Mothers protest at Cedar Falls REC - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Mothers protest at Cedar Falls REC

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by John Wilmer

CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) - On Thursday a hand-full of women held, not a sit-in, but a nurse-in at the Cedar Falls REC Center. The mothers were upset about how they believe another mom was treated when she began breastfeeding in the view of other REC Center members.

"A woman may breastfeed the woman's own child in any public place where the woman's presence is otherwise authorized," Iowa law states.

Forty-one states, as well as the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands, have similar laws allowing women to breastfeed in any public or private location.

The Cedar Falls Recreation Center has equipment and activities for all ages, but some parents are concerned that when a mother exposes her breast it is no longer family friendly.

In a quiet corner in the REC Center gymnasium a group of mothers made a silent protest, by feeding their babies. Bel Pedro organized the nurse-in to bring attention to another mother's concerns. 

"Someone else made a complaint and a member of the staff asked her to either cover up or go the bathroom or locker room and that is just not acceptable," Pedro said.

"Nurse-ins are kind of common when this happens to somebody to just show our support and show that this is not something that needs to be hidden," protesting mother, Erin Flage said.

REC Center officials said it wasn't an issue. They say they didn't force the mother to leave, they only asked her to be more discrete.

"You can see all the ladies here you can't see anything.  A lot of us are using blankets which I don't do because it's... There's nothing offensive about it.  It's the natural way to go," Pedro said.

Despite being surrounded by other parents and children these mothers are not shy when expressing their opinion.    

"For anyone who is offended I apologize, but I've never had anyone ever come up to me and ask me to leave so that's my take on it," Flage said.

The mother's who took part in this "nurse-in" say that when someone tells them to cover up or go some place else when breast feeding it makes them feel like they are doing something wrong, when all they are trying to do is feed their children.

Online Reporter: John Wilmer

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