With your help, I would love to set up a breastfeeding informational table near the Similac area that day. This will be similar to the events being organized in other cities around the country, such as one in the Atlanta area. For those who don't have access to breastfeeding, here is the text (with the location changed to a store in Jacksonville):
Wal-Mart Breastfeeding Awareness Day and Nurse Out!
11900 ATLANTIC BLVD, JACKSONVILLE, FL, 32225
All Things Baby
Get Samples and More Feb. 3 at Participating Stores
Saturday, February 03, 2007
10:00:00 AM - 4:00:00 PM
Why Are We Organizing This Event?
As part of their "All Things Baby" week, Wal-Marts and Wal-Mart Supercenters across the country are offering seminars on infant care and nutrition. Unfortunately, the nutrition/feeding seminar is being sponsored by Similac. Similac representatives will distribute formula samples and pamphlets on infant feeding that offer formula as the only possibility. No mention of breastfeeding is made in these pamphlets. Similac and other formula manufacturers routinely target already at-risk groups, such as low-income mothers, presenting breastfeeding as difficult and formula use as normal. Formula use causes an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, allergies, cancer and other lifelong health problems in children.
What is Our Goal?
Adopt A Mom, a volunteer mother-to-mother breastfeeding support organization on LiveJournal, is holding a Breastfeeding Awareness Day and Nurse Out at the Powder Springs Wal-Mart Supercenter (near Atlanta, GA) to help counter the misinformation from Similac. We have permission from Wal-Mart to set up a table in their baby department and distribute information there and throughout the store. Our goal is to provide mothers with accurate, accessible breastfeeding information that addresses their needs and concerns. We will also provide information on applying for WIC, on joining the La Leche League, on contacting an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) for breastfeeding help, and on getting involved with the Adopt A Mom volunteer mentoring program as a mentor or a mentee.
Breastfeeding Awareness Day and Nurse Out volunteers will provide information to mothers in three ways:
1. Staffing the informational table, providing packets of breastfeeding information and answering questions. These packets will include information on breastfeeding basics, tips for success, reasons to breastfeed, and more! Contact sheets for local La Leche League chapters and IBCLCs will also be available. WIC breastfeeding peer counselors will provide information on signing up WIC's breastfeeding program and seeking help from WIC breastfeeding peer counselors.
2. Handing out fliers, both inside the store and out. These fliers will be simple, eye-catching, and provide breastfeeding information in a quick, relevant, easy-to-understand format. These volunteers can also answer questions about breastfeeding and refer interested people to our table in the baby department.
3. Nursing Out! Bring your breastfeeding baby and nurse him/her around the store. Many of the women attending these seminars have never seen a baby nursed in real life. They may view it as difficult or uncomfortable, or have the misconception that breastfeeding ties mothers down or even that nursing in public is illegal! By nursing your baby throughout the store, you can provide positive images of breastfeeding as normal and natural.
Are you a current or former breastfeeding mother? Do you plan to breastfeed your children? Are you simply concerned about unethical formula advertising? You can make a positive difference through educating and connecting with other mothers in your community. Come out for the day to volunteer!
This is NOT a protest, rally, or Nurse In. For information on the difference between an Nurse In and a Nurse Out, please read ProMom's article on the topic.
Leave your banners and chants at home; bring your happy babies and positive attitudes! Our intended purpose is to raise breastfeeding awareness, provide breastfeeding education, and counter the misinformation Similac will be spreading in their pro-formula seminar. Rational, professional behavior furthers our cause; extreme, emotional behavior only undercuts it. Harassing store employees, Similac representatives, or Wal-Mart customers will not be tolerated, nor will blocking customers from entering the store. We all get frustrated, but acting on that frustration only makes breastfeeding mothers look like the crazy, unnatural fringe-element.
Why is this event important to me? After having the incredible bond that I do with both my children and seeing local breastfeeding statistics such as those on this site, I can't help but become emotional and feel the need to educate those that don't know how powerful and important breastfeeding truly is. I do know that some of you despise Wal-Mart as a corporation, and while I respect that, I'd still very much like all of your help with throwing this together if you're willing and able. We've got a mere week, but I know that we can do it. Oh, and I'm choosing the Wal-Mart listed (at Atlantic & Kernan) for this effort, because it is within about a 10-15 minute drive from several of us. Please let me know if you'd like to help out
If you know of anyone else who may be interested, by all means, share this information! And please, offer me any thoughts, comments, or suggestions you may have as well. :-)