Company sorry for breastfeeding gaffe

April 6, 2011 at 7:53 PM
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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C., April 6 (UPI) -- A company managing housing at Fort Bragg, N.C., apologized to a military spouse who had been prohibited from breastfeeding her baby.

Jess Lanham, who lives with her in-laws while her husband serves in Afghanistan, drove to the base with two of her three daughters to apply for military housing.

During her meeting last week with a female employee at Picerne Military Housing, the private company managing housing at Fort Bragg, Lanham began nursing her infant daughter who was being carried in a sling, The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer reported Wednesday.

The functionary handling Lanham's application informed her she could nurse her baby in the toilet, find another office in the building or come back at another time. When Lanham asked why she was being denied the ability to feed her child, the woman replied the company had to keep a "business atmosphere."

It is legal in North Carolina for women to breastfeed in any public or private location where they're otherwise authorized to be, and federal law allows women to breastfeed in any federal building or on federal property.

"We deeply regret comments made by our employees that were offensive to Mrs. Lanham," said Kelly Douglas, a Picerne spokeswoman. "We plan to educate all of our employees to promote more sensitivity to breastfeeding mothers."

Lanham said she isn't planning any legal action as yet, but she would like to raise awareness of the issue so other mothers aren't treated as she was.

Breastfeeding isn't dirty or anything to be ashamed of, she said.

"If you want dirty, go walk around the mall or go to a local swimming pool," Lanham said. "Why is it OK to sexualize breasts but not OK to use them as nature intended?"

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