NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Queens public library has apologized after an employee told a mother she could only breast-feed in its restroom.
Sherry Singh, a regular at the Forest Hills library, told CBS2’s Meg Baker she, her 4-month-old girl, Karina, and her other young daughter were the only ones in a section of the library Saturday.
Then Karina got hungry.
“Sitting with my 4-year-old — it was her birthday that day — and we were playing with puppets, and this little one started to cry, so I put her in the ring sling, and I put my cover on over it, and I started to nurse her,” Singh said.
“An employee came over to me and said, ‘You can’t do that here. You have to go to the bathroom.”
“I said, ‘I’m not doing anything illegal. What you’re doing is illegal,'” the mother continued. “And then she said someone complained. And I was very angry.”
Singh showed Baker the cover she uses to breast-feed in public.
“I was doubly stunned because I was completely covered up,” she said. “I thought the issue was with people seeing your breasts. I didn’t know the issue was just breast-feeding at all.”
Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said the law allows breast-feeding in public, with or without a cover.
New York was the first state to pass a law protecting a mother’s right to breast-feed in public.
“It’s been the law for quite a while,” Lieberman said. “It is every woman’s right to breast-feed in public.”
In a statement, the library said, “We will be giving our staff additional coaching to remind them about the proper practice for maintaining a welcoming environment.”
Singh accepted the library’s apology and is not taking any legal action, but said she wants the story out there to educate others.
“I would like signs up in the library because I feel like we need to normalize as a society breast-feeding,” she said.