Think a woman can breastfeed anywhere she wants? Think again. A nursing mother may have the law on her side, but that doesn’t seem to stop prudish employees at places such as baseball stadiums, public libraries, and churches to not just hassle and harass nursing mothers, but to throw them out of their establishments.
Forty-five states have laws that protect breastfeeding women and allow them to nurse anywhere they want. But many times, this freedom is brought into question. In an age where breastfeeding babies is not just encouraged but promoted, it is disheartening that women get confronted for simply nourishing their children. Numerous women feel nervous about nursing in public, and situations like these make it even more stress-inducing, and that’s not good for the mom, the baby, or anyone.
Check out these 16 places where nursing mothers have been harassed and/or thrown out of for nursing. Which one surprises you most?
Church 1 of 16Many would argue that God created breasts in order for mothers to feed and nourish their babies. But one church doesn't appreciate this piece of divine handiwork. Back in February, new mom Nirvana Jennette was kicked out of a place of worship and even called a stripper for breastfeeding her baby during a service.
"I was going to church, it was a biker church of all places, and I thought we would be accepted," said Ms. Jennette. "I was told to go nurse in the bathroom and was told to cover up and go away. I knew the bond and importance of breastfeeding and that's what I decided to do for my baby."
Source: Huffington Post
Courtroom 2 of 16You would think a court of law would be familiar with the laws of breastfeeding. Not in one case. In late 2011, Natalie Hegedus was "called out" for breastfeeding while she was in a courtroom to appear in regards to a ticket she had gotten. The new mother felt humiliated and was brought to tears. She hadn't wanted to bring her son to the courtroom that day, but the 5-month-old had an ear infection. While she waited to be called, she nursed him as she sat in the back of the courtroom (where she says she was covered up). "Considering the fact that my son is hungry, and he's sick, and the fact that it's not illegal, I don't find it inappropriate," Hegedus stated. "And the judge said something to the effect of 'It's my court, it's my decision and I do find it inappropriate.''"
Source: WSAV TV
School 3 of 16Ever thought you'd hear about someone getting sent to the principal's office for breastfeeding? That happened to this Tampa mom back in 2010 when breastfeeding her youngest child.
"I was called into the principal's office and asked not to breastfeed in the lobby. The principal said it was 'not appropriate' for students, particularly boys in the school, to see me breastfeed. I informed her that FL law protects my right to breastfeed in any location, public or private where I am otherwise authorized to be. She said it didn't matter what the law states because it was not appropriate. She said that she could try to schedule (her daughter's) speech therapy sometime when there were not students at the school, or I could wait in a private location and nurse there. I informed her that I did not want to nurse in a private location. She asked me to leave her office."
This mom did not take this situation lightly. She started a blog to voice her feeling and to post updates about the situation (which took place in 2010)."
Source: Blog: Tampa Public School thinks that Breastfeeding is "Inappropriate"
Legoland 4 of 16In general, family-friendly places are just that: friendly to families. So you'd think they'd be one of the best public places to breastfeed. However, earlier this year mom of three Kelly Sabourin was given a hard time for breastfeeding her 2-year-old daughter at Legoland in Winter Haven, Florida. While watching her two older children play, Ms. Sabourin breastfed her youngest. A Legoland employee told the her that she couldn't nurse there and had to move.
The employee's actions were not reflective of Legoland's actual policies and was a "misunderstanding." "We were actively promoting this facility (the Baby Care Center ) to our employees to share with our guests. We failed to remind our employees our policy is to allow mothers to feed their children anywhere and however they choose," a statement from Legoland read.
Source: WSAV TV
Baseball Game 5 of 16This was not a home-run decision for the Colorado Rockies organization; more bad call. Back in 2010, a Colorado Springs mom was harassed by several ushers at Coors Field when she breastfed in the stands. "An usher came up to me and told me I needed to do that in the family restroom," the mom said. "I told her I'd be done in a moment and I would come down then.'" After she was done nursing, another usher came up to her and informed her again about the family restrooms. "I was shocked this was still an issue in this day and age," she said.
Source: The Denver Channel
Starbucks 6 of 16Way back in 2005, a discrimination suit was filed against a Washington state Starbucks when a new mother named Kristina Pearson was asked to leave the coffee shop for breastfeeding her newborn. This was reportedly the first time she had breastfed in public and even asked permission. "(A worker) was like, 'Oh, OK. No problem,'" Pearson said. "Then, about a minute later, a manager came out and said he said, 'I'm sorry, but you can't do this.' He said, 'Personally, I don't have a problem with it, but my customers will.' And then as we were packing up to leave, he offered me a free coffee." The new mom was livid. She used the internet to get justice for other breastfeeding mothers, starting a site called Nurse at Starbucks.
Source: The Starbucks Union
American Girl Store 7 of 16You'd think a company that encourages girls to be confident and empowered would stand by a woman's right to breastfeed, but according to the Stir, back in 2011, a woman was kicked out of the seating area of an American Girl store for breastfeeding. "The American Girl store is, after all, a place whose primary purpose is to entertain families. And not just any kind of family. Families of little girls," the Stir wrote. "Little girls who will hopefully grow up one day to become breastfeeders themselves."
Mommyish quoted the woman's husband from Twitter: "Wife kicked out of NYC #AmericanGirl store sitting area 4 breastfeeding. Went 2 fitting room. Employees outside, talking loudly about her." That is not a pleasant situation for anyone. "She called me after it happened and was pretty upset. Completely unacceptable," he wrote in a follow-up post. And then, "No one should be made to feel this way about feeding her child."
Source: <a href="
Source: The Stir
An Airplane 8 of 16Back in 2006, Emily Gillette was on a plane when she breastfed her tired and hungry daughter after a long day of travel. She was given a blanket from the flight attendant and asked to cover up. Ms. Gillette said, "we really felt we had our rights totally stripped." She launched a civil suit against the airline and the company settled for an undisclosed amount.
Source: USA Today
Library 9 of 16Hadley Barrows was at the Minneapolis Central Library and sat down to breastfeed her baby when she was confronted by a security guard. "He said I was either going to have to take it outside or go in the bathroom," Barrows said. "He said, you're not even covered up, you're just showing everyone: indecent exposure." But the security guard was in the wrong on the issue (obviously) and the firm who handles security for the library apologized to the mom and made this a teachable moment, letting all their employees know that breastfeeding in the library was a-okay.
The Bus 10 of 16In 2011, new mom Afrykayn Moon was breastfeeding her 2-week-old son while he was wrapped in a Moby wrap on a bus in Detroit. The bus driver didn't take so kindly to the public feeding and told the Ms. Moon she had to cover up while nursing or get off the bus. She refused and continued with the feeding. The driver called dispatch and had security officers meet them at the next stop to question Ms. Moon about her nursing. But it was all for naught, since Michigan law protects breast feeding moms.
Source: SF Gate
Chocolate Cafe 11 of 16Chocolate may be sweet, but this story isn't. In 2010, Julia Acevedo-Taylor sued Lily O'Brien's Chocolate CafÃ© in New York City for "severe embarrassment, severe shame, severe humiliation, severe emotional distress and loss of dignity," stemming from being hassled for breast feeding her baby in the cafÃ©.
"Taylor and (and her friend) Augustoplos began nursing their hungry and tired toddlers," the suit says, and "positioned [them] with their heads toward their respective bodies." And it wasn't a situation of over-exposure. "[N]o part of either the plaintiff's nor Augustoplos's nipples were exposed." And even so, there would be nothing legally wrong with that, since the two nursing mothers were protected by state law. Even so, the manager of the cafÃ© came up to them and told to "stop doing that." The two mothers "politely declined" and informed the manager that what he was asking was "both contrary to sound public policy and illegal." The manager asked again in a more threatening tone and then ordered them according to the suit to "leave and never come back to [the] establishment again."
Source: New York Post
Image Source: Morgue Files
Children’s Clothing Store 12 of 16Last year, Shannon Smith, a 36-year-old mother of three, was asked to leave a children's clothing store for nursing her then-5-month-old in an out-of-the-way corner. "It's shocking to me that in 2011, people still have an attitude that women shouldn't breastfeed in public," Smith said in an interview. "I think it's absurd, especially in a children's clothing store." To protest, about a hundred people came to the mall where the store was, and a number of women publicly breastfed in front of the store in question in solidarity.
"I think that, basically, you should be able to do it anytime and anywhere," said one protester. "Even my parish priest tells us to go ahead and do it in church. Jesus was breast-fed; he wasn't bottle-fed. So it's definitely all right."
Image Source: Morgue Files
McDonald’s 13 of 16A mother and her family were allegedly kicked out of a Phoenix area McDonald's while the mother had been breastfeeding her 6-month-old baby. "My 6-year-old was in tears because he thought mommy was going to jail because this guy just told me he was going to call the police on me," Clarissa Bradford said. "There's not even a word for it. I was furious. I said, 'Well, excuse me, I am allowed to nurse anywhere in the state of Arizona, I am protected by the law.'" But that didn't deter the manager, who made them leave and even followed them to the parking lot and threatened to call the cops.
A London Pub 14 of 16A 25-year-old mother was breastfeeding her baby in a London pub and was asked to leave because "people were eating" (and they did not mean her 7-month-old daughter). Some people had suggested she feed Mollie in the lavatory, but she said: "Would you want to have your dinner where people go to the loo?"
Source: This London
ImageSource: Morgue Files
Target 15 of 16Back in 2009, Mary Martinez stopped and breastfed her 4-month-old daughter in the electronics section of Target. The mom and her husband claimed that a Target employee came up to them and told the nursing mother that "It's against the law. You have to go." The police were called and the family was escorted out of the store, even though the officers confirmed that breastfeeding in public not illegal. The family knew that already Martinez's husband Jose just so happened to be a police officer.
Source: Write Edit Repeat
Image Source: Flickr
YMCA 16 of 16A mother named Elizabeth Gomez sat down in the Child Watch Area of her YMCA back in 2010 and began to breastfeed her 3-month old son Christian. She was told by the staff that she could not nurse her baby there since there is a "no eating within Child Watch" policy and the staff at this particular YMCA said this included breastfeeding. They added that she would be "exposing [her]self" and the "kids would see it." She was asked to leave and breastfeed in the hallway.
She wrote an open letter to the YMCA about the situation which you can check out right here.
Source: The Stir
Image Source: World Business Chicago
Photos from iStockPhoto unless otherwise noted.
Photo above from Morgue Files
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