Breastfeeding Mom Shamed for Nursing 9-Week-Old ... in Private

breastfeeding babyAnother day. Another breastfeeding mom turning to the media after being shamed for nursing her child without a cover. But Andrea Zeledon-Mussio's story is putting a whole new spin on what it means to "nurse in public."

The mother of two wasn't breastfeeding in a store or a park when she was hassled by a Long Island cop. She wasn't whipping out a breast in front of strangers.

In fact, this mom was doing what countless breastfeeding mothers do every day -- just so they aren't hassled by prudes.

Zeledon-Mussio was in her own car! Parked in front of the police station in Wading River, New York, the mom of a 12-year-old and a 9-week-old claims she was approached by a cop who told her several times that she needed to cover up. She did -- albeit reluctantly -- but she says she's speaking out now because she wants to make sure other folks know public breastfeeding isn't illegal in New York State.

But here's the thing, she wasn't breastfeeding in public. She was in the privacy of her own car.

We've heard of moms being hassled for nursing in public. But now they can't even nurse in private without being bothered?

It's troubling any time a breastfeeding mother is harassed for doing what it is her body is made to do -- let's just get that out of the way. But it's particularly upsetting when a mom goes and hides out ... and still can't catch a break.

How many times have you been in an online forum about breastfeeding only to see a troll suggesting a mother COULD go hide in a bathroom or in her car to nurse so the rest of the world "doesn't have to see it"? It's antiquated thinking -- it's true -- but even the trolls seem to get that moms need SOMEWHERE to breastfeed.

But then we face the reality that even in your own car, you can be hassled for breastfeeding your hungry child.

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Which begs the question -- what is left for mothers? Where, exactly, is society going to let us nurse in peace? At home? Barefoot? With one hand stirring a pot of sauce?

Because that's really the root of this, isn't it? The folks who express horror and shock at a breastfeeding mother will try to tell you it's sexual and oh dearie me, think of the children, but at the end of the day, we all know there's nothing sexual about a small child eating their lunch.

No, the real issue here is that moms -- nursing moms, working moms, moms who walk, talk, and dare to breathe the rarefied air of everyone else -- are still often treated like second-class citizens. We are expected to be seen and not heard, to keep our mommyhood to ourselves ... and God forbid our kids squawk in the grocery store or get hungry and want some lunch while we're out of the house. 

The fight for the right to breastfeed in public -- or heck, in private! -- isn't just about a baby's right to eat on demand. It's a fight for moms to be recognized not just as mothers, but as human beings, as people who should be allowed to come out in the light and enjoy a regular, everyday existence ... even with kids in tow. We shouldn't be made to feel like we have to hide out at home lest someone, somewhere, take issue with us or our kids.

So the next time someone hassles you for breastfeeding, might we suggest you remind them it's not only illegal to bother you, but ask if it would be OK for you to ask THEM to stay locked at home all day just so the world isn't inconvenienced by seeing them?

Have you ever been hassled for nursing your baby? Where were you?


Image via Owen Franken/Corbis



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miche... micheledo

QUOTE: So the next time someone hassles you for breastfeeding, might we suggest you remind them it's not only illegal to bother you but ask if it would be OK for you to ask THEM to stay locked at home all day just so the world isn't inconvenienced by seeing them?


That attitude bothers me a little bit.  There is nothing illegal in ASKING.  In fact, you can even ask them to stay locked up at home all day!  Nothing wrong with asking.  The illegal part is when you require it, or try to force them (through threat of arresting them, getting them put in jail, etc).  I honestly don't mind when someone comes up to me politely and asks me to cover.  I won't necessarily comply, it may be a great opportunity to educate them.  Asking doesn't bother me.  It is when you imply I am doing something wrong or illegal!

Rhond... RhondaVeggie

I count feeding in the car as feeding in public so if I do that I am as discrete as I am feeding in any other public place. I keep my top shirt down close to baby's face so you'd need to be really trying hard to see any skin. At home I usually just wear a nursing tank and my whole boob is out. I wouldn't do that in the car or any other public place.

Snapp... SnappleQueen

Typical police behavior. Frankly, I'm surprised the cop didn't shoot her and the baby for making him unhappy.

Movie... Moviebuff

The car is not a private place get over it so you got asked to cover up boohoo.

nonmember avatar MJ

The following is the exact wording of the breastfeeding law in New York State as stated on their Breastfeeding Coalition website.

"New York State was the first state in the nation to pass a law protecting a mother’s right to breastfeed in public. It is a civil rights law, NY CLS Civ R 79-e (Article 7 Miscellaneous Provisions).

1994 NY ALS 98; 1994 NY LAWS 98; 1994 NYSN 3999 79-e Right to Breast Fed. Not with standing any other provision of law, a mother may breastfeed her baby in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be, irrespective of whether or not the nipple of the mother’s breast is covered during or incidental to the breast feeding."

Wisconsin's breastfeeding law actually states that no one is allowed to direct a mother to move to a different location or to cover her child or breast.

the4m... the4mutts

Why do some people want to walk around with some fat stick up their fat ass?

It just a tit. Get over it.

Einyn Einyn

I wouldn't count a car as private. Having sex in a car would be public to me. As would picking a nose etc. People can see.

Bruic... Bruickson

I didn't breast feed my daughter and I'm not sure if I will yet with any other children I may have but seeing a mother breast feed doesn't bother me at all. I don't understand why people get so upset over a boob. I've seen women wear low cut shirts that show more skin than a breast feeding mother! If I do decide to BF in the future I think I'd personally be more comfortable covered up but then again it also gets VERY hot and humid where I live so I could only imagine how uncomfortable that would be for both mom and baby. People really need to lighten up.

Willi... Willie24622

Quite honestly I'm profoundly disappointed in the previous comments. Why are we criminalizing or shaming nursing mothers? We are ok with people dressing their toddlers like teenagers but not with nursing mothers? If we all want to pull the modestly card why aren't we making people pull up their pants? I'm far more offended by the butt cracks and underwear I see in public. Grow up people, seriously she wasn't nursing at the table in a 5 star restaurant. 

nonmember avatar Mary

Would it be possible to write even one piece on public nursing without incorporating the phrase "whipping out a boob?" What a crass way to refer to nourishing our children. I have nursed 3 children and I'm unsure, how exactly does one "whip out a boob???"

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