Mom Thrown Out of Public Pool for Breastfeeding Her Son: 'I'm So Hurt, Embarrassed and Ashamed'
Misty Daugereaux was breastfeeding her son when she was asked to leave a public pool.
It was 90 degrees Sunday and Texas mom Misty Daugereaux headed to the community pool with her two small sons, looking for cool relief and a chance to let her boys run themselves ragged.
What she got for her trouble was being thrown out of the city aquatic center for breastfeeding her 10-month-old, Maxx, she said.
"I'm so hurt, embarrassed and ashamed, that this is what Texas City stands for," the upset mother posted to her Facebook page. "My son asked, momma, why won't they let you feed Maxx?"
Her post went viral, with other breastfeeding moms taking up the cause and staging a "nurse-in" at the Nessler Family Aquatica on Monday, where about 20 moms, with and without their children, showed up to protest.
Some fed their babies as television news cameras rolled.
Mayor Matthew Doyle issued a statement Monday saying the incident was being reviewed. "We apologize to Misty Daugereaux as it is clear she was offended by how she was treated at our city facility. ... Any deficiencies regarding our employee's actions will be addressed with further training."
The Texas City Police Department released bodycam footage of an officer responding to a call from the pool's manager. But it ended up adding fuel to the controversy when the officer is clearly heard telling the manager, "That's all fine and dandy, but sit in a chair and cover up. Don't sit there with both your t**s out."
The department declined comment when contacted by InsideEdition.com. "The chief isn't responding to anything said on the tape," Cpl. Allen Bjerke said.
"I was completely heartbroken. I was appalled at the terminology he used," Daugereaux told InsideEdition.com. "I was taken aback."
Everything about Sunday's encounter stunned Daugereaux, she said.
It all began in the afternoon, as she sat on the pool's ledge with Maxx while her other son, 4-year-old Noah, cavorted on the slide. "Maxx decided it was time to eat," she said. "He doesn't usually wait for anyone else's schedule."
The woman's one-piece had a slit in the front, which allowed her to "pull it over to the right or left for him to latch on, and then cover back up," she said. At no time were her breasts both fully exposed, she said.
A lifeguard later approached her from behind and looked over. "He said, 'Ma'am, are you breastfeeding?'" Daugereaux answered in the affirmative. "He said, 'You can't do that. This is a public pool.'''
Daugereaux said she certainly could breastfeed in public, and encouraged him to ask someone else on staff. He fetched the manager, she said, who also told the mother she had to cover up or leave.
Texas law allows mothers to breastfeed any place the mother is legally allowed to be.
"I said, 'I'm not leaving this pool for breastfeeding my son,''' Daugereaux recalled. The mother said she was being discreet, but had to stay near the pool in case Noah lost his balance or needed help.
The manager called police. The officer who arrived is told by the manager the mother "was getting outraged" and cursing at the lifeguard, according to the bodycam footage.
The cop then approaches Daugereaux and asks, "What happened?"
"I was feeding my baby," she answers.
"Did you cuss that lifeguard?" he asks.
"Absolutely not," she replied.
After speaking again with the manager and the lifeguard, the officer tells Daugereaux that staff would like her to leave.
"I don't understand how it's right," Daugereaux says. "It isn't fair that I can't feed my baby."
"That wasn't the issue," the officer says. "The issue was that you were cussing out a lifeguard."
"So it's her word against mine that I'm cussing out a lifeguard?" Daugereaux said.
"I wasn't here so I don't know," the officer responds. "I'm just telling you that they're asking that you leave, OK?"
"Yes, sir," Daugereaux answers, and then she began packing up her kids and belongings.
"I had no intentions of going to the pool to offend anyone," she said. She left the pool in tears.
After her Facebook post drew dozens of comments, "I was absolutely overwhelmed," she said. "I could never have imagined getting so much support."
At Monday's nurse-in, Daugereaux said she knew not a soul. "These moms came with a vengeance," she said. "You would have thought it happened to them."
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