Clovis women take to park in support of breastfeeding

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Michelle Druba, left, and Heather Johnson were two of the six mothers who participated in the breastfeeding challenge Saturday at Greene Acres Park.

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

Six women bared all Saturday in Clovis to support breastfeeding in public and compete in the Global Breastfeeding Challenge.

The international event supports awareness of what proponents say are the benefits of breastfeeding. It is also an attempt to set a record for the most number of women breastfeeding in public at the same time.

Tia Coenig registered Clovis’ Greene Acres Park as an official site for the challenge.

Coenig wasn’t entirely surprised Clovis’ numbers weren’t competitive, but said the event helped bring local breastfeeding mothers together.

“It’s important to meet people with the same beliefs as you. We get to meet other mothers, too, and our kids make friends,” she said.

Heather Johnson, a mother of five — all breastfed — said she came to support the cause.

“I believe it is what is best for our babies and I want to give them the best,” Johnson said.

“They have to eat too. I don’t agree with putting a blanket over their head or going into the bathroom. That’s unsanitary,” Johnson said. “The breast is over sexualized in America. A lot of times you see less breast when breastfeeding than in some of the things teenagers wear.”

Michelle Druba said she jumped to action when MySpace went through a rash of deleting photos of breastfeeding posted on profiles.

“I sent the moderators a bunch of (MySpace) photos of girls with their breasts hanging out of their clothes or guys butts,” she said. “At least what we’re doing has a purpose.”

Druba, a mother of two, said most states have laws protecting mothers who choose to breastfeed in public, but that local law enforcement aren’t always aware of them.

“In New Mexico, women have a right to breastfeed anywhere they are allowed to be,” Druba said.

Mothers at the event are looking forward to expanding it next year.