Thursday, July 8, 2010

Call to Action: Email NewsRadio 106.3 FM in Support of Breastfeeding Mothers

Have you heard about the insensitive remarks Lisa Rollins made about breastfeeding mothers on July 6, 2010 during her morning talk show? Read a transcript of her remarks at Code Name: Mama. Tell the program director at NewsRadio 106.3FM that you support breastfeeding mothers and children. Here is the email we sent the program manager (bmclain (at) entercom (dot) com) and Ms. Rollins (lrollins (at) entercom (dot) com). You can personalize your own version of this letter by downloading this sample letter.
Let's advocate for breastfeeding mothers together!
Dionna Ford
July 8, 2010
Bob McLain
Program Director, 106.3 FM

Dear Mr. McLain:

I respectfully write this letter to express my concern over a segment that aired on the Russ & Lisa show on Tuesday, July 6, 2010. On that date, Lisa Rollins, your Talk Show Host and News Anchor, related a story about a recent visit to Chic Fil-A, where she witnessed a woman breastfeeding.

Ms. Rollins went on to suggest, among other things, that breastfeeding mothers should 1) nurse in their cars, regardless of whether it is 100 degrees outside; 2) nurse on a toilet in a public restroom; 3) stay at home rather than subject anyone to the sight of a breastfeeding baby; 4) “be prepared” with a pumped bottle of milk at all times; or 5) leave all public areas anytime a baby needs to nurse.

I have transcribed the first ten minutes or so of Ms. Rollins’ segment; it is attached to this email. Here are a few excerpts:
“And I said, ‘you know, could she not have done this in the car? I mean, she was on the way here, couldn’t she have, you know, while they were driving there, just breastfeed the baby?’” 
“I just think that there should be laws – and in South Carolina there are none, no laws about this, that women should not breastfeed in a public area, and especially in a restaurant. For goodness sakes. Listen let her go to the ladies room.” 
“But my daughter knew that I find that to be disgusting. I just don’t see a reason for it. . . . You know you could have sat there for five or ten or however many minutes it takes to do so in the privacy of your vehicle. And then I thought also, it is 100 dadgum degrees.” 
“I think you should be discreet and stay at home.” 
“And I think there should be indecency laws about that, because I don’t want to see it in a public place. You know go to the ladies room, go somewhere, go to your car, pump your breastmilk, but I don’t want to see it in public, sorry.” 
“I don’t see anything wrong with going into a restroom if you don’t see a specific nursing area and sitting on the toilet seat.”
Breastmilk and breastfeeding are the standard for infant nutrition.

As Ms. Rollins mentioned during the segment, there are numerous and well-documented benefits for both children and mothers who breastfeed, as well as risks to those who do not breastfeed. Breastmilk contains growth factors, hormones, enzymes, and other substances that are immune-protective and foster proper growth and nutrition.[1] Breastfeeding is associated with a reduction of the risk for children of contracting pneumonia, staphylococcal infections, influenza, ear infections, severe infections of the lower respiratory tract, asthma, obesity, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, childhood leukemia, certain types of cancer, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).[2]

Encouraging breastfeeding is an integral part of many governmental health and wellness initiatives, including programs created by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity, among others.[3] And breastfeeding is not just for infants. The American Academy of Family Physicians 2008 Position Paper on breastfeeding states that “breastfeeding at least until the second year of a child's life is not considered 'extended' breastfeeding. Rather, breastfeeding until the bare minimum age of 2 years is the norm and anything less brings about detrimental consequences.”[4]

Children should not nurse in a bathroom.

The thought of a mother taking her child to a public restroom to nurse is disgusting. Every time you flush your toilet, an aerosol spray of water droplets – laden with bits of feces and urine – explodes into the bathroom. Significant quantities of microbes float around the bathroom for at least two hours after each flush. In a public bathroom, that means the air is continuously blasted by feces droplets. What’s more? Women’s public restrooms contain twice as much fecal matter as men’s, probably due to the fact that there is the added contamination of soiled tampons and pads, and women are more likely to be dragging in small children and babies in need of a change.[5]

Children should not nurse in a car.

Each year we hear about children who have tragically died in hot cars. Why, then, would anyone choose to breastfeed in one? Ms. Rollins acknowledged that it was over 100 degrees on the day she described, yet she still admonished the mother for not taking her child to the car to nurse. How fast does a car get deadly hot? With an outside temperature of only 85 degrees, it takes five minutes for the temperature to reach 90 inside. It takes seven to 10 minutes to reach 100, and just 30 minutes to reach 120.[6] What does that mean for a car that starts out at 100 degrees? I can’t imagine Ms. Rollins would advocate for a baby to drink a bottle in a 100 degree car – why should he be forced to drink from his mother’s breast there?

It is not feasible for every woman to stay home or pump during a child’s nursing years.

As mentioned above, children should nurse until at least age two. It is unrealistic, and incredibly offensive to women, to expect them to stay at home any time their child might need to nurse for at least two years, especially since younger babies nurse at least every two hours.[7]

As far as carrying bottles, one of the beauties of breastfeeding is that you do not need to pump unless absolutely necessary (i.e., for work). Moreover, pumping can even result in harm to the breastfeeding relationship, because it interferes with the supply/demand aspect of breastmilk. Both the quantity and composition of breastmilk are determined by the age of the child and how often/long he nurses. Some women cannot pump enough milk, others do not respond to the pump at all. Pumping and introducing bottles in the early days can cause nipple confusion and a bad latch. Pumping (and not breastfeeding as needed) can result in health problems like thrush and mastitis. Finally, pumping can be cost prohibitive and exceedingly time-consuming.[8]

The law protects a child’s right to breastfeed.

Ms. Rollins is under the mistaken impression that there are no laws related to breastfeeding. She even went so far as to suggest that there should be a law criminalizing breastfeeding as indecent exposure. Ms. Rollins is wrong. The state of South Carolina has given mothers an unqualified right to breastfeed in public:
S.C. Code Ann. § 63-5-40 (2005):
(A) A woman may breastfeed her child in any location where the mother and her child are authorized to be.
(B) Breastfeeding a child in a location where the mother is authorized to be is not considered to be indecent exposure.
This right is unqualified – mothers do not need to cover themselves, they do not need to remove themselves to a public restroom or a hot car, they do not need to stay at home or bring a bottle of expressed breastmilk. They may nurse their children whenever their children need nourishment or comfort.

Ms. Rollins’ segment was uninformed and offensive to women and breastfeeding mothers.

Breastmilk and breastfeeding are the standard for infant nutrition. No mother should ever be made to feel ashamed or embarrassed for giving her child nourishment and comfort at her breast. Another mother might not know her rights. She might comply with unlawful requests to cover up or leave. She might decide to pump or reduce her child’s number of breastfeeding sessions (both of which may reduce her milk supply and harm the breastfeeding relationship). She might even decide to wean her child prematurely.

Please work with me to normalize breastfeeding in our society. I am writing to ask you to take positive steps to help breastfeeding mothers. First, please educate your employees about the rights of breastfeeding pairs. If you need help finding materials or someone to lead an informational session, I will gladly help you find a qualified attorney, Lactation Counselor, or La Leche League leader. Second, you can host a show that informs your listeners about the need for more mothers to breastfeed as well as their rights under the law. Third, you may wish to issue a formal apology for the actions of Ms. Rollins.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Ms. Rollins' co-host, Lonzo, for the way he responded to Ms. Rollins. He met each of her objections with logical, clear points. I was so pleased to hear him stand up for breastfeeding mothers.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to your response, and to listening to more compassionate, educated talk show hosts at 106.3 FM.

Dionna Ford

Cofounder of

[1] Hamosh, Margit, PhD, Breastfeeding: Unraveling the Mysteries of Mother’s Milk,
[2] Ip S, et al., Breastfeeding and maternal and infant health outcomes in developed countries,; see also Burby, Leslie, 101 Reasons to Breastfeed Your Child (and citations therein),
[3] See ; ;
[4]; The AAFP’s position is almost identical to that of the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF. Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding,
For similar positions from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and other medical organizations, see; see also
[5] Breastfeeding and Bathrooms Do Not Mix,
[6] Simple Steps Can Prevent Hot Car Deaths,
[7] Nursing Your Newborn,
[8] See, e.g., Do All Breastfeeding Mothers Need a Pump?,; I’m Not Pumping Enough Milk. What Can I Do?,; What to Expect When Pumping,


It ceases to amaze me that the most natural thing a mother could do for their child needs to be normalized. I can tell you this, if someone like Lisa Rollins were to ever bother my wife while she was nursing our daughter they would have major problems with me.

Such a well written article and letter. I wholeheartedly agree!

And thank you PJ, for your comment! I'm so glad my husband feels the same way. Lisa's attitude is simply disgusting!

I also agree. I am a single mother and I dare anyone to tell me I can not feed my child when she is hungry. I myself have feed my daughter in a resturant, while I am eating. It really disappoints me to hear that someone voices their neg. opinion on thousands of listeners. When my daughter was 6 months, I lost my ability to pump; I was told it was because my daughter was too efficient at breastfeeding, and even tried a hospital grade pump. At 16 months, she is still breastfed.

This host is hung up on the sexual aspect of the breasts. Sexualization of the breasts, though normal and beautiful, should be kept private.

Breastfeeding, however, is simply eating. A restaraunt is a very appropiate place for eating to occur.

And BOTTLES offend me (except in cases where mom can not physicaly nurse for some medical reason). They are a symbol of the selfishness of some women and the sheeple-ness of others.

I just wrote a not very nice letter to the director which i posted on my blog. Why do we always have to eggshell around the fact that the things she's spouting are anti-woman, anti-child, anti-safety, and anti-health? So yeah, all the vitriol we're feeling, I blogged it.

AWESOME letter.
Very very well written and educational

I sure hope he reads it!

This is the most perfect response to that woman's appalling display of ignorance. Thank you for sharing, Dionna!

This is great and much better than the letter I wrote! I sure hope they take action!

I read the transcript and was amazing and horrified, honestly, that not only is she harboring these thoughts but said them on air to tons of listeners. Her opinion is pretty outraging to a breastfeeding mother like me, and I commend you for writing a very professional letter with lots of resources!
Did he ever reply?

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