Breastfeeding Shaming Is Nothing New, But You Won’t Believe Who Condemned A Nursing Mom This Time

Even in this day and age, mothers are often made to feel uncomfortable when breastfeeding their infants in public.

But in all 50 states, breastfeeding in public is legal – and it is an illegal discriminatory act to approach a woman and condemn her for doing so.

Sadly, this hasn’t changed the fact that women are shamed for public nursing on a daily basis, and one mom’s story is particularly disturbing.

In the summer of 2018, Amy Marchant of Michigan was picking up her 4-year-old twins from the children’s worship area of Brighton Nazarene Church after attending the service.

With her was her infant daughter, who was becoming increasingly fussy, and Marchant knew she wouldn’t be able to wait to nurse her at home.

She sat on a bench and fed her baby as she always did, without a cover – something that is protected under Michigan’s Breastfeeding Anti-Discrimination Act of 2014.

When she returned home, she was shocked to find a message from a female staffer at the church, notifying her that she had made parishioners uncomfortable, and that she had been “immodest” in the way she nursed her baby.

She was also told that she must nurse her child either covered or in an empty classroom or restroom at the church going forward. 

It was not a suggestion.

Upset, feeling ashamed, and determined to stand up for other moms and the law, Marchant met with the church pastor and other church staffers.

They claimed to have “witnesses” who said that Marchant had bared both breasts uncovered – something that she vehemently denies.

She was also told that baring her breasts in church could lead to men and boys to having “lustful” thoughts in church.

It’s hard to imagine feeling like you’re the defendant in a criminal trial, just for trying to feed your child. 

Any woman would be disgusted and feel shamed by these comments, especially coming from their home church – the one place we should feel welcome, safe, and accepted.

She demanded an apology – received one that seemed half-hearted – and then spent months receiving derogatory comments on her Facebook page and feeling complete embarrassment over the whole situation.

Someone even sent a letter to her workplace, and she received comments questioning her faith for nursing in the open at church.

Though she never intended to bring forth a lawsuit, she wanted to make sure that her church – as well as all other businesses – understood the protections that the law holds for nursing moms.

Over a year after the incident, Marchant and the church just recently reached a settlement in the suit.  

Marchant says it was not a large sum, and that all of it is being donated to local breastfeeding advocacy groups.

The most important aspect for Marchant was that she and her attorneys met with church leadership to discuss the rights provided to Michigan moms by the 2014 Breastfeeding Anti-Discrimination Act.

The church has taken steps to update its policies and procedures on breastfeeding.

And Marchant wants everyone to understand that breastfeeding shaming must end.  

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She – and breastfeeding advocacy groups all across the country – want the public to stop sexualizing women who are simply trying to feed their children.

Marchant and her entire family were so upset over the situation and embarrassed that it had been suggested that she was “immodest,” that they have left the congregation for good.

She says she is not a natural advocate, but that she could not put the situation behind her until she spoke out and encouraged other mothers who have been shamed for nursing in public.

Both local and national advocacy groups have rallied around Marchant, encouraging women to speak out if they experience a similar incident.

This type of treatment and sexualization of women is not only illegal, but it’s also demeaning, and only serves to continue the stigma against public breastfeeding.

Mommy Underground has reported on many incidents of breastfeeding shaming, so visit our site for more content that encourages and supports mothers in all their different roles.

If you are a nursing mom, it’s always helpful to know the specifics of your state’s breastfeeding protection laws — and remember, your comfort and that of your child are the most important factor.

What do you think of the personal attack on this nursing mom by members of her church?  Leave us your comments.

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