Although it might seem inconceivable to some, including myself, breastfeeding in public is still viewed as a taboo practice by many Americans. This sentiment was evidenced on Sunday, June 9, when a breastfeeding mom allegedly got kicked out of a public pool in Texas. The good news? Fellow moms have come together in a major way to show their support.
Mom Misty Daugereaux was enjoying an outing to the Nessler Family Aquatic Center in Texas City, Texas on June 9 with her 10-month-old son and two other children in what was supposed to be an average summer day, according to The Washington Post. But when Daugereaux stopped to breastfeed her son, she was reportedly interrupted by a lifeguard who told her it was against the rules. "I had a life guard come from behind me, as I was discretely soothing my crying baby and told me I couldn't BREAST FEED AT THE PUBLIC POOL," she wrote in a Facebook post shared to the aquatic center's page.
Daugereaux claimed the incident escalated from there, with a manager and Texas City Police Department showing up to deal with the situation.
"THEN THE MANGER TOLD ME I HAD To COVER UP/FOLLOW THE RULES OR LEAVE, THEN LASTLY A TCPD Showed up and made me leave!" she said.
The mom said the incident left her feeling humiliated, but that she tried to keep herself together for the sake of her kids and nephew, who was also present. As she wrote on Facebook:
I’m so hurt, embarrassed and ASHAMED, that this is what TEXAS CITY STANDS FOR. They’re employees should be educated! They’re [sic] manger could of used that moment to educate her staff! Yet I was escorted out with Two 4 year olds and my 10m old on my hip! Tears pouring down my face. My son asked, 'Momma why won’t they let you feed MAXX?' I was alone not wanting to cause a scene and scare my kids, to the momma that stood up for me THANK YOU
Ugh, so heartbreaking. Daugereaux's son's confusion about the backlash drives home the point that kids don't sexualize breastfeeding — it's the adults who do.
The Texas City Police Department did not immediately respond to Romper’s request for comment about the incident.
Although it was upsetting that Daugereaux had to go through this situation, the upside is she now has countless mommas in her corner as a result. Case in point: On Monday, "roughly six women arrived at the pool and breastfed their kids in an act of defiance," according to Fatherly. Most of the women were reportedly from a "Galveston County breastfeeding support group," according to Fox 5 San Diego.
In addition to the incredible moms who showed up, Daugereaux received supportive messages in the comments section of her initial post. "I am so sorry this happened to you," one commented on Facebook. "It is utter BS. I am so proud of you for using this awful experience to bring awareness and empower other women."
Another person said, "You did an amazing job standing up for yourself and your child. Anyone offended by a breastfeeding mother can put a blanket over their head."
"This makes me so angry for you!!!" someone else said. "Thank you for being such a great mama and standing up for yourself and ALL of us."
Well said, mamas.
In response to the the widespread backlash, Texas City released the following statement, according to USA Today:
We, the City of Texas City are reviewing the nursing concerns raised at the Nessler Pool and how it was addressed by our staff. We apologize to Misty Daugereaux as it is clear she was offended by how she was treated at our City Facility. City policies and procedures will be reviewed and revised as deemed necessary. Any deficiencies regarding our employee's actions will be addressed with further training.
Speaking of policies, it's legal for parents to breastfeed in public in Texas, according to People. That being said, the Texas Breastfeeding Coalition notes that parents "may be asked to breastfeed in the restroom or leave a business," and if this happens, then "they have no legal recourse under the current law."
Every parent deserves the right to feed their child anywhere they please. Breastfeeding is not a sexual or inappropriate act, and lawmakers, including those in Texas, need to put better laws in place to protect and support parents and their children.