I have never had a problem nursing in public in the past. For 8 solid months I enjoyed hassel free, comfortable, wonderful public nursing. Until of course, June 1st 2010. On this day I took my family to swim for the first time that season. My 8 month old son is under the assumption that me being in a swimsuit equals him being able to nurse 24/7.
While I was enjoying the cool water on this extremely hot day lazying about in the zero depth pool my son decided once again it was time to nurse. I was enjoying the fact that I was not sweating despite the 85 degree temperature, severe humidity, and sun beating down on us. So, I decided to just cradle him right then and there and nurse away. For a good 5 minutes we went un noticed. My suit was covering most of my "goods" and my son was wearing a very large brimmed sun hat. To people around me it just looked as though I was cradeling my sleeping babe. Apparently however, from the perspective of a lifeguard tower, the view shows otherwise.
This lifeguard begins to violently blow his whistle at me. I turn to him and he motions for me to exit the pool immediately. I calmly explain that I am just nursing my son and have every right to be there. He tells me that I can not do "that" there... When I continue to refuse to leave he runs off to the lifegaurd house to tattle on me.
Now that he has brought attention to me with his whistle blowing and yelling, I have everyone in the pool staring at me. Not only is everyone staring but about 20 men and teens of varied ages are now aware that some woman (GASP) has her breast out! So they all start swarming around me, pretty closely, trying to get a peak. At first I was just floored that people were so brass and bold to just crowd a single woman and her small baby and then they got closer and closer and I was starting to feel uncomfortable and fearful. I looked over at the lifeguard post and the evil man that blew his whistle at me was so overly concerned with my breastfeeding that he had completely abandoned his post and now left me totally alone and vulnerable to these harassing crazy horny men.
Since I am located in the state of Illinois, I am thankfully very protected by the Civil Liabilities Right to Breastfeed Act. Wich clearly states:
(740 ILCS 137/10)
Sec. 10. Breastfeeding Location. A mother may breastfeed her baby in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be, irrespective of whether the nipple of the mother's breast is uncovered during or incidental to the breastfeeding; however, a mother considering whether to breastfeed her baby in a place of worship shall comport her behavior with the norms appropriate in that place of worship.
(Source: P.A. 93‑942, eff. 8‑16‑04.)
So far I have taken action against this incident by writing a strongly worded letter to the towns parks and rec department. Further updates, I promise :)
In the meantime please comment below and tell me, when have you ever felt violated of your right to breastfeed? Have you ever been asked to leave an establishment? What actions did you take? I would love to hear of other moms experiences in this area since this is a new ballpark for me.