An Oklahoma mom says she was kicked out of a shopping mall for breastfeeding her 9-month-old son.
Jacquelyn Daugherty was shopping at Lawton Central Mall in November when her son got hungry. She found a nearby table and started nursing him, until a security guard approached her and told her to leave.
"He told me that it was indecent exposure, and that I needed to go to my car or the restroom. And I handed him my Oklahoma breastfeeding law card, and he said that it doesn’t matter, that I’m on the mall’s property, and that I need to leave,” Daugherty told KSWO. “So I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it at the time. I just decided that I was going to pack up and leave; I’ll just go home and nurse him.”
Daughtery, along with the breastfeeding rights group La Leche League, is planning a nurse-in for Friday at the mall with other nursing moms.
"We’re going to meet up and we’re all going to nurse our babies together so none of us feel like we’re being singled out,” Dougherty said. “We’re all together, we’re all going to be confident in this. We’re all going to let it be known we’re okay with this and it’s okay to do this and we legally can.”
Doughtery also pointed out that many moms across the country are being intimidated from following their legal rights to breastfeed in public.
“There are a lot of moms in America today that are constantly being put down just for nursing their children,” Daugherty said. “It shouldn’t matter how you take care of your baby as long as you take care of them. It shouldn’t be a thing where people just stare and criticize and say bad things about me because all I’m doing is being a mom.”
Lawton Central Mall told PEOPLE in a statement that they have alternative locations for mothers to breastfeed and that they are addressing the situation.
“At Central Mall Lawton, we are committed to providing our customers and employees with an enjoyable shopping environment. As part of this commitment, we provide many offerings designed for families including family bathrooms, nursing areas and play areas. We also have a private nursing area in our ladies restroom. As a family-friendly destination, we do allow women to breastfeed in the center and are addressing the recent situation involving a nursing mother.”
Photo credit: KSWO