Local mom harassed for breastfeeding in public

Heather Silvis says her rights were violated after she tried to breastfeed her child in public.

A Midlands mother is speaking out, saying her rights were violated after she tried breastfeeding her infant son in public.

"I was angry. I was humiliated. I felt violated. I felt embarrassed," said Heather Silvis.

Heather Silvis says an ordinary day at Wal-Mart quickly turned chaotic when she needed a place to breastfeed her 10-week-old son. And was confronted by a store employee.

"He suggested that I go to the restroom," said Silvis. "And I told him I didn't want to nurse the baby on the toilet. Thanks anyway."

The mother of four was eventually led to a dressing room and found she would not only have to deal with a screaming child but she would also hear screams from several workers.

"The associates actually took my cart with my 21-month-old baby in it and pushed the shopping cart around the corner into a dressing room," recalled Silvis. "And the supervisor told me, you're going to have to do it in there."

Only days after workers tried to force her into a dressing room at the Wal-Mart on Two Notch Road, Heather says she's now pushing back for change.

"I felt like I was being treated like a criminal," said Silvis. "What I was doing, not only was it natural, but it was wasn't obscene. It wasn't indecent."

Instead, Silvis says the way she was treated was indecent.

"It is a violation of your civil rights for someone to tell you you're not allowed to feed your child. And to shun you in the back room of the store," said Silvis.

Heather said management did apologize on behalf of Wal-Mart, but she wants an apology from the store employees.

On May 2, 2006, Gov. Mark Sanford signed an Act protecting and promoting breastfeeding throughout the state.