Of all the places you might expect to be harassed for breastfeeding — a restaurant, an airplane, at the local mall — the one place that probably wouldn't make the list is your pediatrician's office. But that's exactly what happened, and why one woman became so upset.
"I'm so furious," Erin Peña recently posted to the Facebook wall of her local news station, KCBD News Channel 11. "I just got thrown out of my ObyGyn/Pediatrician's office for breastfeeding!"
According to Peña, she was in the waiting room of her doctor's office waiting for vaccines for her 4-month-old baby when the receptionist told her that she couldn't breastfeed in the lobby and that she had to go to the bathroom or to a back room. "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!"
Peña refused to stop breastfeeding, and the receptionist canceled her appointment. Knowing that she was within her rights, Peña went to the back to find the doctor and plead her case. That's when she was escorted out of the building by security.
Now, we can't know for sure how this half of the incident went down. It's possible that Peña was ranting and raving as she went into the back, looking for her baby's doctor. But what is clear is that this situation should never have occurred in the first place.
According to Texas state law, a woman is permitted to breastfeed her baby any place and any time — as long as the mother herself as permission to be there. So Peña was completely within her rights and what's more, she was at her pediatrician's office — a place where her breastfeeding should be encouraged and celebrated, not harassed and threatened.
For its part, the hospital has made a few fumbled apology attempts toward Peña. At the very least, it sounds like hospital officials need to re-educate some of their staff — including the receptionist and pediatrician — about the importance of breastfeeding and the Texas state law that protects a mother's right to do so.
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