Texas Mom Kicked Out of Community Pool for Breastfeeding

One of the best places to beat the heat is a public pool — where the occasional poolside snack can be vital to fuel you through the day, no matter how old you are.

When Misty Daugereaux‘s 10-month-old son got a little fussy while their family was at the community pool in Texas City, she decided to feed him — and that’s when she was told to leave. When she tried to argue, someone called the cops, who showed up to force her out after people claimed she was “cussing” and had exposed both her breasts to feed, something she disputes.

This is far from the first time that someone has been shamed for breastfeeding in public. But with a whole summer stretching before us, it’s an especially timely subject.

There’s nothing shameful, wrong or weird about breastfeeding. Most breastfeeding is so quick and discreet that it’s easy to miss it happening — unless, of course, someone wants to make a big production. And for gender nonconforming parents, the war on breastfeeding can feel particularly fraught. A trans dad who chestfeeds his child, for example, may feel uncomfortable or unsafe under scrutiny from judgmental people.

Babies need to eat. And if parents feel like they can’t feed their children, they can effectively be trapped at home, especially in the case of young infants who can’t go long between feedings. Some people claim nursing parents should feed their children in isolated areas — or should cover their chests with a scarf. These kinds of comments suggest nursing parents have something they need to cover up, and they ignore the fact that some babies don’t like being covered or have trouble nursing in some environments.

Texas law explicitly protects breastfeeding in public, as does every state. And the Texas governor just signed a law that extends similar protections to pumping. Daugereaux had the legal right to feed her child in the public pool area.

Nursing parents threw a “nurse-in” at the Texas pool to protest, a common organized reaction to breastfeeding harassment. Nursing parents tend to be pretty passionate about defending public access. But they shouldn’t have to organize nurse-ins to assert their right to feed their children in public.

Breastfeeding is not lewd behavior, and there’s nothing sexual about it. Some states actually explicitly exclude breastfeeding from public indecency laws, though Texas is not among them. Moreover, this case highlighted that police are not always on the side of the law when it comes to disputes about breastfeeding — and that employees also need training in how to handle breastfeeding parents or complaints about breastfeeding.

If you want to support breastfeeding in your community, get in touch with local groups to learn more about how you can help. One of the most valuable things you can do is be a proactive and supportive bystander. If you see someone being hassled for breastfeeding — or see someone complaining about a breastfeeding parent — speak up. Note that the law protects breastfeeding and that making a big fuss will take longer (and be worse for everyone involved) than just letting a baby finish eating and move on with their day.

Photo credit: Kate_sept2004/Getty Images

136 comments

Leo C
Leo C3 hours ago

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Tania N
Tania N7 hours ago

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Tania N
Tania N7 hours ago

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Tania N
Tania N7 hours ago

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Roslyn McBride
Roslyn M11 hours ago

Ridiculous!

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Alea C
Alea C20 hours ago

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Alea C
Alea C20 hours ago

tyfs

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Tania N
Tania Nyesterday

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Tania N
Tania Nyesterday

Thanks for sharing

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Tania N
Tania Nyesterday

Thanks for sharing

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