Breastfeeding Mom Gets Kicked Out of an ER & Hospital Admits to 'Mistake'

Ariana Elders
WSFA

No mother should feel ashamed for breastfeeding her child in public, especially while waiting to receive medical care from a doctor. That is why Ariana Edler's story is so infuriating. The mom from Athens, Atlanta, said a security guard asked her to stop breastfeeding while waiting for her 4-year-old son to be seen at a hospital that specializes in medicine for women and children. Now, the hospital is calling the unfortunate incident a "mistake."

  • Elders explained that she had gone to the hospital because her older son was sick -- and she expected to be treated with compassion and care.

    Speaking with WSFA 12, Elders said she took both of her children -- her 4-year-old son and her 4-month-old boy, Deklin, to the emergency room at Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children because he wasn't feeling well. “We got there around 11:30 to get my 4-year-old seen," the mom said of their trip Sunday night. But it was when her little one started to fuss that their visit took a turn for the worse. 

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  • The mom said she started to nurse Delkin but was quickly told that she needed to breastfeed "in private."

    Speaking of the "embarrassing" incident that happened in the waiting room of the hospital, Elders recalled how the security guard spoke to her while trying to get her to stop breastfeeding. "I started feeding my son and about five minutes later he comes up to me. He’s like, ‘Ma’am, you’re not breastfeeding are you?’ I was like, ‘Yeah!’ Because it was obvious I was breastfeeding," she explained. 

    “He said that according to the Huntsville Hospital rules that they’ve had implemented for years, a breastfeeding mother had to be in a room,” she continued, but according to the report, no such law exists. In fact, Alabama state law allows woman to breastfeed in "any location, public or private, where a mother is authorized to be present." 

    Normally Edlers has no issues nursing in public, but she said that the incident almost brought her to tears. She didn't want the confrontation to escalate any further, so she agreed to nurse somewhere else. The guard then escorted her to a room where she was allowed to breastfeed.

  • Now, the hospital where the mom was shamed is apologizing for the incident and admitting the guard made a mistake.

    A representative for Huntsville Hospital confirmed that the medical facility does in fact follow Alabama state law, which allows mothers to breastfeed in public, and it offered an apology to Elders for the traumatic incident, sending this statement to WAFF 48:

    "Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children allows breastfeeding in public. In Mrs. Elders’ situation a member of our staff made a mistake. We spoke with her earlier today and apologized. We want to assure her and our community that we are reviewing our training process to ensure our staff recognize, respect and uphold the rights of breastfeeding mothers."
    Elders explained she shared her story so other mothers will understand their rights and not be hassled in the same way she was."[Mothers] need to stand up for themselves. It is legal to breastfeed wherever you want," she said. "Feed your child whether by breast or bottle. You know, don’t let anybody shame you for making your child healthy.”

    She said she doesn't want the guard to get fired for the mistake but hopes that this can be a teachable moment for everyone to learn from.

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