Mothers Hold Nurse-In

Women say they're harassed for breast-feeding in public

By BJ Lutz and Anthony Ponce
|  Friday, Sep 4, 2009  |  Updated 6:31 PM CDT
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More than 30 mothers gathered near a Lincoln Square fountain and openly breastfed their babies on Friday to protest the harassment they say happens too frequently.

More than 30 mothers gathered near a Lincoln Square fountain and openly breastfed their babies on Friday to protest the harassment they say happens too frequently.

Not a boob job, but a job for boobs.

More than 30 mothers gathered near a Lincoln Square fountain and openly breast-fed their babies on Friday to protest against harassment.

The mom who organized the "nurse-in," Lauren Trost, said she was threatened by a woman while breast-feeding her infant son in a public park on a very warm day last month.

Trost said a woman told her that what she was doing was indecent and inappropriate and threatened to call the police.

Police never came, but Trost said she was upset by the exchange and contacted other mothers she knew.

"I was appalled, and I wanted to come out and support and hopefully get the education that everybody needs about breastfeeding," said Melissa Hill, one of the mothers who attended the nurse-in in Giddings Square.

Trost is apparently not alone. A number of mothers report having similar experiences in public places like restaurants, stores and the gym.

"I was asked to leave the pool and go to the locker room to feed the baby," mother Claire Shingler recalled of her experience. "I was really angry because I'm aware of the laws, and I know it's illegal to ask a woman to leave."

Illinois is one more of the more progressive states when it comes to breast-feeding legislation. The law states that it does not constitute public indecency, and mothers have the right to breast-feed in public with or without covering themselves with a bib.  Nursing mothers may also be exempt from jury duty if they request to be.

Trost said she hopes Friday's nurse-in will help change some opinions on breast-feeding.

"I'm really excited. I think we're going to turn a really negative experience into a really positive experience," she said.

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