I ran across this on my facebook page and I thought I would share with other South Florida lactivists. There is a nurse-in tomorrow to protest:
A breastfeeding mommy was asked to leave and security was called at Aventura Mall because she was nursing her baby. This event is to support her and all mothers who choose to nurse in public. It is also to educate them on the law that protects nursing mothers in Florida. Please join us at Aventura Mall in front of The Rainbow Valley Playground in front of Sears. Lets join together and nurse our babies to show support. All are welcome even mommies who are not nursing anymore. Here is her story...
Today I wanted to stay dry and cool and had a few things to pick up at Aventura, so I decided to head over for an "easy" and fun afternoon with the kids. We were having a great time, the kids were playing and I was chatting with another mom when Chloe (13 month old) climbed into my lap to nurse. I pulled up my top and she latched on and I did not even miss a beat of my conversation with the other mom. After a few minutes, the playground attendant (Walgenese) walked over and asked me if I had a blanket, when I asked why........she asked me to "cover up." She said that if I was going to stay in there nursing that I had to cover up, otherwise I could not nurse in there. I, of course said that what I was doing was 100% legal and that she had no right to ask me to cover up when my daughter was nursing. I then lifted my shirt up and completely uncovered Chloe and my breast (Chloe was still latched on) and I told her that I could nurse covered or uncovered. She again told me I could not and then walked away, she seemed really uncomfortable. Of course the other mom I was talking to was shocked by the whole situation as was I. I have been nursing my son who is almost 4, every single day since the day he was born and my daughter as well. I have never encountered anyone who has actually said anything like this to me, I have of course had people give me dirty looks, etc........but that has never affected me. I was shocked, it was extremely emotional for me. I also felt sorry for the attendant because I knew that she was being instructed to say this to mothers, so I walked over to her and apologized for getting emotional and told her that I understood she was just trying to protect her job by doing as instructed by her superiors, but that she should inform her superiors of the law in the state of Florida. She informed me that she was fairly new there and that she had been told at meetings to ask mothers to cover up with blankets, etc. She also told me that it was in the written rules, so I asked her to show me. She could not find it, so I told her to let me know when she did find it. I sat back down and continued my conversation, which of course was no longer pleasant, but now about being disrespected while nourishing my daughter.
Walgenese walked over told me she couldn't find it anywhere and that the only thing she found about breastfeeding was that food and drinks are not allowed in the playground, only breastfeeding and bottle feeding. As she was telling me, another employee was walking by and she asked him for advice. This is when things to a turn for the worst. He (Luis) was very nasty and inappropriate and reiterated that I was not allowed to breastfeed in the playground without covering up out of respect to others. I again explained the law which he said did not apply in there because it is a private area. He was on the phone, I thought with his supervisor and walked away from me to the entrance of the playground. I was so shaken that I collected my kids and walked out, past the rope because I felt uncomfortable staying somewhere I was not welcome. (I nurse on demand, so I will not push my daughter away if she wants to nurse). As I was packing up my stroller I asked Luis if he had just hung up with his supervisor and that's when he informed me he called security. I asked him why and at that point a woman security guard walked up, Luis and I explained what was happening. By this point I had pulled up the statute on my phone regarding breastfeeding and I tried to show her and the other employees, but they refused to look at it. The security guard at first also told me I had to cover up, but then she seemed to understand my point, luckily and then she called her supervisor. He walked up a few minutes later, I showed him the statute and then he explained it to everyone else. Throughout the entire process, which was so degrading because I had eyes on me from every direction, Luis was so rude......he should definitely not be working around mothers and children. Before leaving, I asked for Luis' supervisors info. I called her and I hoped for some compassion and for her to tell me that this was all a big misunderstanding. Not the case at all, so I asked why mothers are asked to cover up in the playground. Her answer was that because there are children in there and if they see a breast or part of a breast that they could be traumatized. I then asked her if sheer and sexy clothing was allowed in the playground and she then basically directed me to the mall legal team.
I called the mall lawyer once I was settled into my car and I had an interesting conversation with him. He of course is aware of the law and told me he would have a talk with all of the employees. He said that the reason they ask for moms to cover up is because sometimes other people complain, he even went as far as to tell me that sometimes mothers take off their tops. (Which I don't believe). I reminded him that this is a very sensitive issue and that mothers have a right to breastfeed anywhere and everywhere. I asked him where they would draw the line, if people are complaining about breastfeeding mothers then what about outfits that someone may find inappropriate. That's when he brought up guys that were wearing their pants low with the underwear showing and that security asked them to raise their pants up and that then he received phone calls from activists saying the mall was racial profiling. He also mentioned that he is working on incorporating a private "nursing station" where moms can nurse privately of they choose. It's just such an unbelievable conversation to have, I never thought I would be in a situation like this. I apologize for the wordiness of my story, but it did not want to leave anything out. This should not be happening, it is 2014, not 1950. It was such a weird experience, I felt like I had to defend myself and breastfeeding in public.