Breastfeeding Moms Take Over Yankee Stadium
More than 60 breastfeeding moms came together on Tuesday night for the Bronx Breastfeeding Coalition’s “Breastfeeding Night with the New York Yankees.” The event — which invites nursing mothers to watch a baseball game while feeding their children — was the third annual gathering, a night aimed at making mothers, families, and other Yankees fans comfortable with the idea of public breastfeeding.
A total of 250 attendees — nursing moms, their families, and breastfeeding supporters and advocates — took over Yankee Stadium, wearing hot-pink T-shirts that said “The Bronx Breastfeeds.” Breastfed babies and toddlers got shirts with the phrase “I breastfed at Yankee Stadium” emblazoned across the front. The group was also welcomed on the fan marquee.
“We invite breastfeeding moms, families, and supporters to come and make a statement that mothers can breastfeed anywhere, anytime,” Theresa Landau, co-chair of the Bronx Breastfeeding Coalition, tells Yahoo Parenting. “When the idea first came up, I said, ‘We’ve got to bring this to sports venues.’ It’s really about making women and families comfortable with public breastfeeding, but also making society OK with it.”
Cindy Marte, a 26-year-old mom of a 2-year-old, has been attending the event since it started three years ago. She says that before she attended the first Breastfeeding Night, with her then-2-month-old daughter, she’d never breastfed in public and didn’t think she ever would. “I would nurse in restrooms, fitting rooms, the car,” she tells Yahoo Parenting. “But at that game, my daughter cried and got hungry, so I did it. And people were smiling and supporting me and it made me gain so much confidence that still, today, I’m breastfeeding, and my daughter is 2. It changed my life.”
Marte says that when she had her daughter Mia, she didn’t have any friends who breastfed, and never expected to get that sort of support in the Bronx, where she didn’t see a lot of public nursing. “Some people are so opinionated, and I was always afraid of being judged or of someone saying something negative to me,” she says. Now Marte nurses wherever she has to and helps new moms learn to breastfeed, too. “Last night I was sitting next to a mom whose baby was 23 days old. It was her first night out, and she said it felt so good to fit in.”
Landau says the group got nothing but support from the Yankees and fellow fans. “People on the other side of the stadium said you could see a sea of hot pink; it was really great,” she says. “Even from people not in our group, we got nothing but smiles.”
Each year, Landau says, the organization reaches a new audience, and it is slowly helping New Yorkers understand the importance of breastfeeding. “There seems to be a problem in our country with women breastfeeding in public. Most moms do it discreetly because it’s more comfortable for them, but they don’t have to,” she says. “A woman has a legal right to breastfeed wherever she and her baby are allowed to be. We need to raise awareness of the importance of breastfeeding, but also build a sense of community. It’s a family affair and a community affair, and what better way to bring the Bronx community together than at a ball game?”
It helped, she said, that the Yankees beat the Minnesota Twins handily. “I’m a Yankee fan, so that made it even better,” she says. “But it’s always a great night.”