CHICAGO (CBS) — A nursing mother is shocked and appalled after being told by a city-contracted guard to hide her child’s feeding.
As CBS 2’s Eric Cox reported Thursday, it happened despite a 15-year-old state law allowing women to nurse in public. Cox sat down with the woman as she worked to get answers on why she was made to feel ashamed.
It was a beautiful Tuesday on the Chicago Riverwalk when Vicky Brazell was told to cover up by a city-contracted security guard.
“I just never imagined it would actually be something that happened to me,” Brazell said.
Brazell told CBS 2 that she was sitting steps away from the veterans’ memorial along the Chicago Riverwalk, nursing her 16-month old daughter, Audrey, when she was approached.
“It was a female security guard, and she was looking at me and telling me to cover up,” Brazell said.
Indeed, Brazell was told by fellow woman to hide her child’s feeding.
“I was pretty shocked, so I asked her , ‘Excuse me?’ and she repeated herself and said, ‘Would you cover up?’” Brazell said.
But Brazell was within her rights. Illinois passed the Right to Breastfeed Act in 2004.
The law states, “A mother may breastfeed her baby in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be.”
The law applies regardless of whether the mother’s nipple is uncovered.
“I would expect someone who’s employed by the city to be fully aware of all of the laws,” Brazell said.
Brazell said the security guard left her alone after she brought up the state law. But the damage was already done.
“This is the first time I’ve ever that I’ve ever been approached or made to feel ashamed of what I’m doing,” she said.
Brazell sent a complaint to Titan Security Group – the company contracted to the city to monitor the Riverwalk. She said she never heard back.
So CBS 2 reached out to Titan Security Group, and as of Thursday was also awaiting an answer on how they are addressing the issue.
“It’s really just my hope that the security company will properly educate all of their employees,” Brazell said. “I really don’t want this happening to another mother.”
Brazell said if she does not hear back from Titan Security Group soon, she is going to plan a breastfeeding sit-in.
A Chicago city representative said the city is aware of the incident, and fully supports a woman’s right to breastfeed in public spaces.