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Doctor refuses to accommodate breastfeeding mom in his office

Monica Beyer is a mom of four and has been writing professionally since 2000, when her first book, Baby Talk, was published. Her main area of interest is attachment parenting and all that goes with it, including breastfeeding, co-sleepin...

Nursing mom received terrible treatment at long-awaited doctor visit

When a breastfeeding mom brought her baby to a doctor's appointment for herself, she was surprised at the terrible treatment she received.

Nichole Moore couldn't believe how this doctor visit, that she had waited two months for, turned out. The Florida mom of one had been anticipating the visit (a psychiatric evaluation) because she was in desperate need of help, but the doctor she saw only added to the stress.

"Right away, I could tell he wasn't thrilled with my baby being with me," Moore says. "He asked me to tell him why I was there as soon as we entered his office and I gave him three reasons." Instead of giving her his attention, the doctor instead told her that she needed to take the visit seriously, even though Moore reports she was perfectly capable of talking while dealing with her 8-month-old baby.

She relates that her baby was fussy so she let her play with some paperwork while she continued to tell her story, and was again interrupted by the doctor who informed her that she couldn't let her non-walking infant walk around the room. She held her baby and swayed back and forth, but at this point, she was getting very upset. "I could sense that he didn't like her being there and felt like he was intentionally giving me a hard time," she says.

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After these first few bumps, she says during the next 10 or so minutes, things went great as they continued to talk. However, it didn't last. When her baby motioned to nurse, she asked the doctor if that was OK, and she was shocked when he said no. "He said that by me nursing her, I wouldn't be giving him my full attention," she shares. "I said, 'Are you kidding me?!' I can do both, and I told him that I've never had an issue multi-tasking in any appointment ever!"

After insisting that a woman be present in the room if she wanted to feed her child, he brought in the receptionist who informed her that she needed to leave and reschedule the appointment. After Moore gathered her stuff and made her way to the front desk, the receptionist told her that breastfeeding makes the doctor uncomfortable and apologized. Moore decided against rescheduling the appointment, and left.

Moore says the office has a policy that patients shouldn't bring along older children who can understand or be affected by topics that are discussed, but her child is still a young baby and that didn't apply. Also, as nearly any breastfeeding mom will tell you, nursing a hungry, tired infant will generally put her to sleep, and you can easily focus on other tasks while nursing.

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Even if the doctor had preferred that his patients did not bring along their kids to their appointments, he could have treated her with kindness and compassion, followed by letting her know at the end of their session that in the future, it would be best if she didn't bring her baby along. Regardless, the situation didn't escalate until she asked if she could breastfeed her baby, which is when she was ushered out with fanfare — so it seems it was the breastfeeding, and not the baby, that was the deal-breaker.

Florida has a state law that specifically protects the right of a mother to breastfeed her baby wherever she is legally allowed to be. When are people going to realize that moms can nurse their children, and that is OK?

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