Federal law allows women to breastfeed in public. And every state has a law on the books that permit breastfeeding in public. Including Texas. But Texas City resident Misty Daugereaux, a breastfeeding mother, was kicked out of a public pool for feeding her 10-month-old son as can be seen on the officer’s body camera video recording.
Daugereaux said she was discretely breastfeeding her baby at the Nessler Family Aquatic Center when she was confronted by a lifeguard, a pool supervisor and then a Texas City Police Department officer. The mom, with her other young children and a nephew in tow, was ordered to leave as pool workers claimed she had her breast exposed. Daugereaux, crying and embarrassed, but standing her ground, said her breasts were not exposed and that she has a right to feed her baby wherever and whenever she needs to.
Texas state law, not unlike laws around the nation, holds that a “mother is entitled to breast-feed her baby in any location in which the mother is authorized to be.”
In a Facebook post, Daugereaux wrote that she was shamed and hurt by the incident. Some have alleged that she cursed at a teenage lifeguard. Others, including a person who said they were witness to the incident, said she did not.
Jessica Lacy wrote, “Here comes the people with the lies, stating she was cursing and causing a scene. I was right there and barely knew what was going on because no one was being loud and causing a scene. ? but I bet No one complained about the lady who had her azz cheeks out in the kiddie pool?? Might as well say she had on a thong bathing suit. Did she get told to cover up?”
The mayor of the city has apologized and promised to look into the city’s policy on nursing in public. But state law and indeed federal law would likely supersede a municipal ordinance.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Daugereaux Stood With Tears Pouring Down Her Face As She Was Told To Leave the Family Center Pool
Daugereaux said a “life guard come from behind me, as I was discretely soothing my crying baby and told me I couldn’t breastfeed at a public pool.” She wrote that then the manager showed up and said Daugereaux needed to “cover up …follow the rules or leave.” Shortly after, a Texas City police officer showed up.
In his body camera video footage, much of which is hard to hear as Eminem’s ‘Sing For The Moment’ is blasting in the background,the officer asks her if she cursed at the lifeguard. She says she did not; that she has her children with her. She says she did not want to make a scene but she has the right to feed her baby. She says she feeds him at “church, at school …” The cop leaves her to talk to the female manager and a teenage lifeguard. After a discussion, it’s decided she has to go.
2. The Cop Can Be Heard Saying, ‘You Can’t Just Have Your Titties Out Everywhere …Go Sit Under a Blanket or Something’
In the body camera footage, at the very end, as Daugereaux is leaving, the police officer can be heard on the recording saying, “You can’t just have your titties out everywhere, I mean I get that you gotta feed your kid, that’s all fine and dandy, but go sit under a blanket or something.”
3. Daugereaux, ‘Hurt & Ashamed’ Said The Incident Could Have Been a Teaching Moment For the Pool Staff
“I’m so hurt, embarrassed and ASHAMED, that this is what TEXAS CITY STANDS FOR?”
She wrote that “employees should be educated!” She said the manager “could have used that moment to educate her staff! Yet I was escorted out” with two 4-year-old children and her 10-month-old son Maxx with, she said, “Tears pouring down my face.”
“My son asked, Momma why won’t they let you feed Maxx?”
4. More Than 3,000 People on Facebook Stood With Daugereaux & Mothers Held a ‘Nurse-In’ as Protest at the Pool
A number of moms turned out in protest at the family aquatic center in an effort to “normalize breastfeeding.”
That effort too had a lot of support on social media.
Shawna Worrell wrote: “I’m so proud of all of you! #1 for supporting another mom & #2 standing up for your rights!”
“Can we just normalize breastfeeding already. Like good hell. A woman’s breast was made by God to nourish a child. It was made for NOTHING else. Absolutely NOTHING. So if you think ‘oh cover up, men can see’ you are the problem with this world. Not breastfeeding mothers. This world is becoming so new that people are forgetting what is normal. Your mother’s, mothers, mothers, mothers, mothers and so on and so forth breastfed. GET OVER IT. Also, some babies, like my son WILL NOT take bottles, and DO NOT like being covered. Nor will I cover him in 90°+ weather,” wrote Katelyn Marie Hernandez.
4. The Mayor of Texas City Apologized
According to KHOU, the mayor of Texas City Matthew T. Doyle said the city’s “nursing policy and the staff’s response are under review.”
“We apologize to Misty Daugereaux as it is clear she was offended by how she was treated at our city facility. City policies and procedures will be reviewed and revised as deemed necessary. Any deficiencies regarding our employee’s actions will be addressed with further training.”