Cincinnati Reds COO Phil Castellini heard from female fans that they wanted a place to breastfeed their children while at the baseball game. The father of five thought that made a lot of sense, so he had a suite built in the Great American Ballpark for women to have a more private space to breastfeed their infants. There’s also room for women who want to bottle feed their children, diaper changing stations, and other amenities.
The site, built by local home builder Fischer Homes and sponsored by Pampers, which is owned by Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble, will have five gliders that will give the female fan the comfort of home while at the ballpark.
The space can be used for breast- or bottle-feeding and diaper changing. Areas include private restrooms, a kitchenette, refrigerator and lockers to store items during the game.
“We’ll also have flat screen TVs so that they won’t miss the game, and there will be toys to play with if the 3-year-old has to come with them,” Castellini said.
The nursing center is another example of teams catering more to female fans. New stadiums, including Yankee Stadium, have doubled the number of toilets for women than for men — a far cry from more than 50 years ago, when White Sox owner Bill Veeck happened to notice there were no women’s bathrooms in the bleachers.
One could question the judgment of parents who bring an infant to a baseball game or any public event that’s loud, smelly, and crowded. But there are too many busybodies today who are trying to tell parents how to raise their kids and what is or isn’t good for them. I don’t want to join that chorus.
It’s amazing that breastfeeding in public is still controversial. A woman flying on a Virgin Australia flight was taken off the plane and arrested because she wouldn’t stop breastfeeding her baby:
Virgin Australia Airlines has responded to controversial allegations that it kicked a woman off a flight and summoned the police after she refused to stop breastfeeding her 10-month-old son.
The statement, which the airline posted on its Facebook page on Tuesday, read: “We’ve seen some misinformation today regarding our policy relating to breastfeeding on board. To clarify, Virgin Australia welcomes breastfeeding and bottle-feeding on board at any time during the flight, especially during take-off and landing when it can help prevent any ear discomfort felt by infants. When the seatbelt sign is illuminated, an infant must be restrained to their carer via the infant seatbelt only, which is provided by our crew. Safety is always Virgin Australia’s number one priority.”
But mom Virginie Rutgers had a different take. “I was in a state of shock honestly,” she told Australian news station Seven News. Rutgers was using a cover to nurse her son on the March 15 flight that was taxiing down the runway but a cabin supervisor asked her to remove it and “started to raise his voice” and became “quite abusive.” She added that she wasn’t given an explanation for why her behavior was wrong so she continued nursing. She was allegedly forced off the plane and met by federal and local police who ultimately released her without charge. Virgin offered Rutgers a flight credit, however she returned home by a Qantas flight.
Other incidents of intolerance for breastfeeding in public show that there are some people in positions of authority who worry about what some loudmouth might say about it. The fact is, too many people are uptight about public breastfeeding because of the sexual overtones of the female mammaries. There is nothing remotely sexual about breastfeeding and besides, most women — like Mrs. Rutgers above — use specially designed covers so that nothing of the breast is exposed to prurient eyes.
You can’t expect women to be chained to the home when they’re breastfeeding their child. That’s why businesses like the Cincinnati Reds who provide mothers with a private space to nurse their children are likely to score big with women, building good will and — most importantly from their point of view — creating loyal customers.