Ariana Elders of Athens, Al. had to make a late night trip to the Huntsville Hospital on Sunday evening with her husband and their two children because their 4-year-old son was sick. But when they arrived to the Women & Children Emergency Room and Elders’ 4-month-old son became hungry, the mother was faced with a disheartening confrontation by one of the hospital’s security guards.
“I started feeding my son and about five minutes later he comes up to me,” Elders explained to WAFF. “He’s like, ‘Ma’am you’re not breastfeeding are you?’ I was like, ‘Yeah!’ Because it was obvious I was breastfeeding.”
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Despite having felt no embarrassment about feeding in public, Elders told the local Alabama outlet that the encounter nearly brought her to tears once the guard became persistent that she go to a private room. Especially because she knew that the security guard’s reasoning for telling her to do so was wrong.
“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 explained, while acknowledging that that isn’t the truth.
In fact, the Public Health Laws of Alabama states, “A mother may breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be present.”
Elders didn’t immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment. However, WAFF reports that she ended up leaving her husband and 4-year-old in the waiting room to finish feeding her youngest son in a private room in an effort to avoid further conflict. Now, she’s speaking out to ensure that other moms know that they shouldn’t be faced with a similar circumstance.
“They need to stand up for themselves. It is legal to breastfeed wherever you want,” Elders told WAFF. “Feed your child whether by breast or bottle. You know, don’t let anybody shame you for making your child healthy.”
A spokesperson for Huntsville Hospital sent the following statement to Yahoo Lifestyle:
Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children allows breastfeeding in public. We want to assure our community that we recognize, respect and uphold the rights of breastfeeding mothers.
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