A fellow guest approached the mother from Minnesota while she was breastfeeding her 3-month-old son.
Stephanie Buchanan was breastfeeding her 3-month-old son at the Mora Aquatic Center in Minnesota when another pool patron approached. She had asked her to cover up because it was distracting for her two sons. Her sister-in-law, Mary Davis, then proceeded to breastfeed her child in solidarity with Buchanan.
Staff members approached the two mothers and told them to either cover up or go to the locker area. Buchanan had refused and decided to leave the premises. On their way out, police officers confronted Davis and Buchanan to defuse the situation. The City of Mora issued the following statement:
The City of Mora and Mora Aquatic Center (MAC) strive to create an environment comfortable for all. While we always have supported nursing mothers, the situation inside of the kiddy pool made many patrons uncomfortable. Our staff politely asked them to be more discrete or relocate to another area at the MAC. When they did not, it created an untenable situation and our public safety team was brought in to assist the MAC staff. Neither women were asked to leave the facility. We apologize to Ms. Ellingson-Buchanan and Ms. Davis if they were offended by how they were treated. Although we cannot anticipate all possible scenarios, City policies and procedures will be reviewed and revised as deemed necessary.
Breastfeeding mothers caught wind of the incident and decided to stage a “nurse-in” at the public pool.
Dozens of mothers gathered and nursed their children outside the Mora Aquatic Center in protest. “This Nurse-In is a PEACEFUL demonstration that us Mamas can and will nurse when we want and where we want. This is about our legal right to nurse in public as a result of our decision to breastfeed.” wrote the organizers on Facebook.
The two mothers plan to file discrimination charges against the city, reiterating that breastfeeding in public is legal in all 50 states.
Breastfeeding in public
“People have no problem seeing puppies feed from their mama and it’s so cute, but then the minute a mom starts to breastfeed, some people say it makes them uncomfortable, they don’t like it,” said Mary Davis.
Breastfeeding in public continues to be a controversial issue for mothers everywhere. Incidents like Stephanie Buchanan’s are not uncommon. There are always the brave mothers who continue to advocate for their legal right to fulfill their child’s basic need (most of whom attract ire in the process), but hopefully we reach a point where nursing mothers are safe wherever they choose to feed their child.