Jefferson County mother claims skate rink violated her breastfee - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Jefferson County mother claims skate rink violated her breastfeeding rights

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JEFFERSON COUNTY (WKOW) -- A Ft. Atkinson mother says a skating rink worker violated her right to breastfeed in public.

Lillian Hacht says she and her family visited Skate Express in Watertown on Saturday. When she started breastfeeding her 9-month-old daughter Alaska, an employee approached her and demanded she move away from the concession stand or cover herself up.

Hacht says she felt humiliated. 

"[Alaska] just won't eat covered up, she doesn't like it, she won't do it, and [the employee] proceeded to pick up my blanket and put it into my face and tell me I could cover up with that," Hacht told 27 News.

A state law that passed in 2010 states no one can restrict a mother from breastfeeding in a public or private place and you cannot direct a mother to move or cover up. 

Hacht says she tried to call the facility when she got home to express her disappointment with the way the situation was handled and the person who answered the phone hung up on her. She emailed management but had not heard back, as of Monday night. 

"I would like an apology and I would for them to realize that there’s nothing wrong with a mother breastfeeding," she said.

27 News reached out to Skate Express management, who declined an on camera interview, but released the following statement in response to the claim. 

For 22 years Skate Express Family Roller Rink has provided family friendly skating activities for families and teenagers. It is not unusual to have a mother breast feed her baby while her family enjoys skating. We have never had an issue with mothers breastfeeding in the past. On Saturday, April 14th about 5:30pm, a young mother was breastfeeding in a high traffic area near the concession stand, the mother made no attempt to cover herself in any way. This was noticed by others and communicated to a female employee that they were uncomfortable with the situation and felt it was very inconsiderate to families and children.  A female employee did then address the situation with the mother. The mother was allowed to breastfeed her baby in the rink and was not asked to leave. We do respect a mother’s right and freedom to care for her baby while visiting or skating at our rink.

Skate Express posted a similar statement on its Facebook page, which has since been taken down. 

Hacht posted about her experience on Facebook and her post has been shared about 300 times as of Monday night. Mothers from the area have reached out to her and they're considering holding a "nurse in", to serve as a protest.

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