A newborn baby has only three demands. They are warmth in the arms of its mother, food from her breasts, and security in the knowledge of her presence. Breastfeeding satisfies all three. ~Grantly Dick-Read
Being a mother is challenging enough. Keeping up with the physical, medical, educational, nutritional and social pursuits of my children is almost impossible. I do this for 7 busy kids (1 college sophomore, 1 in high school. 1 in middle school and 4 under 5years old) and a husband, who happens to be a veteran and a college student as well.
Needless to say being equipped and organized is a must. Knowing a little about the law comes in handy too since there’s such a fine line between being legal and unlawful. One law we discovered was that mothers have a protected right to breastfeed in public.
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-190.9 (1993) states that “…a woman may breastfeed in any public or private location where she is otherwise authorized to be, irrespective of whether the nipple of the mother’s breast is uncovered during or incidental to the breastfeeding.” This means that a breastfeeding mother is not in violation of indecent exposure laws.
So that meant that if I chose to, I could whip my breast out and nurse away and no one could say a word. But we found out that not everyone at Charlotte Mecklenburg Library system knows this. On August 2012, I entered the library with my husband to scan & email some time sensitive official documents to the V.A. . Because they only had one pc that could do this, we had to make an appointment to return. On the second trip there my 2month old got hungry. I thought this would be a quick visit, but it wasn’t so I shift him inside my white, thin, cotton shirt to feed him. The only thing visible was his soft curly brown locks. Seconds later a library volunteer approached me(twice),then the female security guard (twice), and finally the older female supervisor. The message was consistent, plain and clear. I cannot nurse at the computer. I had to stop, get up and go into their 8x10ft nursing cellar. I refused each time telling them I knew my rights and not only were they violating my rights as a library patron, but also as a breastfeeding mom. As a public/government building, servicing that particular target of the community, they should know these laws.
I left frustrated and disappointed with the uncertainty if my official business had been taken care of because my computer time expired before any confirmation that it was sent. Once I got home I wrote a letter. I asked for an public apology and that yours truly be paid to educate each library employee of the rights and benefits to breastfeeding. Instead, they mailed out a letter apologizing for the humiliation and said they were merely suggesting that I had the option of using it. I know this isn’t a new story, but where did we get so messed up in the head to think that feeding your child in public is a taboo thing? As a mother with daughters, I will do all that I can to ensure that the day they do have a child, they will be equipped with the knowledge, education, and peace of mind to breast feed their baby.
This story has been shared internationally.
Here’s some of the comments: (I have the RIGHT to choose which ones I share)
M. RaidenandCarolyna’smom P. I’m feeling the urge to go sit and nurse my babes in this library and will be going so in the near future! I would absolutely embarrass the pee out of anyone who attempted to harass me about my legal rights in a second. Outrageous. More power to this mama! I hope I get to meet her at some point so I can high-fiver her for being awesome and doing the best thing for her little one!
A. Elliott News flash! Just heard from the library, it’s all a misunderstanding, the nursing room is there for the mammal-deniers (people who don’t believe humans are mammals) to hide in when the hordes of lactating activists (lactivists) insist on nourishing their offspring.