Mothers Told Not To Breastfeed In Public

A small group of Michigan mothers were told that they were not allowed to breastfeed during a planned nursing flash mob at a local mall. What are the rules at the mall, and who was in the right? Read on and decide!

Breastfeeding in public

Somerset Collection, a mall in the city of Troy, Michigan, became the center of controversy when it prohibited a group of a dozen women from gathering for a peaceful breastfeeding demonstration.

A security guard approached local mother Mary Napoli, the event's organizer, shortly after she sat down to nurse her little boy. The security guard asked her to stop, and when she questioned his reasoning, she was told that the mall doesn't allow flash mobs. Additionally, the guard also stated that the mall doesn't even allow nursing in public.

This is in sharp contrast to the mall's official policy, which states that the mall does indeed allow breastfeeding. They do prohibit flash mobs, demonstrations and protests, but nursing in public is fine, according to Edward Nakfoor, spokesperson for The Somerset Collection.

Michigan, while not having a law specifically protecting the rights of those wishing to breastfeed in public, does state that a nursing mom is exempt from public nudity or indecent exposure citations when feeding her child. Forty-five states in America do have specific laws stating that mothers have a right to breastfeed in any place they have a legal right to be, whether it be a public or private place.

This is another case of employees of a company not following published breastfeeding protocol and it begs the question: are employees not being trained specifically on how to handle breastfeeding mothers, or are the employees acting on their own agendas and putting their own feelings ahead of company policy?

Tell us

What do you think of the mall security guard's decision to ask the breastfeeding moms to stop? Share in the comments.

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Comments on "Michigan breastfeeding flash mob quickly dispersed"

Terri luv breastfeeding June 01, 2012 | 3:21 AM

I was going to move to this state, but am breastfeedin and think i should pass, and making sure to tell my hubbie this.

Gramma Kim May 09, 2012 | 11:04 PM

@Courtney: in all seriousness, no self-respecting Puritan would bat an eye at a babe nursing at its mother's breast. @Gloria: c. 2000s my grandsons were nursed; c. 1980s my daughter (their mother) was nursed; c. 1960s I was nursed; c. 1940s my mother was nursed; c. 1920s my grandmother was nursed; c. 1900s my great-grandmother was nursed, and so on through a line that stretches back to Adam and Eve: an unbroken line of breastfed babies. So what is this "old fashioned" of which you speak? In fact, in the 1990s I worked at a retail store with a retired physician who was just keeping active at a sprightly old age. According to him, public breastfeeding was a commonplace sight in his boyhood. "A woman would take one shoulder out of her dress without shame or scandal, and nobody thought anything of it. It's just what women did. It's how babies were fed. Then," he said, "WWII came along and women had to go to work in the factories, so they started bottlefeeding and that generation just never went back to breastfeeding. But I always felt that breastfeeding was healthier for the babies, and now modern studies are proving me right. I'm glad to see the granddaughters of the Rosies are returning to Nature." So who is really "old fashioned" here?

Libby December 31, 2011 | 1:01 PM

AMEN Courtney and Megan!! That is what the female body was designed for, I breast fed all 4 of my babies and would do it again, especially given the Enfamil poisoning of powder formula! Babies thrive when fed properly and thats the most important thing in this!

Courtney December 29, 2011 | 11:32 PM

@Gloria- So, because I chose not to feed my child powdered animal milk from a plastic bottle I do not have class? I believe you are confusing class with your puritanical narrowmindedness. Do you realize that breasts are a part of the female anatomy for the specific purpose of feeding our offspring? Am I to stay indoors for the duration of my childs nursing year/years? Am I to hide, as though I am ashamed that I chose to feed my child the right and healthy way, everytime he gets hungry? YOU have no class. It is women like you who help the American society view breasts as pornographic objects- and you say you have class. Also, you say that is an old fashioned way of seeing things... Women have been feeding their babies the right way, BY BREAST, in view of others, for tens of thousands of years. How is that for old fashioned? You need some serious education.

Megan December 29, 2011 | 1:37 PM

I have nursed my child openly in this mall and will continue to do so...Id like them to tell me not to FEED my baby. Although Michigan does not specifically have laws to protect breastfeeding mothers, at least I can be assured that I won't end up on the offenders list for doing so. I can only hope that Michigan will soon become the 46th state to allow women to breastfeed in public, but I won't hold my breath.

Gloria Stalarow December 27, 2011 | 3:35 PM

I am old fashion and come from a place that was taught Class is not how much money one has but how one acts in public and treats people and of course how they dress.Somethings should remain behind closed doors,or the old saying,"there is a time and place for everything" unfortuantely society does not car about these old school teaching but this I refuse to let go of my beliefs just because people say its okay.

lfpalmer December 20, 2011 | 8:31 AM

So if their rules disallow protests, flash-mobs and demonstrations, that's that. These moms need to organize a play group and go shopping there again. Should their babies all be hungry around the same time, they will just be feeding their babies. How could anyone want to stop a mom from feeding her sweet little baby? Are they supposed to spend their first years locked inside their home? I think it more appropriate for families to boycott the mall entirely. Clearly it's not for families.

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