Mother Stands Up For Her Legal Right To Breast-feed In Public

She knew the state law

Breast-feeding is one of the most natural things a mother can do, yet some people have a problem with women nourishing their children in public. While some may scoff at a breast-feeding mother, the state of Illinois supports women by guaranteeing their right to breast-feed in public:

“A mother may breastfeed her baby in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be, irrespective of whether the nipple of the mother’s breast is uncovered during or incidental to the breastfeeding…” — 740 ILCS 137/10

Recently, Brei Theisen and her daughter had to teach a local pool about a women’s rights in Illinois after she was harassed by an employee for breast-feeding. Theisen was swimming with her 14-month-old daughter, Ava, at the Wood River Aquatic Center in Wood River, Illinois, when the infant became hungry. Theisen jumped out of the water, sat on the pool’s edge, and fed her daughter.

“I breastfeed at this pool all the time with no problem,” Theisen, 23, told Yahoo Beauty. “I went to the side of the pool to breastfeed her. And I didn’t feel it was necessary to cover up because it is 90 degrees outside.” After the baby was done feeding, they were approached by a manager who said she was offending other swimmers. “I told him, ‘I’m not going to cover my daughter’s head in 90-degree weather — should the people at the food court also cover up?’” Theisen said.

When her daughter began fussing again, Theisen spoke with another manager at the pool, and she was directed to a changing area near the restroom to feed. Theisen was not happy. “You don’t have a problem changing your baby in a public bathroom but you have a problem feeding her there?” the manager asked. “You couldn’t compare the two because you wouldn’t eat where you go to the bathroom,” Theisen replied before leaving the aquatic center.

After news of the story hit, the pool apologized. “Our manager and staff have been fully briefed on the law and will incorporate the law into our training for all employees immediately,” Wood River Aquatic Center told FOX2Now. “We apologize to the mother and child for any inconvenience we may have caused them.” Although Theisen will no longer be swimming at the aquatic center, she believes her experience sets a good example for mothers everywhere. “After I had Ava, a friend told me, ‘Make sure you know the law about nursing in public,” she says. “So I want other people to know too.”


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