Woman asked to leave courtroom — for nursing baby!

The Huffington Post is reporting that mother was asked to leave a Michigan courtroom for nursing her 5-month-old baby.

From The Huffington Post:

“Apparently, feeding your child is something to be ashamed of — at least according to one district court judge. Michigan resident and mother of a 5-month-old baby, Natalie Hegedus, was reportedly “called out” for breastfeeding in front of an entire courtroom, leaving her humiliated and in tears.”

“Writing on the community forum, BabyCenter, after the incident, Hegedus said she only brought her son to court in the first place because he had an ear infection. As they were waiting to be called, he got hungry — and so naturally, she decided to feed him.Hegedus says her breasts were fully covered and she was sitting at the back of the courtroom.

When the court bailiff noticed what she was doing, WoodTV reports that he wrote a note to the judge about it. Hegedus was called up, and the judge asked her whether she believed it was appropriate to be breastfeeding in court. She shared her response with WoodTV:

I said, “Considering the fact that my son is hungry, and he’s sick, and the fact that it’s not illegal, I don’t find it inappropriate … And the judge said something to the effect of ‘It’s my court, it’s my decision and I do find it inappropriate.’”

Well if Michigan is a right-to-nurse state, as Georgia is, then I’m pretty sure he can’t tell her she cannot nurse even in HIS courtroom! When are people going to get over this? She’s in the back of courtroom, covered, feeding her sick baby. This judge and everyone else just need to get over it!

What do you think? Is a courtroom a less appropriate place to nurse your baby than the hallway outside the courtroom, where lots of people will be passing you? Should women be able to nurse anywhere they need to? What would the standard be? Why are people so hung up on this?

45 comments Add your comment

jarvis

November 15th, 2011
12:08 pm

No one else can eat or drink in a courtroom. What’s the difference?

Exactly, jarvis...

November 15th, 2011
12:11 pm

…here we go again with women who think they can nurse anywhere, anytime, just because they are, well, women, and its naattuurraalll…

jarvis

November 15th, 2011
12:13 pm

Eating and drinking are legal as well. As is talking in a public forum. As is wearing shorts. As is not wearing shoes if food is’t being served. As are holding picket signs. As is playing the piano. As is texting.

My guess is that a judge might throw folks out of his courtroom for any of those things. Question should be when are some mothers going to realize that things being legal doesn’t make them appropriate in all settings?

JJ

November 15th, 2011
12:21 pm

Have you ever dealt with a hungry baby? The ONLY way they know to express their hunger, is to cry……and as a parent, it’s my job to take care of that. I personally have no problem with women breastfeeding in public. We were at Ruby Tuesday one night, and a very nice family came and sat at a table next to us. As their meal was being served, the Mom took her infant, and descretely placed him under a blanket, and nursed him while everyone else was eating. I thought that was very tender and sweet. And so did my daughter, who was 10 years old at the time.

I had to breastfeed my daughter in a dressing room one afternoon. I was trying on clothes, and she got hungry…….

Get over this. It’s NOT disgusting, it a NATURAL ACT. That’s why females have breasts. How do you think we fed our children before bottles? Good God I am so over this crap!!!!

The Reverend Baby Doctor Bedpan

November 15th, 2011
12:26 pm

Got any photos?

Au contraire, JJ...

November 15th, 2011
12:26 pm

…while nursing is natural, it is not natural to feed anyone in a courtroom, and in a courtroom the judge is, well, the judge and jury when it comes to decorum in that room. People who inadvertently leave their cell phones on, and then they go off, are subject to 1( confiscationj of the phone, and 2) subject contempt of court, which could mean immediate jail time, a fine, or both.m Thus, the mother could also have been subject to the same – and, who takes a freakin’ baby to court?

As you noted, if the kid is hungry, get up and go outside the courtroom – case closed…

jarvis

November 15th, 2011
12:26 pm

@JJ, a restaraunt and a court room are not the least bit similar. I have no problem with doing it at Ruby Tuesday’s.

Scratch n Sniff

November 15th, 2011
12:27 pm

Yet another lame blog post.

Thanks for lowering the bar on what is relevant and important.

Gap toothed redneck

November 15th, 2011
12:37 pm

Keep on righting TWG! We need UR inspriation to get us threw R miserable lifes.

jarvis

November 15th, 2011
12:38 pm

By the way, this lady was in court for refusing to pay a boating ticket. A bench warrant had been issued for her arrest. She’s a card carrying member of the breastfeeding group “Anytime/Anywhere”.

She was trying to use this judge’s courtroom to make a statement. She’s hardly a victim.

Emma

November 15th, 2011
12:38 pm

What’s with all the hostility towards nursing mothers? Men can scratch and adjust themselves in public and it is more revealing that a nursing mother feeding a baby under a blanket.

Here’s the real question. If the baby were crying, needed to eat, and her mother needed to be in court, would the judge have thrown her out if she was feeding with a bottle? Where a bottle is acceptable, so too should a breast. It’s not like there are tassels on them and she’s swinging them for all to see. Breastfeeding is how babies eat. Some don’t even know how to use a bottle. If a bottle would be acceptable to the judge, the breast should be, too.
I’ve done it on trains, plains, automobiles, courthouses, churches and wherever else my child decides he’s hungry. No one got a peep show. Just a much happier baby.

jarvis

November 15th, 2011
12:41 pm

@Emma, my guess is yes. The judge would have thrown her out for feeding with a bottle. It’s a f’ing crying baby in a courtroom.

Juggs N Buns magazine

November 15th, 2011
12:42 pm

I’ve got nothing against it. In fact, our February 2010 issue was all about public breast feeding.

Mr Grier

November 15th, 2011
12:54 pm

I have a question? Why was this woman not at home, cooking and cleaning where she is supposed to be? If she was the traditional Christian woman, she would never have been in trouble.

Oh no....

November 15th, 2011
1:24 pm

Men made breasts sexual. The problem men have with breastfeeding in public, is they can’t be the one attached to the nipple, jealous of the baby, so they must protest and tell a woman she’s in the wrong for using her breasts for the intended purposes in public of all places……

Purple Drank

November 15th, 2011
1:32 pm

Men never made breasts sexual. It’s an evolutionary occurrence. Women with fuller breasts were an indication of better health, thus the male gender preferred mating with the healthier female, assuring the progeny continues. Certainly, sex is part of procreation, but to blame men for making it sexual is absurd. I could easily blame women and their poor driving skills for the high cost of insurance.

Oh No....

November 15th, 2011
1:50 pm

@Purple – so it’s the woman’s fault? Men NEVER take responsbility…..

God gave all females breasts to nuture their young. Every female, human, animal etc has these breasts/teets, etc.

And yes, it was MAN who made them sexual. Woman didn’t. God didn’t. Man did!!!

Sylvania

November 15th, 2011
1:51 pm

Forty five states have laws that specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location. Michigan isn’t one of them.

JATL

November 15th, 2011
1:57 pm

Judges usually get to call the shots in their courtrooms and if he didn’t like it or thought it would be a distraction, then yes, he has the right. I don’t have a problem with public breastfeeding, but if the woman is a member of “Anytime Anywhere” as one poster said, then yes, she was just pushing her agenda. No one else is allowed to eat or drink (not even a bottle of water) in court, and I’m quite sure if her baby was fussing and crying the bailiff would have happily let her go out of the room and caled her in if her case came up. They do that for many natural occurrances -like the bathroom. That brings me to another point -if the baby had produced an incredibly stinky BM, wouldn’t she have asked to change it? Perfectly natural, but unsettling to others. Just because something is natural doesn’t mean it belongs everywhere.

Making baby Jesus cry for over 2000 years.

November 15th, 2011
2:00 pm

Which man made breasts sexual? I want to shake his hand.

JOD

November 15th, 2011
2:20 pm

I won’t argue whether it’s legal or not…I just don’t understand why you would want to. If you need to be in court – particularly if a bench warrant is in play – find someone to take care of your child, even if s/he is sick. That’s what fathers and mothers do. I doubt the court was so inflexible that she couldn’t step out as JATL said.

Guess I’m old school, but some things are better in private. I believe breastfeeding is one of them.

Herman Cain

November 15th, 2011
2:40 pm

I’m all for public breastfeeding….Although I prefer if you come up to my room and do it.

Oh yeah!!

Steak and Lobster

November 15th, 2011
2:43 pm

The real story here is she was doing more than breastfeeding. She was working for tips.

jarvis

November 15th, 2011
3:04 pm

@Making baby Jesus, “all men” not “a man”.
You know like “all women” made push presents a tradition and Valentine’s Day a holiday.

Jeff

November 15th, 2011
3:35 pm

Why don’t we just call them both a little wrong and move on.

Anj

November 15th, 2011
4:53 pm

1) Her child was sick and couldn’t be in the regular childcare. I’m not sure what world some people live in, but not many friends and neighbors are eager to care for a cranky, sick infant on no notice.

2) The judge didn’t even notice the incident until someone else brought it to his attention. This implies it wasn’t a) obvious or b) causing a disturbance.

3) She was there on court business.

I love our neighbor to the north, but I think they need to join the Year Of The Fruitbat.

jarvis

November 15th, 2011
5:03 pm

@Anj, where are you getting your “facts”?
http://abovethelaw.com/tag/natalie-hegedus/

Denise

November 15th, 2011
6:45 pm

Still nursing while being called before the judge is where the problem comes in, in my opinion. Even if eating and drinking were allowed in the courtroom, one would stop doing both when standing before the judge. (You wouldn’t still be eating fries while talking to the judge, even if you’re still hungry, right?) Taking the baby off the boob at that moment would have been the best course of action, I’d think. How the baby would have reacted, we don’t know one way or the other. Now, had she been kicked out while she was in the back of the room, not causing any issue, then that would have been wrong on the court’s end. I believe women should have the right to breastfeed discretely in public.

catlady

November 15th, 2011
6:59 pm

Everyone makes good points. If there is no bottle feeding in the court, then no breastfeeding either. Has this judge come down on mamas bottlefeeding? If not, his “ruling” was inappropriate. Consistency is part of the law.

Anj

November 15th, 2011
7:12 pm

Lol – I’ve breastfed two babies and it takes almost no attention from the person doing the feeding once a baby is competent. (5 months is competent). I give the judge no credit for not being able to concentrate at the task at hand instead of the task at breast.

Have any WOMEN judges have thrown hissy fits when faced with a breast feeding baby?

ssidawg

November 15th, 2011
9:15 pm

It probably wasn’t a distraction until this idiot judge made such a BFD out of it. So sick of men telling women what they can and can’t do with their bodies.

Lisa

November 15th, 2011
9:35 pm

If you read the message posted to the net -which alerted national media she said she was discrete in the back of the courtroom. However, when called to answer to the judge she was so angry ” she wanted to whip her tit out and feed the kid right there” but didn’t because she was afraid of going to jail and her child going to social services. Any Mother who thinks “whipping a tit out” is a natural reaction to an inquiry – does not know the meaning discretion. This is small rural community and following established rules of decorum is the norm. After reading her post – I’m with the judge.

Jason

November 16th, 2011
12:04 am

It is fitting that your column is called “Momania” because the level of hysteria is unreal. It is a courtroom and the last bastion between a civil society and that kid using a gun to take what he wants on a daily basis. Get over yourself.

Penguinmom

November 16th, 2011
12:46 am

I breastfed my 3 but I have to admit that I prefer to not see someone breastfeeding in public. I understand most women can be discrete but not everyone is and I really don’t want to have that thrust in my face so to speak.

I think we have become a society where people think their ‘right’ to do something supersedes anything else. Thinking of others or considering the effect of what you are doing on others is not taken into account at all. There is a difference between having the right to do something and taking that right no matter how it impacts those around you. Those who think they have to push the limits for their ‘rights’ do not gain my sympathy when those limits smack them in the face.

For those thinking she didn’t have any other options, one option would have been to pay her ticket or to show up in court on the original date (when there might have been some flexibility about having a sick child and rescheduling) instead of waiting until there was a bench warrant out and she had to appear.

Andy in Athens

November 16th, 2011
1:16 am

The general PC movement in this nation is past the point of being absurd. Would it be appropriate to fee the baby with a formula bottle in court? I can 100% assure you that nothing would have been said about that. Those making fun of breastfeeding as being for hippies claiming it’s “natural” need to realize that it IS natural. Breastmilk provides benefits to infants that no amount of science or technology can replicate. Women should breastfeed in public, in court, in church…wherever their babies are hungry and need to eat. It is a natural act with no sexual connotations at all. It is simply providing nourishment to the life you created. I’m a 33 yr old conservative, Christian man….if I don’t have a problem with it, the PC nutjobs in this country need to get over it. If you’re offended, turn your head. You don’t have to ogle a woman’s breasts just because she’s feeding her child. If you find it sexual, or distracting, the problem lies with you, and not anyone else. The judge should be relieved of his position. This is ridiculous. It’s like shooting an animal for nursing it’s babies where people can see. Get a life, people.

Fred

November 16th, 2011
5:48 am

Urination is “natural” too, but I somehow think that if I whip it out and whiz in a bottle the judge may take umbrage………. no matter how “discretely” I was doing it.

I’m so tired of people telling me what I can do with my body………….

IDK Anymore

November 16th, 2011
6:07 am

My first question is why was she there in the first place? The second is, if the judge finds it inappropriate he should have the bailiff QUIETLY inform her she should retire to a nursing station. The third is, why are there no nursing stations located in the courthouse? Are there no women working there who need to use a pump for their infants back home?

Observer

November 16th, 2011
10:09 am

Quite frankly, children should not be in the courtroom. They are young and can be quite disruptive. It’s inappropriate to bring them there. Many judges don’t allow children in their courtrooms as a rule, along with inappropriate attire, wearing hats, chatting in the back of the courtroom, etc.

tracey

November 16th, 2011
12:31 pm

i don’t see the big deal. as long as you do it, with a blanket, so not everything is hanging out.

Here Comes The Judge

November 16th, 2011
2:32 pm

Well, as far as I know, no one is allowed to sh*t in the courtroom either…so if a mother with a diaper-clad baby gets up to leave to change the baby, I wonder if the judge will charge the baby for shi**ing in the courtroom. When will the world get over the fact that breastfeeding is appropriate at any and all times…feed the kid, will ya!

I Love Life Cereal

November 16th, 2011
4:36 pm

And yes, it was MAN who made them sexual. Woman didn’t. God didn’t. Man did!!!

More hysterical nonsense without a basis in reality.

(Typically) men like breasts & other female body parts..they don’t “make” them desirable or not. They just happen to like them. It’s called human nature…how do you think babies are made?

OH NOES, MEN LIKE BREASTS! OH, THE AGONY!

Good grief.

missnadine

November 16th, 2011
6:40 pm

I guess we should all be grateful that TWG has not called them BOOBS, like she usually does.

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heavy e.

November 17th, 2011
2:09 pm

You people who think a woman does not have the right to feed a baby in court are indeed ingnorant. First off she is mandated to be there, this is not the 1950s anymore and many mothers are single not to mention if she is married or has a boyfriend it is possible that he has a job that he may not be able to get away from. If there is anyone who has children of their own and has a problem with it i would be very worried for their children a baby is and should always be a parents 1st priority.

Observer

November 18th, 2011
9:36 am

Many people mistakenly think bringing their child to court with them will help them avoid going to jail. It just ends up that child protective services has to come and get the kid.

Not appropriate to bring kids to court, period.