When new mom Avery Lane, 28, of Fort Gordon, GA, was asked to put a towel over her nursing 2-month old, she suggested the tables be turned.
“So I was breastfeeding my 2 month old at a H&R Block on a military post when the manager asked me ‘Can you cover up with a towel or something?’ I was completely shocked so I raised my voice slightly and said ‘No, but I have a muslin if you would like to cover your face. You must not know Georgia’s breastfeeding laws,’ the young mom wrote on her Facebook page in April.
Avery told TODAY Parents that this was the first time anyone had ever asked her to cover up while feeding baby Wilder.
“I have even had women come up to me before and tell me, 'good job.' So this definitely took me by surprise,” she said.
And how was she able to respond so quickly?
“Well honestly, I’m a very witty person to begin with, so the comeback came to me pretty fast,” she explained. “Plus, I was truly insulted when he did a shooing hand motion when he asked me to cover up with a towel or something. So that was the first thing that came to me.”
Avery gives credit to her husband, army private Robert Reukauf, 22, for giving her the confidence to speak up.
“Robert has always made sure I was up to date on breastfeeding laws, and also encouraged me to stand up for myself," she said. "He always tells me that I’m doing what’s best for our son. He is my biggest cheerleader.”
Unfortunately the story didn’t end there.
“[The manager] asked me to leave since he was helping my friend and not me. So I then called the military police so they could come and inform him of (the law),” Avery wrote on Facebook. “I’m glad they came and informed him that he could not tell me to leave.”
“The manager looked completely shocked when they told him that he could not ask me to leave for breastfeeding,” Avery told TODAY. “He also told them that people were offended by me breastfeeding and that’s why he asked. But we were sitting with him the entire time we were there and no one said anything to him about it.”
Since her story has gone public, Avery has posted a YouTube video answering some of the questions she’s been fielding. She says that she doesn’t want the manager to lose his job, but hopes that her story will change the way people react to breastfeeding.
“Breastfeeding is natural and breastfeeding moms have rights,” says the stay-at-home mom, who did a 15-month tour of Iraq when she served in the army from 2006-2010. “When you see a breastfeeding mom in public, whether she has a cover or not, she is well within her rights. Let her feed her child in peace — no need to tell her your opinion on it.”