Local News

Public Breast-Feeding Sparks Controversy

Posted July 24, 2007
Updated July 25, 2007

— A Fort Brgg worker who breast-fed her infant in public found that the practice, although legal, is not always popular.

An anonymous person filed a complaint after Tabitha Redding breast-fed her 3-month-old son, Sean, while on her lunch break at the Coffee Scene in a Fort Bragg mini-mall.

"I covered myself up with this big bib and nursed him, and then I went back to work," Redding said.

Two days later, Redding said her boss called her and told not to nurse at work anymore because the Army and Air Force Exchange Services, which manages military malls, bans it.

The complaint claimed that Redding was nursing behind the counter, said Jason Rosenberg, AAFES acting general manager.

"She can go out into the food court and sit down and breast-feed, and we have no problem at all with that," Rosenberg said.

Redding denied that she would take her baby behind a counter with hot coffee.

She's breast-fed all three of her children at the mall during the seven years she's worked there and never had a complaint before, she said.

"I"ve always been modest about it. I'm trying to make myself as comfortable as the other people," Redding said.

Rosenberg attributed the warning to Redding to "a miscommunication" about AAFES policy.

"I didn't want it to be a battle," Redding said.

She said she wants to make sure, however, that other mothers know their rights.

Under both North Carolina and federal law, women may legally breast-feed in public, even if their breast is exposed.

81 Comments

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  • rlrmeyers Jul 26, 6:34 p.m.

    Joshua - "If you do it, I'm going to stare at you with the hopes it creeps you out. Because me seeing you breastfeed in public creeps me out!"

    Your comments contradict each other - it creeps you out, yet you're going to stare? That's real mature.
    There are a few things in this society that I don't approve of, but if the laws of the land protect people's rights and they aren't harming others, then I just remove myself from the situation if it bothers me. Maybe you should try it.
    You can move to a different area of the mall or restaruant or ask the flight attendant if there is a different seat. Or look away. You have options.
    (And just as an FYI - a breastfeeding infant is less likely to be screaming in these places than a hungry/scared/fussy one.)

  • Joshua Jul 26, 9:38 a.m.

    ncMOMof3: When seeing men urinating where they shouldn't, were you displeased? You should have been. Me seeing you breastfeed brings the same reaction. It shouldn't be done in public and I don't want to see it. If you do it, I'm going to stare at you with the hopes it creeps you out. Because me seeing you breastfeed in public creeps me out! If you want something sucking on your breast, let the sucking be in private. Not in the mall, not in a restaurant, not beside me on a plane or across from me on a bus. A park or outdoor space, hey, go for it! I can get away from you. I can afford you the privacy that you choose not to give yourself. But if I'm 'stuck' with you, you need to give those around you consideration.

  • ladyblue Jul 25, 8:19 p.m.

    I need to ask something, especially the person whose been to this place. If, and I say if she was sitting behind the counter, is there coffee carafes there with people or servers pouring coffee? If so and this had slipped from someones hand and spilled on her and the baby, would we not be yelling a different story. Each of you have jumped to such a defense to the woman breast feeding when the story on both days said it wasn't that she was breast feeding but behind the serving counter was no option. She herself said she fed the others in the mall. I would like to see if I misread the story. Yes I breast fed but I was more careful where I did it but that was in 72 also. More liberal people now. Why would this make news anyway. It's just a difference of opinion with two people. It's not like they kicked her out of the place.

  • Jugi Jul 25, 8:17 p.m.

    peppercorn: you chose not to breastfeed because you don't "like" it? Bit IT IS GOOD FOR YOUR BABY! How selfish!

    Studies have shown a history of breastfeeding to be associated with a reduction in the risk of acute otitis media, non-specific gastroenteritis, severe lower respiratory tract infections, atopic dermatitis, asthma (young children), obesity, type 1 and 2 diabetes, childhood leukemia, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and necrotizing enterocolitis.

    So sad...

  • NCMOMof3 Jul 25, 6:04 p.m.

    Joshua, I've seen males go #1 in a number of public places. Parks and along the interstate, just to name a few. Does that count as organs for bodily functions?

  • NCMOMof3 Jul 25, 6:02 p.m.

    umm, Joshua, I've seen a number of men urinate in public places, all along the side of the interstate, in parks, and other places. I guess that doesn't count, huh?

  • SpunkyGrits The One and Only Jul 25, 5:48 p.m.

    You pulled it out in public, you have a 15 pound kid swinging off of it and suckling like a pig... we're going to look! If you don't want us to look, DON'T PULL IT OUT IN FRONT OF US!! Pump and bottle, go someplace discreet, or stay at home. You pull it out, I'm going to stare; if nothing else, just to make you feel uncomfortable enough to stop doing it in front of me!
    Joshua

    That last sentence alone makes you sound very immature. If you don't like what you see, don't look.

    if a mother is breast feeding its not hard to put it in a bottle and do it that way. or just stay home, theres no reason to take kids everywhere you go. if you need to go out get a babysitter...
    ryanrnormile

    a.) not everyone is lucky enough to have baby sitters. b.) when was the last time you pumped milk and put it in a bottle? c.) no, kids don't have to go every where mom goes, but why SHOULDN'T they go out with mom?

  • RYANROCCO Jul 25, 5:14 p.m.

    TO STRAWBERRY--THANKS!!

    TO MAGPIE---THINGS LIKE THAT DONT HOLD WATER WITH ME...MY WHOLE FAMILY BREAST FEEDS OR WAS BREAST FED...AND THEY KNOW BETTER THAN TO DO IT IN PUBLIC...ITS A PRIVATE THING..AND DONT GO TELLING ME ABOUT THE BOND AND BLAH..BLAH..BLAH....IF WOMEN CHOOSE TO HAVE BABYS, THAN THEY NEED TO PUMP IT AND STICK IT IN A BOTTLE IF THEY NEED TO FEED IN PUBLIC. AND FOR THE PROBLEMS THAT YOU SAY COMES ALONG WITH IT..THATS JUST THE CHANCE THEY WILL HAVE TO TAKE!!

  • ezrilouwho Jul 25, 4:10 p.m.

    Wow I read the whole thing! 3 pages of comments.

    #1 it was not a COUNTER. the place is a Kiosk (no counter to be behind) not like being behind the counter at a fast food place.

    #2 Her problem was she tried to be modest. The whole bib/blanket thing draws attention. I learned this in the DC area breastfeeding my 3. I got more ugly looks and crude comments if I covered up than if I held the babe as if I was breastfeeding (in the one arm across my chest) then simply tucked my shirt tail up an bit and discreetly put the babe to breast with a blanket wrapped around the babe and not over my shoulder. Folks then thought I was just sitting at the table or on the bench holding my sleeping infant. Only other BFing moms knew what I was doing because they had done it themselves.

    Men in our society see breast and think TOY!
    Mom's see breast and think Milk Bar! and Mom is the ultimate Barista

    ~e

  • Joshua Jul 25, 3:41 p.m.

    sheablue22: we have other organs meant for bodily functions as well, but we don't do those in public, do we? Absolutely not. Not without risk of arrest. These other bodily functions are done in private, or places designated for these particular functions.

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