The army wife who was asked to leave a military housing office when she began nursing her daughter has received a much needed apology.
Jess Lanham was waiting with her 8-month-old daughter at the military housing office on the Fort Bragg army base when the girl got hungry, as babies tend to do. While filling out paperwork in a private office, Lanham covered herself, unbuttoned her top and discreetly let the girl latch on.
As Strollerderby’s Madeline Holler originally reported, the housing representative with whom Lanham was meeting told her to stop. When Lanham declined the office workers responded by packing up Lanham’s paperwork and asking her to come back “at a more appropriate time”.
Lanham later detailed the account on an open parenting forum:
I had the little kids with me. We were in a private office at the end of a hall. I had Zoey in a sling, wearing a button down shirt, tank and had the sling end over my shoulder when I was asked to leave. Because they needed to maintain a “business atmosphere”. I argued with the woman for a few minutes, but she refused to do my paperwork unless we left or I stopped nursing. I pull Zoey off, take her out of the sling and bounce her until our paperwork is done… “So happy my husband is fighting for our freedom in Afghanistan, but I can’t even breastfeed my child on an Army base.”
Lanham said she stopped feeding Zoey so she would be able to finish her housing application. Afterward, she went to Olive Garden restaurant and nursed her baby there without any problems.
Now, Picerne housing, where Lanham was filing paperwork, has issued an apology. Kelly Douglas, a Picerne spokeswoman, apologized in an email to the Observer on Tuesday and also called Lanham to apologize. Douglas says the company is going to make sure it doesn’t happen again. “We deeply regret comments made by our employees that were offensive to Mrs. Lanham,” Douglas said. “We plan to educate all of our employees to promote more sensitivity to breast-feeding mothers.”