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'Indecent Exposure:' Mom Breastfeeding in Library Made to Feel Like a Criminal

Mom Hadley Barrows

Breastfeeding, as we all know, is a natural, normal, and oddly not-always-socially acceptable act. In yet another case of misguided prudishness, a woman innocently breastfeeding her child in her local library was hassled by security.

According to mother Hadley Barrows, she was on a bench in the atrium of the Minneapolis Central Library and was trying to be discreet when a security officer for the library approached her. “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.”

She was, naturally, disturbed by his remarks. “There are enough obstacles to nursing as it is, without having people make you feel like a criminal for doing it,” she said. Ms. Barrows went to a librarian, who reportedly also told her to move somewhere more private even though Minnesota law states that a mother can breastfeed anywhere, public or private.

The security guard in question was told that he was in the wrong, with a rep for the security firm stating, “The county officer had told him that she didn’t need to move, she could breast-feed wherever she needed to.” But Ms. Barrows was never alerted that she could stay where she was. “I left so mad,” she said.

The security firm is using this as a teachable moment. “We basically sent the memo out to all of our staff, just reminding them of what the details of the law involve so that we don’t run into that kind of a situation again,” they said.

But Ms. Barrows found locale of the “teachable moment” ironic.

“You think of the library as a place of knowledge,” she said. “And even in the library…they don’t know that it’s OK to nurse your kid in public.”

Do you think many are out of the loop on breastfeeding laws and protections?

Image via WCOO

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