Far too often, we hear stories of breastfeeding moms who are shamed or criticized for pumping or feeding their babies in public. Only last week in Georgia, a man asked a breastfeeding mom to cover up as she fed her 2-month old, but she had the perfect clap back for him: She offered to give him a cover… for his face. (Cue crying-laughing emoji.) In addition to delivering a truly epic comeback, the nursing mom also gave the man an important lesson about breastfeeding laws in the United States.
On April 21, Avery Lane posted a story on Facebook about her recent experience with a manager at H&R Block. “So I was breastfeeding my 2 month old at a H&R Block on a military post when the manager asked me ‘Can you cover up with a towel or something?’” she recounted. “I was completely shocked so I raised my voice slightly and said ‘No but I have a muslin if you would like to cover your face. You must not know Georgia's breastfeeding laws.’” Georgia — like 48 other states and the District of Columbia — has laws in place allowing women to breastfeed in public.
When the manager asked her leave, Lane called in the Military Police to notify him of her rights. “I'm glad they came and informed him that he could not tell me to leave,” she wrote. “Also one of the MPs told me that there is nothing wrong with a mother breastfeeding her child.” Lane concluded, “I'm only posting this because I hope more moms will stand up to normalize breastfeeding. I refuse to cover my child or nurse in my car.”
Lane’s post has gone viral in the last week, racking up 44,000 “likes.” A couple days after posting about the incident on Facebook, Lane recorded a YouTube video (below) to answer some of the questions she’s received from commenters. She clarified that she’s not looking for the H&R Block manager to be punished, only educated. “I don’t want anyone to be fired from their job, their source of income,” she explained. “If anything, I felt like it warranted him to be educated, and he was educated whenever I called the MPs.”
She added that, despite this experience, she’s not going to change the way she nurses. “I have no plans on using a cover when I nurse…. I personally don’t care for covers, and [my son] doesn’t either,” she said. “… My child is my top priority, and nursing him is natural and normal.”
Lane also emphasized that her negative experience with the manager at H&R Block was an unusual one. “I don’t want people … to be scared or nervous that someone’s going to approach them and say something to them because nine out of ten times, I don’t have this issue at all,” she said. However, her story shows that, if a nursing mom does run into a problem, she has the right to advocate for herself and her child — and in 49 states (What's the deal, Idaho?), the law is on her side.