Last time I checked, doctors are supposed to encourage mothers to breastfeed because they aren't in cahoots with the formula companies like they once were back in the early '70s. (Still some payola going on, I'm sure.) And while I know that over half of Americans are disgusted by the sight of a woman breastfeeding, I would think that a pediatrician's office isn't one of those places where she would be met with that kind of attitude. I was wrong.
While waiting for her 4-month-old son's vaccination appointment at University Medical Center in Lubbock, Texas, mom Erin Peña was breastfeeding in the waiting room when the receptionist told her to stop and go to the bathroom to nurse instead.
Peña posted on News Channel 11 KCBD's Facebook page:
I'm so furious and upset. I just got thrown out of my ObyGyn/Pediatrician's office for breastfeeding! The receptionist told me I couldn't breastfeed in the lobby and had to go to the bathroom or room in the back. I said I had the right to breastfeed anywhere. She said if I don't stop she will cancel my baby's appointment. His appointment was for his vaccines! I refused and she canceled it, so I went to find the doctor thinking she would be reasonable and she wasn't.
She was condescending, kept calling me honey. I said, "No one in the lobby even cared." She rudely said, yeah they do they just don't say it to your face.
I said they were wrong and it was illegal what they were doing. She called security on me and I left with the officer. The guy asked what happened and when I told him, even he was like, What? That's what this was about???
I'm so disgusted. My doctor even lied saying I was walking around with my breast hanging out, even though she never saw what happened. I was just sitting there in a chair. It was sickening.
Even though it's against the law, I would respect a restaurant's wishes if it asked me to leave, but a pediatrics's office at UMC??????
She sounds livid. And she should be. Going public with this is the right thing to do. Women are being discriminated against for breastfeeding far too often -- it's not only wrong, it's illegal. We have the right to breastfeed our babies wherever we have the right to be. And when people tell us to stop, to take it to the bathroom, those people need to be called out in order to educate the rest of the public who have this same kind of warped view of a child eating.
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Besides being discriminated against for breastfeeding, Peña was humiliated. She went farther into the office to find her doctor -- the doctor who delivered her baby -- to talk to her about the situation. And because she went into an area she wasn't supposed to be in without being called, security arrived to kick her and her 4-month-old baby out.
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Thankfully (or should I say of course) the hospital has apologized. UMC representative Eric Finley made a statement saying that the receptionist was wrong. "Our staff asked that woman to leave unless she covered herself up, which is absolutely wrong. We apologize to that mother and to all breastfeeding mothers."
I'd like to know what else happened. Was there a good chuckle at the office? Phew! That was a close one. Let's just apologize and get on with it. Or was there a big meeting with rolling eyes and people saying that breastfeeding is natural and moms shouldn't be told to stop? Is that enough? Was the employee fired? If so, I hear they are hiring Ebola screeners at NYC-area airports. Lots of covering up required in that job.
Do you think the hospital's apology to the breastfeeding mother was enough?
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