Mom Told She Can't Breastfeed in Public Because It's 'Illegal' -- by a Sheriff's Deputy

sheriffIn a story sure to make every mom's blood boil in righteous indignation, an Ohio woman was told that she couldn't breastfeed in the lobby of a county building because it was "illegal" -- and the person who told her she was essentially committing a crime was none other than a sheriff's deputy!


According to mother-of-two Alainna Nichols, when she sat down to breastfeed her 5-month-old son in the lobby of Montgomery County's Job & Family Services building (where she was waiting for boyfriend Jonathan Nilson to return from an errand), a deputy started "shouting" at her to stop.

“I was breastfeeding my 5-month-old son, and I had a toddler there with me who was running around. Within 10 seconds, (the deputy) started shouting at me from across the room,” Nichols said.

"You can’t do that here,” the deputy apparently told her, adding, “you need to cover that up or take it to the bathroom.”

“I thought he was a security guard," said Nichols.

"I didn’t realize he was a sheriff’s deputy at the time.”

More from The Stir: 15 Memes That Capture the Hilarity That Is Breastfeeding 

Knowing full well that she was within her rights, Nichols asked the guard if it was a "rule of the building" that she couldn't breastfeed, and the deputy answered "yes." (Not true.) Then he went so far as to say that breastfeeding in public is "illegal" (also not true). The issue still hadn't been resolved by the time Nilson got back to the lobby, at which point the deputy looked up some unrelated public indecency laws on his cell phone and tried to submit the info as proof that Nichols was doing something wrong. Said Nilson:

“He tried to show me that and tell me that’s why she couldn’t breastfeed in the job center. Because it was indecent exposure or public indecency. I laughed and said, that’s not breastfeeding laws.”

Still, the deputy wouldn't back down, insisting that Nichols breastfeed in the bathroom or put a blanket over her son's head.

“My baby doesn’t eat with a blanket over his head nor will I have him eat in the restroom. I don’t think you take your lunch in the restroom and eat it with a blanket over your head,” Nichols replied. 

I know, I know -- this story just keeps getting more and more infuriating. But it gets even worse: The deputy was so riled up that he refused to let the couple leave the building before performing a background check! 

Understandably, Nichols and Nilson have filed a complaint with the sherriff's office, which is conducting an investigation into the deputy's behavior. Because, as Ohio law states, "A mother is entitled to breast-feed her baby in any location of a place of public accommodation wherein the mother otherwise is permitted." 

That sounds pretty clear-cut to me, how about you? Nichols was allowed to breastfeed her baby in public -- as she should be, obviously -- so that vile deputy screwed up, big-time. (Apparently he claims people were "complaining," but since he started freaking out pretty much the second the baby started eating, that seems unlikely; even if his claims were true, Nichols still wasn't breaking the law, so that shouldn't matter.) As a mom-of-three who's currently breastfeeding, I can only hope that this intolerant fool gets punished for his intolerant foolery ASAP. But what I really hope is that he has some sort of epiphany wherein he comes to the realization that there's actually nothing gross or wrong about breastfeeding a baby in public -- because hey, guess what? That's what breasts are actually for, it turns out.


Image via clement127/Flickr

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