A mother is using her own experience to raise awareness of normalizing breastfeeding in public.
Jennifer Mancuso, a mom to twin girls Asher and Aria, 18 months, and also daughters Parker, 4, and Piper, 3, shared an Instagram photo of herself breastfeeding one of her babies, sharing a story she’d just experience when the director of the daycare she was nursing in told her to go to another area.
“I started to nurse on one of the chairs and the director said, ‘Hey Jenn, I’m gonna need you to nurse in the back. The employee break room (which is no bigger than a closet) is where you can nurse from now on,’” she captioned the photo.
“She said her boss (the district manager who was in the day prior and witnessed me nursing inside my girls room, away from almost everyone) said that I am not allowed to nurse my babies in any of the public spaces and that it has to be in a private space — the s—y little closet break room,” Mancuso continued.
“I responded saying that I don’t think that’s legal, what they’re telling me. She said, ‘It’s company policy because we have school age children,’” she added. “Pause — SCHOOL AGE CHILDREN?! As if implying what I’m doing is inappropriate for older children to witness?!”
“She continued that not only is it in their company handbook but because they are ‘private sector’ that the Ohio Law of being able to breastfeed in public does not apply here,” she went on. “The manager of the location chimed in and stated that also it’s to protect other parents who may find it offensive, because of their religious beliefs.”
Mancuso opened up to PEOPLE about what happened, saying she had ‘never’ been asked to move before that day.
“In fact, the director who made me move is also a mom of two sets of twins who breastfed both of them,” she expressed. “I had nursed Piper there when she was an infant — in the classroom and lobby — and was never told anything negative.
“I believe this incident occurred because they had their regional director there as well as their ‘state lady,’ who was auditing them at the exact time,” she went on.
Mancuso shared a follow-up post and revealed that the director called her with a ‘complete 180 degrees’ from their previous conversation.
“Her tone was completely apologetic. She explained how sorry she was about how her comments as well as the regional managers confusion made me feel,” Mancuso said. “She saw how negatively that could make a new or insecure breastfeeding mother feel and potentially ruin a journey.
“She spoke with her regional manager and together they decided to have a district-wide sensitivity training on state and national law which protects mothers rights to breastfeed their child anywhere and everywhere.
“She explained they will be updating their handbook to make it very clear so there is no more confusion and will never happen again.”
Despite the incident, Mancuso’s children are still at the same daycare as she loves the staff, including those who told her to move.
“I believe this was a learning opportunity for them and teaching opportunity for me,” she added. “They are wonderful to my children and always have been sans the moment. My girl are adjusted well there and it’s a great place.”
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