MORA, Minn. (KMSP) - Community members in Mora, Minn. are responding after two women were asked to cover up while breastfeeding at the Mora Aquatic Center.
“For a woman to make a big deal about a woman feeding her child is beyond me, it’s crazy,” said Niki Roeschlein, who supports breastfeeding.
The Kanabec County Sheriff says two women breastfeeding Wednesday were first confronted by another woman at the pool, and later a staff member. Both asked the women to either cover up or get out of the pool. That’s when things got heated.
A statement released from the city officials says in part, “Our staff politely asked them to be more discrete or relocate to another area at the MAC. When they did not, it created an untenable situation and our public safety team was brought in to assist the MAC staff.”
After the incident, one of the women involved took to Facebook and now the community is responding.
“If you do see a mom nursing you don’t have to get awkward, you don’t have to leave, you don’t have to say anything, and if you do have to say something, just tell them that they’re doing a good job,” said Britany McIalwain, a breastfeeding supporter.
After hearing about what happened, McIalwain decided to create a Facebook event: a poolside nurse-in.
“I don’t want it to be an attack on the pool or the staff because I just don’t think that people are educated, so I wanted to use it as a platform to build awareness about public breastfeeding and the laws that protect us in Minnesota,” said McIalwain.
Minnesota Statute 145.905 says a mother may breastfeed in any location, public or private, where the mother and child are otherwise authorized to be. Breastfeeding is not considered indecent exposure.
Hundreds from around the state are already responding to the call for a nurse-in.
“I think this is also a good opportunity for businesses to see the kind of backlash, and support that mothers have, and that families have,” said Sadie Halsey, a supporter. “It’s not just women that are supporting this movement."
McIalwain says they won’t be in the pool area – just outside on the grass – hoping to make breastfeeding less taboo and more accepted in the community.
The Kanabec County Sheriff says the sergeant that responded to the pool was not there to kick the women out, but rather to help calm people down. Fox 9 tried reaching out to the women who were asked to cover up, but they didn’t respond with a comment.