Community Backs Breastfeeding Moms in 'Nurse-In' After They Were Asked to Cover Up
Police were called when Mary Davis and her sister-in-law Stephanie Buchanan breastfed their hungry sons at the pool.
A community of Minnesota moms came to the support of Stephanie Buchanan and Mary Davis, who had the police called on them for breastfeeding at a local pool.
More than 60 moms, dads, husbands, parents and friends flocked to the Mora Aquatic Center Saturday to stage a "nurse-in" to exercise their right to breastfeed in public.
"It was really just a gathering of a bunch of moms that fed their babies in public just to cancel the stigma of breastfeeding in public," Buchanan told InsideEdition.com. "We were really just demonstrating our rights."
Davis agreed, adding, "Whether you think someone should cover with a towel — you don’t care, you think people should do it in private — people’s opinions don’t matter. It’s already been decided by the law."
They explained the poolside nurse-in was originally planned by another mom in their community who was shamed for feeding her baby in public, but the event gained momentum after an incident Buchanan and Davis had at that same pool earlier that week.
Buchanan and Davis, who are sisters-in-law, had gone to the pool with sons, husbands, nieces and nephews for a family day by the pool.
The kids had jumped in the pool, and Buchanan and Davis watched from the side.
When Davis’ baby got fussy, she didn’t hesitate to nurse him.
"While I was nursing, a lady approached me and told me that I need to cover because her children were swimming,” she explained.
About 20 minutes later, they said pool staff approached her and asked her to cover up or go somewhere more discreet like a locker room to nurse.
Davis then responded that she is well within her right to breastfeed.
"She says, 'Okay, I’ll go let my management know,'" Davis said. "And that was the end of it."
Their family continued to enjoy their afternoon, and began packing up about 20 minutes later to head home.
That’s when a sergeant from the Kanebec County Sheriff’s Department approached them, and let them know the staff of Mora Aquatic Center had called authorities to deescalate the situation, although the women had the right to breastfeed in public, according to a police report.
"It was very humiliating," Davis said. “We were completely taken aback, we were so surprised because we never had anybody approach us before or even any negative feedback at all."
Buchanan added, “When we were leaving, it felt like we had our kids in tow, doing the walk of shame out of the pool. Everybody’s watching the scene unfold.”
Breastfeeding in public is legal as per Minnesota statute 145.905, Kanebec County Sheriff confirmed in a statement to InsideEdition.com, adding that breastfeeding is also a "well-established practice at the Mora Aquatic Center for decades."
The community is now planning another "nurse-in" for August.
Buchanan and Davis are also planning to press charges for discrimination following the incident at the pool.
City representatives did not respond to requests for comment by InsideEdition.com.
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