According to the mother, Natalie Hegedus, was discreetly nursing her child in the back of the courtroom when Judge Hentchel asked her if she thought what she was doing was appropriate. Natalie says she was "called out" in front of the courtroom and that she was "embarrassed".
This story has gained a lot of attention. Particularly from PETA, People for Ethical Treatment of Animals. In a press release PETA makes this statement:
Medical evidence is clear: Breast milk is best for infants. That's why, after a district judge reportedly took issue recently with a Van Buren County resident for breastfeeding her baby in a Paw Paw courtroom, PETA plans to bring its holiday-themed, head-turning billboard to the village. The ad shows Mother Mary nursing her child next to the caption "If It Was Good Enough for Jesus … The Breast Is Best. Dump Dairy." PETA—which is currently negotiating with outdoor advertisers in the Paw Paw area to place the billboard as close to the courthouse as possible—hopes that the ad will serve as a reminder that breast milk is healthier for infants than dairy formula and that dairy products in any form are cruel to mother cows and their calves.
"Whether it's the delivery room, the family room, or the courtroom, the fact is that breast milk is best for kids," says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. "And if cows ever got their day in court, no judge in his right mind would side with the notoriously cruel dairy industry." Read More
Currently, Michigan has no breast feeding laws that protect a nursing mom from discrimination.
Here's what I don't understand, if the issue that society takes against a nursing mom is exposing her breast and mom is feeding a child, without doing just that, what's the problem? Many breast feeding discrimination stories that I hear are from moms who say they are feeding their children discreetly. It seems to be when people realize a mom is breastfeeding (without actually seeing a breast) this is when the "offense" occurs. Lets be honest, the "offense" is not necessarily a visual one, but a mental one.
As a nursing mom, I don't prefer to nurse in public. I try to avoid the ignorant mindset of society, however, a hungry baby awaits for no ignorance, and feed I must. When I am in a situation when I need to feed, I can tell you the last thing I want to do is whip my breast out in full view, and I think I speak for a lot of moms who feel this way. I often feed discreetly. Almost always, no one know I'm nursing my baby, and I've gotten a few smiles, that probably wouldn't exist had they known I was nursing.
The comments on some of the articles I've read are absolutely disgusting, and speak to society's distorted and continually sexualized view of breasts.
"I know breast is best, but..." is usually followed up by some comparison to other bodily functions. I'm willing to bet that the author of most of these comments, never saw a breast in full view while nursing.
Besides that, there is no "but". Breast feeding is best period. Even if a mom is known to be nursing in public with no breast in sight...so what? Keep it moving, there's literally nothing to see here. However, if you do happen to catch a flash of skin, advert eyes and keep it moving... it's never polite to stare.