Mom Live-Streams Herself Breastfeeding After Being Harassed By Mall Security

by Maria Guido
Originally Published: 
Image via Ashley Cooper/Facebook

Mom live-streams herself breastfeeding because people still can’t bother to train their employees

Breastfeeding in public is legal. How many times do we need to shout this from the mountain tops before people will listen? If you have a business that requires your employees to interact with the public in any capacity, you need to communicate to these employees that public breastfeeding is legal. It’s absolutely inexcusable that women are still being harassed for publicly feeding their children — especially when it’s by paid employees.

Ashley Cooper and her husband were taking their two kids to visit the Easter Bunny last week at a mall in Virgina, when their infant child got hungry. Ashley did what moms of hungry babies do — she started feeding her. It was then that a security guard at Short Pump Mall approached her and told her she needed to go to a nursing room.

It was then that Ashley decided to live-stream her experience.

“My baby was screaming because she’s hungry, so I’m on a bench trying to feed her — quite discreetly,” Ashley explains. “And security has just informed me I have to go into a nursing room, of which they have one, and it is currently occupied. I informed them that in the state of Virginia, breastfeeding moms can nurse anywhere they are legally allowed to be, and they are trying to tell me that I cannot feed my baby on a bench in a corner.”

Ashley and her family went to guest services after their children were done visiting the Easter Bunny to inform them about the incident. “The women behind the counter were very apologetic and kind. They offered apologies and train tickets for my family to take a ride (my 3 year old loves the train),” Ashley writes. “I hold no grudge toward the mall and will continue to shop and nurse there. I hold no ill-will toward the security guard – she thought she was doing her job.”

Breastfeeding mothers have enough on their plates. You have no idea what the stress of being publicly reprimanded could do to an already apprehensive mother. Ashley was in a fortunate position of knowing her rights and being comfortable pushing back against the harassment. But not all moms are there, and an incident like this could truly stunt a mother’s comfort with public breastfeeding.

In this case, the mall apologized and pledged to incorporate the laws regarding rights of breastfeeding mothers to their security training. That is absolutely the right thing to do.

Forty nine states have laws protecting public breastfeeding (Idaho — what’s up?) So if women are still being harassed by employees — companies have some work to do. It’s a big deal, and something a little bit of training will help avoid.

“I am frustrated that she thought nursing women aren’t allowed to feed their babies in public,” Ashley says. “I am frustrated with the lack of training and education regarding nursing mothers’ rights.”

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