Summer vacation season is looming, which means that we're about to enter the point in the yearly journalism cycle where someone, somewhere, becomes a "lactivist" because they were asked to cover up while nursing at an airport/on an airplane/at the pool/at the Starbucks/at Disney/at a local park/at a big-box store , and their outrage, it must be shared with all of us.
I don't doubt that these incidents still happen, even in 2014, even with the reliable spate of TV news coverage about nurse-ins, even with angry blog posts circulated among like-minded fellows on Facebook, even with hashtags on Twitter.
I don't doubt it's distressing when it happens to you. It is always distressing when some presumptuous stranger swoops into a situation sans context and presumes to say, "Parenting: You're doing it wrong!"
But I really can't get worked up about it. Why? Because breastfeeding in the U.S.A. is a privilege indicator, and I have yet to see anyone who is dealing with the "Please cover up" gaffe admit that, then springboard into saying, "I admit it's a privilege. Let's make it an uncontested right."
And yes, breastfeeding in the U.S.A. is a privilege.
Putting aside the financial investment in what lots of people call the low-cost way to feed your baby -- I'm talking about lactation consultants, breast pump rentals, breast pump purchases, the nursing bras and/or clothes you wear to accommodate nursing or pumping, the pads, the cream, etc. -- putting aside the lucrative breastfeeding customer, let's examine exactly what it takes to make nursing work.
It takes time.
More specifically, it takes having a measure of control over your time. In the U.S., being able to exert some autonomy over your schedule is a side effect of economic and/or professional privilege.
Support for nursing starts with the ability to take paid family leave. (One bit of data to support this: In California, the median duration of breastfeeding doubled once paid family leave was introduced as state policy.) Mothers who return to work before six weeks postpartum are three times more likely to stop breastfeeding. In the U.S., 70% of pregnant women are working, and half of them will be back on the job five weeks after they give birth.
On a national level, if you are in the bottom quartile (25%) of wage-earners, you have a 5% chance of having paid family leave and only a 30% of having paid sick leave. Your good news? You have a 78% chance of being allowed unpaid parental leave. Good luck saving up the cash to take it on your $378/week salary.
We live in one of THREE countries in the entire world without mandatory paid parental leave policy on a national level. We make it harder for lower-income mothers to feed their babies cheaply, i.e. on breastmilk, which is yet another staggering example of how freakin' expensive it is to be poor. Save The Children agrees: In 2012, the U.S. ranked last on the breastfeeding policy scorecard.
So if we're going to get worked up over nursing in America, get worked up over the fact that we've turned something that could benefit all children into a deeply privileged class signifier. Women who nurse for more than a few weeks do so because they can afford to and because they have social and professional capital. They aren't harassed at work when insisting that their employer comply with legal requirements for pumping.
THIS is what I would like to see covered in the news. This is what I want to see people who say they support nursing to get fired up about. Protest because employers are screwing over non-white-collar women who happen to know their rights. Protest to strike the "public indecency" that don't specifically exempt breastfeeding in public from enforcement. Protest because our national policymakers don't give a shit about giving working-class families the same strong start that professional ones enjoy .
But if it's mostly complaining at a company because one or more of their employees isn't up on company policy? Eh. Good for you for making companies accountable to their customers. Now let's work on making society accountable to the people who take care of its smallest, most vulnerable members.
 I nursed in public -- including on airplanes -- and I never, ever heard a peep out of anyone. To this day, I am surprised nobody gave me a hard time. I have the exact opposite of Resting Bitchface -- really, I'm the human equivalent of a dolphin -- and total strangers often confuse my normal expression for an open invitation to them reading, "Please, open your mouth and monologue at me without preamble or courtesy."
 If you're ready to fight for universal paid family leave in the U.S., Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduced the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (FAMILY Act). It's not likely to pass in the current House and Senate, but it doesn't hurt to put pressure on your congressperson to vote for it -- or to explain to you why he or she won't. Also, feel free to support Family Values @ Work, which is hoping to fight for paid leave on a city-by-city and state-by-state basis, pending the day Congress gets its head out of its collective ass.