Delaware may be the home of tax-free shopping, but a trio of mothers say it’s not the home of hassle-free breastfeeding after their pro-nursing protest drew the attention of law enforcement.
NBC Philadelphia has the story of the moms, who went to the Concord Mall in Wilmington on Saturday with the intent of nursing their young children inside of the mall’s Hollister store.
The mothers say their actions were meant to highlight the oft-confused rights of nursing moms, and that Hollister was chosen specifically because of a recent incident in a Houston-area Hollister in which a breastfeeding mother was removed from the store.
As they walked through the Hollister on Saturday, nursing and carrying signs with slogans like “Normalize breastfeeding in public,” the women say they were approached by a pair of mall security guards.
“They started questioning us and asking us why we were exposing ourselves and saying that we needed to leave or cover up,” one mom tells NBC. “We got in an argument with them about it for a little bit and then they left.”
But then the security officers returned, this time with a member of the state police in tow.
“He was asking if we were exposing ourselves saying that the security guards said we were exposing ourselves and that we could be kicked out of the mall if we didn’t cover up,” said the mom.
Where the story gets truly odd is when it began to catch fire on social media. There is a screengrab of a Facebook account named “Concord Mall” responding to a comment by calling the mothers an “eyesore,” and by stating, “Hope you guys don’t mind if I suck my wife’s breast in public.”
However, the mall — which currently features a big blue Facebook button on its homepage — claims that it “does not have a Facebook page or a Twitter account. Whoever posted these comments did so without the knowledge or authorization of the Concord Mall.”
For what it’s worth, that Facebook button on the Concord Mall homepage is a bad link — there is an error in the URL — but even when you correct the error, the link merely redirects to the front page of Facebook.
The mall has distanced itself further from the incident by saying that the “contract security officer involved in this unfortunate incident was immediately removed from the Concord Mall.” It also calls the guard’s actions “unacceptable.”
Furthermore, it says that security did not actually call the state police to the scene. “The State Police patrol the mall as a usual patrol and came up on the security officer and the women arguing,” reads a mall statement. “The trooper intervened and the security officer was removed and sent home pending further action.”
Meanwhile, more than a dozen mothers have signed on to a Jan. 20 “nurse-in” at the mall in response to this weekend’s actions.
For those interested in the laws regarding breastfeeding in their area, the National Conference of State Legislatures has this handy state-by-state breakdown.