Even though breastfeeding in public is allowed by law, nursing moms still have to deal with people who can't seem to understand that breastfed babies gotta eat, too. But according to a breastfeeding support page on Facebook, a request to cover up came from one rather outrageous source: A hospital. This breastfeeding mom was reportedly told to cover up by a hospital employee, and her response has breastfeeding advocates outraged.
Let's set the scene: According to the Facebook page Breastfeeding Mama Talk, Georgia mom Kymmie Snyder was at Candler Hospital in Savannah, Georgia for an outpatient procedure for her daughter. As she waited for her daughter to be called back, Snyder needed to nurse her son, who has cystic fibrosis. Snyder alleged in her Facebook post that a hospital employee placed a towel over her son's head as she tried to breastfeed him. When Snyder ripped off the towel, the outraged mom claimed the employee not only told her that it was hospital policy, but that she had to cover up if she wanted to remain in the hospital.
Representatives for Candler Hospital did not immediately respond to Romper's request for comment.
Snyder immediately questioned the employee, according to her Facebook post:
I asked her if she knew what she was doing was illegal? She then tries to tell me it is "hospital rules." WHAT THE HELL KIND OF HOSPITAL HAS EVER HAD THAT RULE!?
Snyder is right: It is illegal to ask breastfeeding mothers to cover themselves in public in the state of Georgia. Georgia Code Title 31. Health § 31-1-9 specifically states that "a mother may breast-feed her baby in any location where the mother and baby are otherwise authorized to be." In this case, Snyder was authorized to be at Candler Hospital as her daughter was reportedly there for surgery. As for covering up, according to website U.S. Legal, Georgia previously had a law on the books that breastfeeding moms must nurse in a "modest manner," but that specific provision was stricken from the law.
While Candler did not immediate return Romper's request for comment, a representative from Candler did reply to a review posting on Facebook about the incident. In the post, the representative stated: "We fully support breastfeeding and have no policies against breastfeeding at all. I am in touch with the mother and as soon as we can get back into town and reopen the hospital, we will investigate this fully." Candler Hospital had been evacuated in advance of Hurricane Irma.
Legality aside, this mom's experience with an employee who allegedly took it upon themselves to not only shame the mom for feeding her child, but physically covering her definitely crosses a line. Hopefully this incident and Snyder's attention to it will be what seems a much-needed teachable moment for hospital employees when it comes to breastfeeding in public and normalizing it as a whole.
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