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[personal profile] vine
This afternoon, I went to the offices of the Social Security Administration to take care of some routine business. I brought my eight month old son, Gavyn, with me. We took a number and sat down. After a while, he filled his diaper, so I took him to the rest room to change his diaper. To my dismay, it didn't have a diaper changing station, so I had to change him on the floor.

We went back into the waiting room and sat down to wait some more. Gavyn got a little fussy as we waited. We'd been out all day long, and he hadn't had a chance to nurse since about 11 am (by this time it was a little after 3 pm). So I decided to nurse him. I didn't cover him with a blanket, because he generally just pulls it off anyway.

After a few minutes, the female security guard approached me and informed me that I would need to go to the bathroom to "do that" (she pointed at Gavyn and/or my breast). I told her that we were comfortable where we were, and thanked her for her concern. She insisted that I could not "have my breast hanging out with all these people around" and pointed out that I was visible by a security camera. I told her that I had the right to breastfeed my baby where I was. She told me she would get the manager, and I told her she could go right ahead. She left.

A few minutes later, the security guard returned and informed me that the manager had offered a private conference room for us to nurse in. I repeated that we were perfectly fine where we were, and added that we would not be able to hear our number called if we were to move. She offered to listen for my number and let me know when it was called, but I again refused to move and stated that I had a right to nurse right where I was. She again told me that I was not allowed to be nursing in a public waiting room, and told me that I would have to leave if I didn't stop or go somewhere else. At this point, my number was called. 

I went to the window I was called to and informed the gentleman sitting there that I needed to speak to the manager. The manager, Mr. Earl Young, came over and informed me that he had a private conference room that I could use to nurse, and repeated that I could not nurse my child in a public waiting room "with all these people around." I told Mr. Young that I had a right to nurse my child wherever I was allowed to be. He told me that the office is a Federal facility and that they have their own rules. I advised him to Google it, and he told me that he would do so, and that he would also contact his legal department. I told him that he should do so, at which point he left, and I went on to conduct the business I was there to conduct.

I'm pretty angry. I feel shaken and harassed, and I'm fairly sure this wasn't legal of them to do. Dammit, my kid was hungry. Can I not just feed him where I am? It's just a breast, for goodness' sake.

EDIT: According to this blog, it was totally not legal. Well, now what?

Date: 2011-06-13 11:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] regyt.livejournal.com
Good for you for standing your ground, though!

Date: 2011-06-14 12:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vixyish.livejournal.com
I'd print out the text of the H.R. and carry it with you. Next time someone tries to pull that bullshit, hand a copy to the twonk, and say "Federal law states that I am allowed to do this."

You fucking well shouldn't *have* to do anything of the sort. But that's all I can think of to do...

Date: 2011-06-14 01:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elorie.livejournal.com
I would file a complaint...if for no other reason than that the next person maybe won't get harassed.

Date: 2011-06-14 04:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tn-tiger.livejournal.com
I am so sorry that happened. :(

The best response I've ever heard to the bathroom suggestion was "How yould YOU like to eat your dinner in a bathroom?"

Date: 2011-06-15 05:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] camilleta.livejournal.com
That's ridiculous that they couldn't let you feed your baby and listen for your number. I breastfeed anywhere and anywhere and they're gonna have to drag me off to jail to get me to stop.

It is very legal

Date: 2011-06-16 01:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesleyest.livejournal.com
Here's the scoop (from the blog that linked here): http://womenshealthnews.wordpress.com/2011/06/16/report-of-a-woman-asked-to-stop-breastfeeding-in-memphis-area-social-security-office/

Date: 2011-06-16 03:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] emily anne voras (from livejournal.com)
you rock for not giving in or covering up. when will the government officials learn the laws like we citizens already have?

Date: 2011-09-08 07:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] divadiane1.livejournal.com

Good for you for not backing down! I hear you though that you felt harassed. My heart started pounding reading your story. I'm glad to read that law makes it ok, but prudish ignorant people are everywhere.

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