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Mom refuses to back down when museum tells her to stop breastfeeding

Gemma Hartley is a freelance writer with a BA in writing from The University of Nevada, Reno. She lives in Reno with her husband, three young kids, an awesome dog and a terrible cat.

Museum makes important changes after employee shames breastfeeding mom

An Ohio museum has issued an apology to one of its patrons, after an employee demanded that the mother not breastfeed in the museum, claiming it was against museum policy. Emily Locke was visiting the Western Reserve Historical Society while taking family photographs for her sister’s wedding. When Locke paused to feed her infant, she was quickly approached by a museum employee who told her, “You aren’t allowed to do that here.”

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Locke stood her ground, but she was left feeling upset with how poorly the situation was handled. She later posted about the incident on Facebook, and the post soon went viral, prompting a quick apology from The Western Reserve Historical Society. They stated that there is no museum policy against breastfeeding and nursing mothers are welcome to enjoy the museum with their families.

This past weekend I was in my sisters wedding. It was a beautiful day darkened by one situation. While taking pictures...

Posted by Emily Locke on Monday, March 21, 2016

Locke was satisfied with the apology and even said that she may visit again, hoping to find a more inviting atmosphere than the one which marred her sister’s wedding. Her refusal to budge and desire to educate museum staff will hopefully lead to a more positive environment for breastfeeding mothers. Director Angie Lowrie said the incident prompted better staff training for museum employees so no other breastfeeding mother has to endure such a scene.

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Breastfeeding laws can only go so far in helping mothers when employees are so prone to mishandling interactions with breastfeeding mothers. The only way to shift away from the sort of environment Locke encountered is to raise breastfeeding awareness, something many businesses are clearly lacking in their training.

Though these incidents of employees attempting to stop mothers from breastfeeding are not uncommon, women like Locke who speak up for themselves are helping steer us in the right direction. By highlighting the need for a more friendly and inviting environment for nursing mothers, we are moving the dial closer toward normalizing breastfeeding. No mother should feel shamed or bullied for feeding her child, especially when it is her legal right to do so.

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