A breastfeeding mom said that a New Jersey official called the cops after she refused to cover up while nursing her 2-year-old daughter.
Michelle Ayala was feeding her daughter Daisy at Franklin Pond Beach on July 31, when a woman from the park’s recreation committee walked over and asked her to cover up.
“She said, ‘I see what you’re doing there, do you think you can do that somewhere else?’ And before she finished, I said, ‘Legally, I’m allowed to nurse wherever I am,’ ” Ayala told NBC 4.
New Jersey law allows women to nurse in public or private. While the beach in question is a private facility, Ayala is a paying member.
Despite Ayala’s correct claim, the recreation committee member then called the police. Luckily, the officer who arrived was well-versed on breastfeeding laws.
“He said, I support you completely. Thank you for your time, thank you for your patience. I know this is silly, these are your rights and are you okay?” the mom of three recounted.
After the officer left, another New Jersey official — this time the committee administrator, Alison McHose — came over to Ayala and said she supported her right to breastfeed, but also asked her to cover up.
“I said I had the right to nurse here,” Ayala told the New Jersey Herald.
McHose said in a statement to the newspaper that they were trying to make the beach a “family-friendly area that is welcoming and accommodating to all.”
“We regret the situation made any of the guests feel uncomfortable and are using this as an opportunity to remind all involved of a woman’s right to breastfeed under New Jersey law,” she said.
Ayala said that she’s sharing her story to help other moms who may be too intimidated to breastfeed in public. She also organized a nurse-in protest at a free beach nearby.
“There are nursing mothers out there who are brand-new. And if someone came up to them [who is] that important in a suit and nice wedges, and confronted that brand-new mom, she would never nurse again,” Ayala said. “Or, she would just stay in her house, with all her children!”
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