Apparently, feeding your child is something to be ashamed of -- at least according to one district court judge. Michigan resident and mother of a 5-month-old baby, Natalie Hegedus, was reportedly "called out" for breastfeeding in front of an entire courtroom, leaving her humiliated and in tears.
Writing on the community forum, BabyCenter, after the incident, Hegedus said she only brought her son to court in the first place because he had an ear infection. As they were waiting to be called, he got hungry -- and so naturally, she decided to feed him. Hegedus says her breasts were fully covered and she was sitting at the back of the courtroom.
When the court bailiff noticed what she was doing, WoodTV reports that he wrote a note to the judge about it. Hegedus was called up, and the judge asked her whether she believed it was appropriate to be breastfeeding in court. She shared her response with WoodTV:
I said, "Considering the fact that my son is hungry, and he's sick, and the fact that it's not illegal, I don't find it inappropriate ... And the judge said something to the effect of 'It's my court, it's my decision and I do find it inappropriate.'"
Although Hegedus' post on BabyCenter received an outpouring of supportive comments from fellow parents (there are currently over 70 responses to her initial post) and breastfeeding in public is legal, when WoodTV reached out to the Chief Judge of the district court in question, he seemed to feel that any national response to the incident was unwarranted. In an official statement, he said:
I'm not defending this judge, I just don't think it is a story. This is abuse of the information age. A one to two sentence exchange has now turned into a national story.
However, this is far from the first time that a woman has been castigated for breastfeeding in public. It's not even the first time for it to happen in court -- in August 2010, a woman in Crawford County, AR was told to leave the courtroom while breastfeeding.
Was it inappropriate for Hegedus to breastfeed in the courtroom? Or was it the judge that behaved inappropriately? Let us know.
Hegedus' story is (unfortunately) not a unique one. Click through below to see other places that women have been publicly reprimanded for breastfeeding (including another courtroom):
In August 2010, Nicole House was asked to leave the courtroom because a bailiff noticed her breastfeeding.
This past June, a mom was harassed by a bus driver for breastfeeding on a Detroit-area bus.
Back in 2006, 27-year-old mom, Emily Gillette, was removed from a Delta flight for breastfeeding. Watch a news clip about this story here.
Ohio mom Rhonda claimed that she was kicked out of her local mall for breastfeeding, back in February. Mall security even called for back-up.
We've heard about these incidents from coast to coast. In 2001, a mother nursing her 9-month-old was told to move away from the edge of the pool so as to avoid contaminating the water with her breast milk.
One mom posted a frustrated essay in November 2006, detailing her pastor telling her that photos of her breastfeeding were equivalent to pornography. She and her husband decided to leave the church after this incident.
Clarissa Bradford was kicked out of a McDonald's by an assistant manager for breastfeeding her 6-month-old child in August 2010.