This story is about a woman who had a rather unexpected issue when she decided to breastfeed her baby.
She knew that she might face some challenges, but she wasn’t sure what they would be. She did a lot of research about what to expect and what issues might arise, and she was excited about bonding with her baby and working hard to give her the best.
Even though she spent a lot of time thinking about the “what ifs”, she never considered or worried about whether someone would challenge her right to breastfeed her baby in her own home!
However, that’s exactly what happened to this woman, when she got a truly unexpected phone call from her landlord. She was told that her neighbor had complained about her husband watching her breastfeed through her open window, and she would need to close the blinds whenever she nursed her baby because of that.
Her first reaction was shock and embarrassment, as she couldn’t believe that someone has been watching her nurse her baby and instead of moving on with their day, they decided to watch. And they did it so obviously that their wife noticed and was bothered by the intensity they were watching her, they had to report the mother.
However, the mother realized how wrong it was that someone was looking into her home, and that their wife was actually blaming her, and she knew that the man who was watching her, his wife, and the landlord were in the wrong.
That’s when she decided to turn to one of her favorite Facebook groups, a private group dedicated to supporting breastfeeding mothers in their journeys.
I got online and posted about my situation right away, hoping for a few responses and suggestions for what I should do next. Within a few hours, I was overwhelmed to realize that hundreds of moms from across the country and the world had my back. They offered lots of ideas and suggestions — and a ton of “oh HELL nos” — and almost more importantly, they validated my feelings that I had done nothing wrong and that my landlord and neighbors were way out of line.
She posted about her situation right away, and she was overwhelmed for what she should do next within a few hours. Hundreds of mothers across the country had her back, and they offered her a lot of ideas and suggestions.
With this encouragement, she decided to keep nursing however and wherever she wanted.
Even though there are no laws that protect a mother from stares or being made to feel uncomfortable while they nurse, there are laws that protect a woman’s right to breastfeed.
One important thing that mothers in the group made her aware of, though, is that there are laws against voyeurism in the state of Ohio, where she lives. And that was exactly what her neighbor admitted that her husband had been doing.
So, she started to make a plan that would let her neighbors and her landlord know that she would continue to breastfeed her baby, and that it was THEIR responsibility not to peer into her home.
She first found and printed out copies of Ohio’s relevant breastfeeding laws, and she gave two copies to the landlord – one for her and one to pass along to the neighbors. Her landlord was really surprised at first, as she didn’t know that there were any laws that protected breastfeeding. She then understood why the mother was upset, and said she would handle it.
Worried about her neighbor peering into her home, she knew she had enough reason to contact the local authorities. She reached out to the police, and they made her sure that they would send someone over to her neighbor’s house to tell them about the relevant breastfeeding laws and the voyeurism laws they had been breaking.
The mom now looks forward to putting this situation behind her, but she will always be grateful to the online group that had her back and gave her the legal information and the plan of action.
Legal support can be crucial in helping women reach their goals, especially when it comes to breastfeeding.