One furious mother has launched a lawsuit after a dentist’s office disallowed her from breastfeeding her baby in public.
31-year old Kalee Kellough was visiting the Willamette Dental Group’s location in Bend, Oregon with her 16-month old son and 5-year old daughter in tow. Her daughter needed to get a tooth pulled, and due to her child’s anxieties over the procedure, Kalee made a point to be there in the patient room. While the mom was waiting for the dentist to come into the exam room, she began breastfeeding her son. But that’s where things started going downhill.
According to court documents, Dr. Matthew Haehlen entered the room but immediately left upon seeing Kalee feeding her child. Shortly after, a female office manager came in and said they would be unable to go ahead with the procedure if Kalee remained in the room,” the mom-of-two explained.
The office manager said Kalee could take her son and sit in the waiting room, but Kalee resisted as her daughter was adamant about wanting her mother nearby during the tooth removal. In the end, Kalee said she was escorted out of the office. “I’m really curious which would be more distracting: a screaming baby or a nursing baby?” he continued. “I would think a screaming baby, rather than a baby who nurses for comfort.”
Disallowing the mother to breastfeed her baby is actually a violation of Oregon law, which allows women to breastfeed in any public location. Kalee is also claiming gender discrimination in the lawsuit, and given Oregon’s open policy on breastfeeding, she stands a good chance at winning her case.
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While speaking to KGW News, Kalee said she decided to proceed with legal action in order to normalize breastfeeding in public. She admits the entire experience has given her anxiety around feeding her son and she wants to prevent the same thing from happening to other moms.
“Us moms have enough anxiety going out with our toddlers anywhere, so the fact that we have to worry about whether we have to feed them without dirty looks, without shame, without all the negative connotations that come with it — it’s really just mind-boggling to me that we even deal with this in this day and age,” she explained.
What do you think, BabyGaga readers- was the dentist office in the right or do you hope Kalee will win her case? Make sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments!