Call for a nurse-in and a boycott!

You read my blog, presumably because you like (most of) what I have to say.  I don’t always address you directly, but that’s because I treat this blog more like an online diary.  I know you’re out there, and I appreciate your readership.

Now I’m going to ask you to help me out.

You all (should) know that I breastfeed my children.  My boys are uncircumcised.  All the kids wear cloth diapers, many handmade by me.  They have all slept in our bed with us.  We eat organic & free range wherever we can.  We support local ventures whenever possible.  I fight the fights worth fighting (and some that aren’t, but I’m not afraid of confrontation), and this is a fight worth fighting.

I want you to join me (or just come and support me) in a nurse-in at Safeway grocery store here in Fairbanks, Alaska, located at Airport Way & University Drive.  It’ll be Friday, August 6th, 2010, at a time yet to be determined.  I want it to be at a time convenient for enough people to show up.  Here’s why.

They told me to stop nursing my baby and leave.  I’m sure y’all know I didn’t comply with this “request.”

Here’s the story:  My newborn son started crying at approximately 7:25 pm on August 1, 2010. I figured that he was in need of a diaper & sent my husband to the truck to get one.  While my husband was outside, I remained inside with our 3-year-old son, our 16-month-old daughter, and our newborn.  My newborn started his hungry cry, so I sat down at a stool next to the Starbucks coffee stand and began nursing him while our other two children sat in the kiddie car portion of a grocery cart in front of me.  My husband returned from the truck, ordered a coffee, and came back to stand next to us.  It was at that point that the shift manager approached me and said while pointing at my chest, “You can’t be doing that.  You’ll have to leave.” I said, “I won’t do any such thing.  I’m protected by Alaska state law.”  Some woman I couldn’t see said, “Yeah right, like it’s protected for you to just be indecent in public.”  My husband said, “If you want, you can call the state troopers.”  The unidentified woman said she would.  This was about 7:30 pm.  No such call appears to have been made as I continued to sit there nursing for another ten minutes and the Alaska state troopers never came in.  When my son finished nursing, we left the store without making any further purchases.  [An employee in the parking lot collecting grocery carts told me he believes the shift manager’s name to be Josh.  “Josh” is in his late 20s to mid 30s, is Caucasian, has dark hair, wears glasses, stands roughly 5’8 to 6′, and is heavy-set.]

There is nothing indecent about breastfeeding. My body grew a tiny, perfect human being (three times, at that).  Now that my child lives outside of me, my body continues to provide him with sustenance.  Without my body, he has no nourishment or comfort.  My body has done amazing and beautiful things.  My body is useful for so much more than sex.  My body feeds my baby (and occasionally a thirsty or upset toddler).  Breastmilk gives my children so many more benefits than formula-feeding.  Learning their cues also means that I am more in tune with their needs and personalities, in turn letting me become a better parent.  I will not let my child cry it out when I have the ability to calm him and meet his needs by breastfeeding.  I will not let some ignorant jackass stop my child from eating, wherever the fuck I am.  If I am breastfeeding, I am protected by Alaska state law, anywhere I go that I’m allowed to be.  I should be protected anywhere I ever go in any state, but some places haven’t caught up with what should be yet.  You can help raise breastfeeding rights awareness.

Alaska is among 44 states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands, in that it has laws with language specifically allowing women to breastfeed in any public or private location.

Alaska is among 28 states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands, in that breastfeeding is exempt from public indecency laws.

AS 29.25.080. Breast-Feeding.

A municipality may not enact an ordinance that prohibits or restricts a woman breast-feeding a child in a public or private location where the woman and child are otherwise authorized to be. In a municipal ordinance, “lewd conduct,” “lewd touching,” “immoral conduct,” “indecent conduct,” and similar terms do not include the act of a woman breast-feeding a child in a public or private location where the woman and child are otherwise authorized to be. Nothing in this section may be construed to authorize an act that is an offense under a municipal ordinance that establishes an offense with elements substantially equivalent to the elements of an offense under AS 11.61.123 (indecent viewing & photography). This section is applicable to home rule and general law municipalities.

AS 01.10.060. Definitions.

(b) In the laws of the state, “lewd conduct,” “lewd touching,” “immoral conduct,” “indecent conduct,” and similar terms do not include the act of a woman breast-feeding a child in a public or private location where the woman and child are otherwise authorized to be. Nothing in this subsection may be construed to authorize an act that is an offense under AS 11.61.123 (indecent viewing & photography) .

So here’s what I ask of you —

NURSE-IN:  Join me in Safeway at University & Airport this Friday, August 6th, 2010, to nurse your baby in public.  Leave a comment below or email me at and tell me what time is best for you.  I want to set this up so that as many people as possible can participate.  Get the word out!  Also,

BOYCOTT:  After the nurse-in, let your voice be heard with your dollars!  Boycott Safeway!  Get the word out!

Please, pass this along.

What a way to ring in World Breastfeeding Week.

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  1. I am so sorry your were harassed that way!!
    Good luck with your nurse-in! Definitely adding them to my boycott list!

  2. Go, Crystal! If I were anywhere close I’d be there with you. Sorry that my breastfeeding days wre over almost two decades ago, but this is a cause near and dear to my heart. Love ya.

  3. Brava Crystal!! I’m so sorry you had that happen to you. I’m not nursing anymore, but if I were in Alaska I’d come and bring drinks and snacks for the nursing mamas!
    Blessings to you and your beautiful family.

  4. How awful! I’ll nurse here in Anchorage for you. Let us know when.

  5. I’m sorry. Good Luck with your nurse in! I hope you get lots of nursing mommas and other there to support you!

  6. Heather Currey

    Thank you for standing up for your rights and your child, I appreciate you making Fairbanks a better place to raise a family,

    Much Thanks


  7. I am so proud of you for staying. I have 4 beautiful children that were all nursed in public all over the Fairbanks area. You have my support and prayers during your nurse- in.

  8. You go, Crystal! I’m a guy, but I’ve always believed in a woman’s right to breast-feed in public- not because I have a boob or lactation fetish, but because it is natural and beautiful. I was breastfed until I was almost three. That’s why I am smarter than most formula fed men and why I have a healthy respect and fondness for lactating breasts (but not in a sexual or perverse way).
    I stand behind you ladies asserting your rights. Tomorrow at Safeway, I’ll be standing in front of you as a show of support.

  9. I fel breastfeeding in public is a good thing, if you do it right. I breastfeed alos, but I ALWAYS cover myself. Other peoples husbands do NOT need to see our breasts just because we want to feed our children. If I dont have a cover with me, I go out to my car, feed, and then finish what I was doing. Breastfeeding in public is a great right to have, but you need to be tasteful.

  10. “Tasteful” is one of those lovely words whose definition is ENTIRELY subjective. Luckily for my kids, I’ve nursed them whenever and wherever they’ve been hungry, regardless of the subjective definitions of those around me.

  11. so you feel like everybody elses husbands and children need to see your bare breast? cover up if your in public. its not that hard. respect the people around you while your taking care of your children. my husband does NOT need to see that. do it under your shirt, or use a thin blanket to put over you.

  12. And you reveal yourself as part of why I’m doing this. I’ll say it again — THERE IS NOTHING INDECENT ABOUT BREASTFEEDING. Eat with a blanket over YOUR head.

  13. ok, i will just walk up to your husband and pull my breasts out. im nursing so I guess its ok

  14. crystal, you are welcome to come over to my house and, in front of my husband and sons, take off your shirt entirely if it will help you feel your baby better

    just be careful, one of them may dive in for a drink.

    i think that anyone that thinks their husbands have never seen anyone’s breasts except their own lives in a fantasy land.

  15. laura, i never said my husband has never seen anybody elses, im not the only person hes ever been with in his life. but since we’ve been married, other than in movies, he hasnt. and he doesnt need to. Im a very reserved person. I do absolutely enjoy breastfeeding my daughter. Its been the greatest experience. but we all have different views.

  16. I dont want you to think im totally against this. I agree that it was not right for that person to tell you to get out. if I didnt have any way to cover myself, I would do it too. but heres the other hing, you have more kids than me, and have breastfed them all. so you have way more experience. Im a first time breastfeeder because my son refused. so im still trying to get it down. and it gets difficult. it takes longer to get my daughter on then most babies, so people would get more of a free show

  17. Kristi from FM

    I’ve never seen Crystal nurse, but for most women, no one can see anything while they’re nursing. It’s a rarity that I see a woman completely dump her breasts out of her shirt to breastfeed. More often than not, it is only the top or bottom of the breast that is out of the bra and is generally completely obscured by the baby and/or the mother’s clothing. I’d be willing to bet Crystal was nursing in just that way and the idea that someone would call her indecent, is absurd.

  18. mandie – how about telling your husband to stop looking.
    and by the way next time you eat i’d like you to throw a blanket over YOUR head so i don’t have to worry about my children seeing it.

  19. So mandie it’s ok for your husband to see breasts in movies? why becasue they aren’t real breasts? how many of those breasts were breast feeding in those movies?

    Crystal you have my support (my sister will be there)! Breast feeding is a blessing from God and so are our bodies. Though I am a believer of modesty I believe breast feeding is a miracle and not a modesty issue!

  20. This sort of bigoted and puritanical behavior has raised it’s ugly head in the past in my own life. I was much younger (my kids are all in their teens now) and my 20-something response was to cry out in disgust ‘How Unnatural!” when seeing a mother take out a bottle… I was a bit more irreverent and a bit more anti-social at that age though.

    Seriously, I agree that something needs to be done to show support for your right to (and EVERY woman’s right) to feed their children when they need to.

    The only problem that arises is those foul females that use those rights to abuse the people around them. I don’t believe you need to cover up when you breastfeed any more then I think toddlers need to be clothed all the time in the hotter summer months. (also helped in potty training) but I caught a HUGE amount of crap allowing my kids at their respective ages of two and three to run around sans diaper on a regular basis. Of course, I didn’t do it in the store, or risk my friends and families carpets without their express condition, but I did do it.

    I must submit this postulation however, was it the managers issue or Safeway that you were discriminated against. I don’t believe I have ever heard of a no-breastfeeding policy in Safeway. You may just be the victim of one mans prudery and one woman’s fractiousness.

    You have my support, if my boss was okay with it, I would be there with you.

    Breastfeeding is a special gift that many do not take advantage of.


  21. just so you know, my husband and I stay away from movies with any nudity in them. in the years we have been together, we have watched very few movies with nudity. I dont believe its ok at all for that to be shown. covering up in public is respecting the people around you. some people dont want their kids seeing it. some people dont want their husbands seeing it. its not that hard to put a thin sheet over yourself so others who are more reserved and respectful dont have to see it. I am a breatfeeding mother. but I always cover up in public to respect the people around me. or I pump and put it in a bottle. My husband doesnt sit there and stare at other girls breasts. but when they are flopping out in public, its kind of hard to miss. public breastfeeding is a right we were given, how about we dont abuse it to the point we can no longer do it. Its almost like some of you are using it as an excuse to show yourselves off in public.

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