes, one of which IS sexual. THAT is the difference.
And, it's already been said, but some babies will not eat while covered up or from a bottle. Something tells me that if faced with a screaming baby or a quiet baby the passengers and crew of any aircraft would pick the quiet baby even if it meant the mother of that baby had to breastfeed uncovered in order to achieve such quiet. In this case, Catherine didn't let it get to that point before feeding her hungry child.

2:50 PM  
OpenID verybadcat said...

Bob's ugly heart and soul offend me. Can we get Bob a blanket to hide under? Please?

Oh, and Bob? I want you to find someone who is treated poorly in a retail store because they are black or brown, or look poor, or are young, and stands up for themselves. When you find that brave soul, say this to them:
"Your disproportionate response to her polite request is not only unwarranted but childish."

See, that way? Bob? You'll get your eye teeth knocked out, and I won't even have to break a nail!

3:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All those supporting this woman insist the issue is "breast-feeding in public." If that were the issue, the woman would have accepted the blanket. The real issue is that you all insist you should be able to breast-feed in public UNCOVERED and you know it. The uncovered woman is mad about "what happened to her." She must grow up and admit that she "happens" to a lot of other people; especially to those who correctly identify the issue as being a CHOICE of public nudity. She CHOOSES to breast-feed UNCOVERED in PUBLIC. She believes this is her "right." She believes her "rights" should be exercised at the expense of the rights of others when she has a CHOICE to bottle-feed, or breast-feed UNCOVERED in private in the women's room. She clearly wants to breast-feed UNCOVERED in PUBLIC knowing she is "happening" to others who view this as indecent exposure.

3:37 PM  
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