Church Kicks Mom Out Over Her Sinful Breastfeeding Ways

churchChurches are generally known as a place of welcoming for everyone. But a mother was shocked this past Sunday when she was told to either cover up while breastfeeding or leave the service. 

Up until last week, Tanya Ogle and her 7-month-old son, Braydon, attended Grace Church in Indiana. Over the past couple months, whenever Ogle would breastfeed during services, she was informed by staff that she could move to a nursing room or the restroom or stand behind a partition while nursing. Each week Ogle preferred to breastfeed openly. This past week when she again began to feed her baby during services, she says a staff member presented her with the usual list of amenities ... or the option to leave the church altogether. Ogle left, and is now looking for a new church. She had this to say about how she was treated: "Breastfeeding is not a sexual thing; women should not feel shamed or embarrassed to nurse where they need to."
It is a win for mothers everywhere when public spaces provide dedicated areas for nursing moms. The modern-day mother shouldn't have to feel trapped inside her home if she's nursing. Telling a breastfeeding mom to simply pump before going out so she can give her baby a bottle in public isn't helpful, as not all babies drink from a bottle. There's no reason nursing moms can't feed their babies while out in the world, and we need to have options for them beyond nursing in a toilet stall. It's a big sign of progress for women's rights when facilities create nursing areas. It's when we try to force women to cover themselves or use these spaces while nursing that's the problem. 
When we offer a nursing mom options like a private room or a partition and tell her that she must utilize them, it's no longer being presented as an option, but rather as an ultimatum. Provisions like nursing rooms and nursing covers are supposed to be there for the comfort of the nursing mother, not for the sake of those around her.
A flight attendant offering a passenger a blanket to use while nursing is being helpful; insisting that the nursing mom use the blanket is not. Creating a partition where moms can stand to hear church services while they nurse is a thoughtful way to provide privacy and prevent them from missing any part of the services. But telling a mom that she must stand there in order to nurse during services defeats the purpose of having a partition in the first place.
If a nursing mom is perfectly content to nurse where she, as she is, then there's no need to try to "help" her by asking her to change locations or cover up. Breastfeeding accommodations should be about what makes things easier and more comfortable for mother and baby, not everyone else nearby.
Hopefully Ogle will find a new congregation that welcomes her, her breasts, and her son with open arms.
Do you think there are some places where it's never acceptable to breastfeed? 

Image via Shutterstock/seanbear
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