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Public or Private?

A group of moms nursed their infants at the Westfield Trumbull Mall Tuesday to defend public breastfeeding.

Danielle Ann Michaud-Elwood of Shelton and nine other moms from around the state nursed their children Tuesday at the 's foodcourt, but not just because the infants were hungry.

Michaud-Elwood said she was defending the right for women to breastfeed in public without having to cover themselves. She has said a security guard had hassled her friend, who left the mall embarassed, without reporting the incident.

Mall officials have defended the guard and said it is a family-friendly place. A mall official issued an emailed statement Tuesday afternoon.

"Moms are our favorite customers. We welcome moms in our center and have created a range of amenities and conveniences designed to enhance the shopping experience for them such as our family lounge, children’s playtown, reserved family parking and WFamily fun day events," said Senior General Manager Bryan Gaus.

The mall's telephone-hold message also stresses its family-friendly facilities, including private breastfeeding areas and family bathrooms. Westfield completed a $45 million expansion last November.

None of the moms reported any problems from security or anyone else.

"It was nice to see that more and more mothers have shown support," Michaud-Elwood said, burping her infant over her shoulder.

Seated next to her was Michelle Santiago, lead nutritionist and breastfeeding coordinator for the Southwest WIC program in Bridgeport.

"We educate people a lot. I breastfed my own daughter for a year. It's your child and you're giving it the best natural food you can have," she said.

She said she is fighting the taboo public nursing sometimes has. Those uncomfortable with it should look away, she said.

Michaud-Elwood added that the same people who complain about breastfeeding also complain about screaming babies.

"Which would you rather have?" she asked.

Heather Bloechle of Meriden came in support. She said at a recent picnic, her child wouldn't nurse because she tried to cover herself and the infant was hot under the blanket.

Added another mother, "How would you like to eat covered up?"

Keren Alexander of New Haven said when she was nursing one of her children in a restaurant several years ago, another diner complained to the server, who promptly "told him off," she said.

Elizabeth June 01, 2011 at 02:01 PM
Once again, I really wish someone would do a little bit of research on Danielle Elwood before they start bringing her in to the spotlight. She is a fraud. All you have to do is make a couple phone calls and you will know this. She is seeking a spotlight that she should not be in. This is craziness. PLEASE Stop. I know many people have been trying to warn regarding her legitimacy. PLEASE take caution. I am not doing this because of some gripe I have with her but of the general concern for mothers and pregnant women who may take some of her advice as fact. GOOGLE her name and make some connections between her bio's and start calling around. Sad that she is flaunting herself based on complete lies.
Maggie June 01, 2011 at 02:18 PM
Elizabeth is 100% correct. No gripe here either, just have seen her hurt women time and time again because of her claims of being educated when she is in fact not. She didn't even have her children at the nurse in. She calls her children names. Not someone I would want to follow blindly. If the story is that the woman was told to cover up while feeding her baby then what kind of stance are you taking if you yourself who hosts the nurse in actually covers up? Danielle's story on this keeps changing. The "friend" was told to cover up, no she was asked to cover up. She left the mall and then texted, she texted and then left the mall. She can't keep her story straight. It's great that people are being made aware of the laws, but it didn't have to be done this publicly and viciously. I'm a breastfeeding mother and have never ever had anyone say anything to me about feeding my child and most other breastfeeding mother have had the same experience. Most have no clue you're even doing it. I have had people come up to me to compliment me on how well behaved my children are and they have had no clue I was breastfeeding my baby. It can be done without making it obvious and while still making the mom and baby comfortable. Danielle wanted a big hullaballoo and she didn't get it and she's still griping about it. No apology, boo hoo, it didn't happen to you Danielle, get over it!
CaliforniaMama June 02, 2011 at 08:20 PM
I am a former breastfeeding mom - in fact, breastfed both my boys (now 4 and 7) until 18 months old each, in Connecticut. I was never bothered at the Trumbull Mall, but was harassed at Target in Milford (I think) by an employee who yelled at me and called me base names, and once at the Westfarms Mall by two security guards. I knew the law and told them, but they were nevertheless horrible to me. I think breastfeeding in public should be fine and covering up is silly - unless the woman desires to do so. I think that people in the US are WAY too puritanical about it all. If you do a simple google search, you will find that women are regularly harassed for breastfeeding in public, even when it is legal, all over. How is a public display of breastfeeding a vicious act? Whom does it harm? What a very strange and illogical thing to say, Maggie. It does happen - and I don't care if it happened to Danielle or not. Fighting those who harass breastfeeding moms is a good thing.
Candice June 03, 2011 at 07:48 PM
Why are people ignorant for saying they don't want to eat their lunch while a woman at the next table pulls out her breast? As a mother of an infant I would NEVER purposefully try to make people feel uncomfortable by doing this. These women want to breastfeed their babies "wherever and however" they want that is their choice but they want people to ACCEPT this and I for one do not. It doesn't make me less of a mother or ignorant- it just means that I have a different opinion. Breastfeeding moms that staged this nurse in demand tolerance of what they want but don't realize or care that some people don't want to see children hanging off of a woman's nipple. They get all upset and think that by staging this they are educating others but NO ONE CARES. I don't wish to be educated nor will I ever accept that not covering yourself is an appropriate way to feed your child. Stop using children for your causes and get over yourselves!!!

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