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“Nurse-In” Protest Staged in Costa Rican Mall

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Breastfeeding mothers converge on a busy shopping center in Costa Rica for a “nurse-in” protest after security at a San Jose mall told a woman to stop nursing her two-month-old daughter.

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It’s allowed by law, but breastfeeding in public still attracts looks and stirs discomfort among many.

A security official recently told one mother to stop breastfeeding her daughter in a public mall. In retaliation a public breastfeeding protest by scores of mothers was staged in the mall on Saturday (January 12).

[Patricia Barrantes, Mother]:
“I was breastfeeding for five or ten minutes, a security official came up to me and said, ‘ma’am here we have feeding rooms’ and I thought that it was something good, next time I will go use them. Then he said, ‘you are not understanding me, you need to go to a feeding you, here you cannot do this.'”

News of the incident set off a storm on social networks in Costa Rica.

Mothers and their babies organized a mass “nurse-in” at the mall’s busy food court to protest their right to breastfeed their children in public.

[Arianne Grau, Protest Organizer]:
“They want to tell us, they want to impose on us if we’ve going to breastfeed or not, how we do it, at what time and where we give it. To this we give this message, that this message be clear, it is best for our sons and daughters that we mums say when and where.”

[Catarcina Campos, Mother]:
“The facilities are beautiful, they are useful, but we can exercise our right (to breastfeed) where we want to, we are free and the babies are free to eat when they want. It is their right and their enjoyment.”

Local media reports that the mall management has issued an apology over the incident.

The Costa Rican government is trying to combat falling breastfeeding rates with laws that encourage nursing.

And medics say breast milk contains antibodies that boost babies’ immune system and helps fight against infections and sudden infant death syndrome.

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