Dear Buffalo Women's and Children's Hospital,
I just got this message posted to my effbook wall. And since you don't know me, I call F.a.cebook "effbook" on my blog because, well, I do. Here's the message:
I have a real doozy for you. Sitting down? My little sister had to go to the ER at Buffalo Children's last night because her 4 year old son sustained a concussion while flying through the air after impacting a car with his bike. Bad enough already, right? So she's sitting in the waiting room nursing her 3 WEEK OLD BABY. The receptionist says, "Can I get you a blanket?" Mama: "No. The baby is warm enough thank you." Receptionist: "No. I mean for you. So you can cover up." Mama: "I'm alright. It doesn't bother me." Receptionist: "No. I mean for other people. We're a children's hospital. There are children and other people here."
Mama: "NY State law protects my right to breastfeed my baby in public." Receptionist: "NY State law allows you to breastfeed as long as you cover yourself and the baby." Mama: "No. You're wrong. I'm allowed to breastfeed my baby where I need to. I can't believe you're saying this to me and I'm done with this conversation." Not. Kidding.
I am so utterly furious that this happened. You are a WOMEN'S AND CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL for the love of all things holy and unholy and everything else. What are you even THINKING allowing your employees to HARASS A BREASTFEEDING MOTHER? Especially one who is IN YOUR EMERGENCY ROOM. WITH A FOUR YEAR OLD WHOSE HEAD IS BROKEN. Thank God this mama knew her rights and did not stop providing nutrition to her tiny babe because of this receptionist.
You run a pretty busy place. I've been to your ER before, three or four times, actually, in the "off" hours, you know, the times when the ER isn't standing room only. This woman was there on a Friday night. How is it that your extremely ill-informed receptionist had the time to walk away from her post, seek out the breastfeeding mother who was COMPLETELY WITHIN HER RIGHTS to be feeding her THREE WEEK OLD BABY??? How does that happen in such a busy place? And even if she didn't get up from her desk, supposing the mama was registering her hurt child to receive care, why would the receptionist waste time, thereby denying care to a head trauma victim, to address The Breastfeeding (Non)Issue?
This is completely unacceptable. If there is any place in Buffalo where nobody should EVER EVER EVER speak unkindly to a nursing mother, it is YOUR. HOSPITAL. I'm not even going to tell you why you should support the breastfeeding relationship, because you should have this information locked inside your collective brain. With all the sick and dying children you see every day, you should be kissing the ground breastfeeding women walk upon, because they are keeping babies out of your hospital.
Encourage. Support. Provide. Be kind. And deal with this nonsense immediately. Because when this story goes viral, your immediate response of how you have A) apologized personally to the mother, B) handled your reckless employee, and C) how you are going to prevent this abuse from happening in the future, will be helpful.
I expected better from you, Women's and Children's Hospital of Buffalo.