Mom Breastfeeding in Her Car Was Told to Cover Up by Philly Cop

Mom Breastfeeding in Her Car Was Told to Cover Up by Philly Cop

When she pushed back, he issued her a parking violation.
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profile picture of Laurie Ulster
Contributing Writer
October 2, 2019
upset woman with her head in her lap
Image: Oleg Golovnev

Caroline New, a nursing mom, was shocked when a police officer saw her breastfeeding her baby in her car at Philadelphia International Airport and walked over to tell her to cover up.

“My window was down. I could hear him audibly groan in disgust,” New told CBS Philly. “He came up to the window and he told me to cover up. I was humiliated.”

For the record, city and state laws in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania give women the right to breastfeed without covering themselves anywhere the general public is allowed to be. (In fact, breastfeeding in public is legal in every state in the country.)

After New finished nursing her daughter, she got out of her car to speak to the officer, with the intention of getting his name and badge number so she could follow up with his department. He didn’t take it well: His response was to walk back over to her car and issue her a parking violation.

While she was in a no-stopping zone, she believes that wasn’t really the issue, or he would have simply issued her a ticket from the get-go. She says the ticket is retaliatory, since he only issued the ticket after she asked for his information—and after he’d told her to cover up, which he had no right to do. New says what upset her more than the ticket was the interaction, so she filed a formal complaint with the Philadelphia police department. The incident is now under review.

New, who was at the airport to pick up her sister and introduce her to her baby for the first time, is happy the department is investigating her complaint. “My hope is that no other new mom has to experience what I went through,” she said. Breastfeeding “is legal and it’s something that we should be proud of, not ashamed of.”

If you want more information on your legal right to nurse in public as well as tips, we’ve got you covered—but not covered up!

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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