Breastfeeding mom meets resistance at Six Flags

Every few hours, Jessica Wood breastfeeds her four-and-a-half month old daughter Madeleine.

by MARIE SAAVEDRA /WFAA

ROCKWALL — Every few hours, Jessica Wood breastfeeds her four-and-a-half month old daughter Madeleine.

Be it at home or out, she said it's never been a problem until this past Saturday at Six Flags over Texas in Arlington.

She was there with the whole family, and nursed her daughter throughout the day, until someone approached her. Here is how Wood recalls that exchange:

"A security guard walked up to me, and she said 'Ma'am, I'm going to have to ask you to leave.' And I said, 'Why?' Then she said, 'It's for the feeding.' And I said, 'Why?' And she said, 'We've been asked to tell you to go to the lost kids cart and feed the baby there.' And I said, 'No.'"

In Texas, Wood has the right to feed Madeleine wherever she goes. She said the guard walked away, leaving her feeling embarrassed and harassed.

So she started making phone calls, and found Best for Babes, and the group's breastfeeding harassment hotline, which was established by a mom from Houston.

"I created the hotline as a resource for moms so they could have someone to be the shoulder to cry on," said Michelle Hickman. She said they get about 30 calls a month from women looking for support — and to file complaints against businesses where they've had pushback from public feeding.

Wood reported her encounter before she left the amusement park.

"We spoke with the guest and immediately corrected the misinformation," said Six Flags spokeswoman Sharon Parker. "Our policy allows nursing moms to breastfeed anywhere in our park."

Wood says later that day, she found a park supervisor, who did acknowledge the guard was wrong. But if that woman was misinformed, there could be others — and Wood wants to make sure no other mom feels as shamed as she did.

"I just think it’s really important to educate people so there's not further social pressure to quit breastfeeding," Wood said.

The Best for Babes organization says it plans to contact Six Flags to offer training for employees on the rights of breastfeeding moms.

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