Call us crazy, but it seems like if you’re going to breastfeed in public, or hey, even just in a doctor’s office, you’d think the people who would be the coolest about it would be the ones who delivered your baby.
Apparently, not so for the personnel at University Medical Center in Lubbock, Texas. According to her post on the KCBD Facebook page, mom Erin Pena was quietly waiting for her 4-month-old’s appointment last Tuesday when her baby grew hungry. But after she started breastfeeding, things got real crazy, real fast.
Here’s what went down, in Pena’s own words:
“I’m so furious and upset. I just got thrown out of my ob-gyn/pediatrician's office for breastfeeding! The receptionist told me I couldn't breastfeed in the lobby and had to go to the bathroom or room in the back. I said I had the right to breastfeed anywhere. She said if I don't stop she will cancel my baby's appointment. His appointment was for his vaccines! I refused and she canceled it, so I went to find the doctor thinking she would be reasonable and she wasn't. She was condescending, kept calling me honey. I said, 'No one in the lobby even cared.' She rudely said,'Yeah they do, they just don't say it to your face.'
I said they were wrong and it was illegal what they were doing. She called security on me and I left with the officer. The guy asked what happened and when I told him, even he was like, 'What? That's what this was about???'
I'm so disgusted. My doctor even lied, saying I was walking around with my breast hanging out, even though she never saw what happened. I was just sitting there in a chair. It was sickening.
Even though it's against the law, I would respect a restaurant's wishes if it asked me to leave, but a pediatrics office at UMC??????”
Though Pena doesn’t mention it in her post, there were other moms breastfeeding in the waiting room, too—the only difference was that they were apparently more covered up. Still, the Texas breastfeeding law doesn’t actually require women to cover up at all while nursing, so even if she was exposed, UMC wasn’t within their rights to ask her to leave.
After the backlash, the hospital responded, first apologizing on Facebook, but later pulling that post due to the negative comments that followed. They have since issued an official response from spokesperson Eric Finley, in which UMC takes full responsibility and says it is “working to make sure an incident like this does not occur in the future."
But Finley was quick to suggest that Pena was not tossed for breastfeeding. Instead, he had a different spin on the story.
"The patient eventually went back to complain to the doctor," explained Finley. "She was then in a place where she was not allowed to be, so she wasn't asked to leave because she was breastfeeding. But still, had we acted more appropriately this never would have happened."