Just three days after "National Breastfeeding Awareness Month" ended, my three children and I experienced firsthand the lack of education that still pervades our community in this area.
While we were shopping, a fellow mother who is clearly uneducated about the importance of normalized breastfeeding and its inherent benefits for baby -- who is not yet two months old -- berated us and called the police because I was feeding my child in her presence.
I am saddened to have experienced such ignorance of the law, as well as witnessing the lesson she was teaching her own elementary-aged son about women's bodies: that breasts are only sexual, and that nourishing a baby is thereby indecent and to be avoided or cloistered away.
My oldest child, nearly 5, was confused and scared. To him, nursing a baby is natural, normal, and how he was nourished. He didn't understand.
I would like to commend the management and staff at the Cooper Creek branch of Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts, as well as my fellow shoppers there, and Manatee County Deputy Alan Judy for their kindness and support.
The store manager clearly understands and appreciates the law, and expressed that my children I are welcome to patronize their store, whether or not my 2-month-old baby happens to be hungry.
This support was a blessing in such a negative situation, and Jo-Ann's is to be commended for any corporate training they may have facilitated in this area.
Mothers and their babies have the right to nurse in peace, whenever and wherever they need to. This right is supported by Florida law (Florida Statute 383.015; Florida Statute 800.02). No mother or child should experience harassment for breastfeeding.