One mom says she was shocked when a hospital employee told her to cover up while breastfeeding — and now the hospital is apologizing.
Kymmie Snyder was waiting for an appointment at Candler Hospital in Savannah, Georgia, when she began nursing her 10-month-old son Kylo, who has cystic fibrosis. As Snyder began breastfeeding, a hospital staff member walked over and, according to Snyder, placed a towel over Kylo’s head to suggest that she cover up her son. Snyder detailed the story on Facebook.
“I told her that it’s illegal for her to ask me to do that, and she said it was their policy,” 24-year-old Snyder told TODAY. “The only skin on my entire body that was showing was on my arms.”
Due to Kylo’s condition, his body has a difficult time absorbing nutrients from food. This results in feedings “once every hour or two,” according to Snyder. While Snyder said that she wouldn’t have been happy with anyone covering her up with a towel regardless of her son’s condition, she found it particularly jarring given their circumstances.
“Even if he wasn’t a sick baby, you have no right to put anything over my child or me,” said Snyder. “What if I’d been a first time mom? That’s just discouraging. Nobody in a hospital should be asking anyone to cover up.”
The PR manager at Candler Hospital, Scott Larson, told TODAY that the staff member involved was a retiree "who works only a few hours per week." The hospital has spoken to the staff member and the team about this issue.
"The individual involved... has been re-educated on our views regarding breastfeeding," Larson told TODAY via email. "We have used this as an opportunity to reiterate our strong support for breastfeeding mothers with our other co-workers."
Larson provided a full statement, which can be read here.
Synder said at the time she asked the staff member to provide evidence of the hospital policy that banned breastfeeding. When the staff member wouldn’t do this, Snyder decided to speak to her manager.
“Her supervisor was really nonchalant about the whole ordeal, which is not OK,” said Snyder. “That’s what made me post [the story on Facebook].”
Larson emphasized the hospital's sincere apologies to Snyder, and said that they have reached out to her in hopes that they can apologize to her personally. Larson also said that the nurse manager, who Snyder spoke with after the incident, "apologized at that time, knowing as a mother who breastfed her own children, how upsetting this must have been."
Snyder’s post garnered 11,000 reactions, in addition to hundreds of comments and shares.
“I guess I just want people to be conscious of what they’re saying and doing,” said Snyder. “Especially if you work in the public and you’re dealing with people.”
While Snyder said that she never expected such a “huge” reaction from sharing her story, she hopes to encourage other breastfeeding moms — especially those who have children diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.
“I’m glad that I was able to stand up for nursing moms,” said Snyder. “One thing I know about families and kids with CF is that they’re the strongest people I’ve ever met in my life. Keep on fighting.”