MORA, Minn. - The Mora Aquatic Center is popular on warm summer days. In order to cool off, Stephanie Buchanan and Mary Davis said they decided to take their children there on Wednesday.
The two sisters-in-law brought six children to the pool to go for a swim. Among the kids were 6-month-old Ernest and 3-month-old Roman. Both Ernest and Roman are currently breastfeeding.
"We were sitting, swimming with our infants and we both fed them while our kids swam on," Buchanan said.
Buchanan explained that moments after they began breastfeeding, a woman approached them and told them to cover up while they nursed because her boys were swimming nearby. Buchanan said she had never had anything like that happen to her before. Not knowing what to do exactly, Buchanan said she continued to nurse Roman.
"Pretty soon a staff member came up and asked us to cover or move to the locker room," Buchanan said. "I informed her that Minnesota state law protects us to breastfeed anywhere we need to."
In fact, Minnesota Statute 145.905 reads:
"A mother may breast-feed in any location, public or private, where the mother and child are otherwise authorized to be, irrespective of whether the nipple of the mother's breast is uncovered during or incidental to the breast-feeding."
However, when Buchanan did not stop nursing, someone at the aquatic center called police.
Buchanan wrote a Facebook post regarding the incident, letting others know that she was upset about the way they were treated.
Both Buchanan and Davis decided to organize the nurse-in at a public area next to the Mora Aquatic Center on Saturday to let other mothers know they are protected by the Minnesota statute if they choose to breastfeed their children in public.
"It's a mother's choice, a family's choice," Davis said. "How they choose to feed their child. And it's the law."
The fathers attending the nurse-in also helped to educate others about breastfeeding.
"An immature mind might try to sexualize it, but that's not what breastfeeding moms are trying to do," Jon Buchanan, Stephanie Buchanan's husband said. "They're just feeding their children."
The Mora Aquatic Center is operated by the City of Mora. The city released this statement on their main website in response to the incident:
"The City of Mora and Mora Aquatic Center (MAC) strive to create an environment comfortable for all. While we always have supported nursing mothers, the situation inside of the kiddy pool made many patrons uncomfortable. Our staff politely asked them to be more discrete (sic) or relocate to another area at the MAC. When they did not, it created an untenable situation and our public safety team was brought in to assist the MAC staff. Neither women were asked to leave the facility. We apologize to Ms. Ellingson-Buchanan and Ms. Davis if they were offended by how they were treated. Although we cannot anticipate all possible scenarios, City policies and procedures will be reviewed and revised as deemed necessary."