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From Ann-Marie Luciano:<br><br>
On Monday, May 24th, at approximately 10:30am, I was nursing my 3 month old son on a bench in the Francis Scott Key mall near the children's play area (near Value City and DSW). I had my shirt on and lifted up one side to nurse him. Just the top part of my breast was exposed as I nursed, as my son covered up my stomach and nipple (not that it would matter anyway if I was more exposed). While I was nursing a woman who worked at the mall customer service desk that was nearby came up to me and asked me if I knew that there was a nursing room in the mall. I told her that I was not aware of the nursing room and I continued to nurse. She then asked me if I'd go to the nursing room to nurse. I told her I would not, that I was okay nursing on the bench. She then asked me again to either go to the nursing room or to cover up with a blanket because she was uncomfortable "and there are kids around." I told her that under MD law I had a right to nurse in any public or private place and that I was not going to either leave to go to the nursing room or put a blanket over my son's head. I added that if she was uncomfortable, she could cover her head. A mom who was in the play area with her kids then came over and said, "I agree with her - can you please go somewhere else or cover up? My KIDS are here." I told the mother that I was fully within my rights to remain on the bench and nurse my son. She then replied: "But my son asked me, "Mommy, why is that lady putting her boob in that baby's mouth?" and I don't know what to tell him. I told her: "Tell your son that that mom is feeding her baby the way moms have fed their babies for millions of years." A female security guard came over to me and asked that I either go to the nursing room or cover up with a blanket. I told her that under MD law I had a right to breastfeed in any public or private place. The security guard continued to state, "but this is private property" and I continued to remind her that MD law entitled me to nurse on private property as well. All women eventually left to go complain to the head mall office. I finished nursing about 5 minutes later and then left the mall.<br><br><br>
I returned to the mall on Tuesday, May 25th, and dropped off a copy of the MD breastfeeding law (which is linked here: <a href="http://fha.maryland.gov/mch/bf_mdlaw.cfm" target="_blank">http://fha.maryland.gov/mch/bf_mdlaw.cfm</a>) to the head office. The gentleman in the office told me that a few people complained about me breastfeeding. He said, "I know your rights" but I asked him to advise his employees of the law anyway since obviously they weren't aware of MD breastfeeding law.<br><br><br>
As a result of this experience I am filing a complaint with the MD Attorney General office and organizing a nurse-in on Saturday, June 5th from 11am-1pm at the Francis Scott Key Mall (500 Buckeystown Pike Frederick, MD 21703). We will meet in the children's play area in front of Value City/DSW. What bothered me so much about this experience is that I couldn't just feed my baby in peace - I had three different women come up to me and ask me to move or cover up. I stood my ground because I know my rights and because it is important to me that I feed my baby in the way that is best for me. Nursing mothers are not lepers and do not need to hide in nursing rooms in the back corner of the mall (nor do they need to run around with a crying child trying to find a nursing room). Nursing mothers also do not need to cover up in any particular way. I have a lot of latching issues with my son so I need to constantly be able to see what I'm doing so putting a blanket over his head doesn't work for me. I'm not going to change the way I feed my son to please other people. The MD breastfeeding law clearly states that "[a] person may not restrict or limit the right of a mother to breastfeed her child." By telling me where (the nursing room) or how (with a blanket) to nurse my son, the employees of the Francis Scott Key Mall were restricting and limiting my right to breastfeed. In order for the mall to get the message that this is unacceptable and illegal, and to raise awareness of nursing mothers' rights, I'm organizing this nurse-in.<br><br><br>
I have three goals: (1) to send a message to Francis Scott Key Mall that they must abide by the law and not restrict or limit a mother's right to nurse her child; (2) to increase awareness of a nursing mother's right to nurse her child in any public or private place without restriction or limitation; and (3) to increase awareness of breastfeeding in the public at large, with the hope that breastfeeding will become so commonplace that more and more women will feel comfortable nursing their children wherever they may be hungry. It is incidents like this that discourage women from breastfeeding, which countless studies show is most beneficial for the child. I strongly believe that the more women who breastfeed in public the more culturally accepted this natural form of feeding will become.<br>
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Directions to the mall and a copy of the MD breastfeeding law are pasted below. Please forward this to your friends and all nursing mothers (or friends of nursing mothers) that you know. I don't know what size crowd we'll have on Saturday, but if it is really big we should all be mindful of not blocking any entrances while we nurse. See you on Saturday!<br><br><a href="http://www.shopfskmall.com/about_us/directions" target="_blank">http://www.shopfskmall.com/about_us/directions</a><br><br><a href="http://fha.maryland.gov/mch/bf_mdlaw.cfm" target="_blank">http://fha.maryland.gov/mch/bf_mdlaw.cfm</a>
 

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<span style="font-family:'Palatino Linotype';"><span>I was at FSK last week and noticed the nursing room, which I thought was a great advancement in breastfeeding awareness. I believe though that a women has every right to FEED her child wherever and whenever the child is hungry. You are a very brave women, unfortunately I was always afraid to nurse in public. People have become so bold in thinking that they can voice their opinion to anyone. Society scares me, the fact that we were given breasts either by god or evolution to feed our children and some see that as a sexual act is disgusting.</span></span>
 

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Darn it! I won't be in MD until 6/28! I would love to attend the nurse-in, even though I don't currently have any nurslings, just to show support...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Tell the mall what you think! <a href="http://www.shopfskmall.com/tools/contact_us" target="_blank">http://www.shopfskmall.com/tools/contact_us</a><br><br>
We're putting this out on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, TONS of local listservs, forums, anything. We encourage others to share this story too. The mom has been interviewed by a DC news station too.
 

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<div style="font-style:italic;">I told the mother that I was fully within my rights to remain on the bench and nurse my son. She then replied: "But my son asked me, "Mommy, why is that lady putting her boob in that baby's mouth?" and I don't know what to tell him. I told her: "Tell your son that that mom is feeding her baby the way moms have fed their babies for millions of years."</div>
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Oh, for heaven's sake! What does she think breasts are for??????
 

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I'd be very curious to hear if she gets a positive response from the MD Attorney General. I have never seen that page before and have never heard of anyone complaining to the MD Attorney General. If the A.G. Is taking this on, that is a resource that needs to be more widely disseminated.
 

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To Ann-Marie Luciano: good for you for standing your ground! I hope I can send them an e-mail (see location). <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ann-Marie was interviewed by WUSA9<br><a href="http://www.wusa9.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=102084&catid=158" target="_blank">http://www.wusa9.com/news/local/stor...2084&catid=158</a><br><br>
Her story aired at the 5 pm and 11 pm news cast!
 

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Great job mama, I've also sent comments to the mall through their site suggesting that they now post "Breastfeeding welcome here" signs throughout the mall.
 

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I've lost track of the email, but I'm in MD and have been following this on our local AP moms group and I believe the mall management has been very supportive of the nurse-in. Their statement was very positive in regards to supporting nursing at the mall. They used the words "anytime and anywhere" which is always good. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"><br><br>
Wish I could be there with my MD mamas in Frederick today! Hope all goes well and hope to see some coverage of the event and familiar faces on the news!
 
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