Los Angeles News

Breastfeeding complaint at LACMA prompts backlash

Monday, May 07, 2012

A confrontation between a breastfeeding mother and a female employee at the L.A. County Museum of Art is creating a stir. Many are outraged that the mother was asked to cover up.

In 1997, legislators spelled out that it is OK at any time for a mother to choose to breastfeed her baby.

If a woman scorned unleashes fury, consider the consequences of provoking a nursing mom.

"This is harassment. I am nourishing my child in the most normal way and to ask me to cover up is harassment," said Katie Hamilton.

Hamilton is taking her story public, sharing on Facebook what she says happened at Los Angeles County Museum of Art. A security guard requested she cover up while she was breastfeeding her baby. A museum visitor had complained about the breastfeeding.

"I said, 'No, I am nursing my baby. I am covered up,'" said Hamilton.

Odd, thought Hamilton, that an art patron would be disturbed at a place where nudity is depicted in paintings and sculpture.

Hamilton knows California law: Breastfeeding is allowed in public places. The guard found out after consulting with supervisors.

"Regardless of the law, we are mammals, we breastfeed our babies, we nurse our babies. This is just a normal part of raising a baby," said Hamilton.

Museum officials are apologizing to Hamilton and reaching out to her more than 300 Facebook friends.

The museum released a statement Monday which read in part: "The request made to you by our guard was the mistake of an individual who was ill-informed -- it was not reflective of our institutional policy or family-friendly values," wrote Brooke Fruchtman, LACMA associate vice president of public engagement.

"I never thought it would happen to me, and I hear about it happening all the time, and it needs to stop. This is 2012, people," said Hamilton.

The museum is in the process of educating all its employees about the law.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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