Oregon mom upset after doctor asks her to cover up while breastfeeding in office

WTVD logo
Thursday, July 26, 2018

STAYTON, Ore. -- An Oregon mom said she was humiliated by her doctor while trying to breastfeed her newborn.

In June, Jennifer Howard said she went to see a new primary care doctor at the Salem Clinic to ask about Postpartum Depression.

And like any new mother knows, her 3-month-old baby Evelyn went with her.

"You know during the office visit in the exam room she started crying she became hungry and I did what any mom would do, I pick her up and attempt to nurse her," Howard told KOIN.

And that's when she said her doctor stopped her.

"And he said he asked me if I had a cover and I was a little surprised."

RELATED: Minn. mom asked to move while breastfeeding in pool plans to file discrimination charges

So, she asked him to clarify.

"And he said yes, to cover yourself while you're breastfeeding and I said, 'Well, no doctor has ever asked me to do that before,' and he said, 'Well, it's a rule we have to prevent lawsuits from something inappropriate."

But it wasn't a clinic policy, in fact, his actions were against the law.

"She (a woman in client services) informed me there was no breastfeeding policy; they don't have one at all."

Oregon law states that women have the right to breastfeed their children in a public place, which is defined as "anywhere that person is allowed to be. Someone cannot require a woman to cover up."

Howard has filed a verbal complaint and has requested to switch doctors.

However, her request was denied.

"Parenting is hard enough as it is and we don't need this, women don't need this ... It was humiliating honestly, I'm just trying to feed my baby, I'm not doing anything that should be hidden. He could have gotten a nurse if he was uncomfortable, he could have simply excused himself and left the room."