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.