Was This Breastfeeding Mom Endangering Her Baby?

It’s a battle of cop said, mom said when it comes to a report that a mother was kicked out of a Brad Paisley concert.  And I am actually skeptical of … the mom. Megan Christopherson says police kicked her out of the concert in San Diego for breastfeeding. But the cops are telling a completely different story. And it’s plausible.

A statement from the Chula Vista Police Department states that amphitheater security notified Live Nation Management that there was a female in the “pit” area with an infant baby strapped to her chest. She was near the stage wall area and just feet away from the speakers. Security asked the female patron to move from the “pit” area due to possible danger to the infant child (crushing from potential crowd surge and excessive noise level from the adjacent speaker).

But she refused to leave the area. So, cops were summoned to check the welfare of the infant. She was advised of the danger posed to her infant child if she remained in the pit area. She was presented with two options; she could be relocated to a seated area (free of charge) or receive a full refund. Christopherson elected a full refund and left the venue. The Chula Vista Police Department says their involvement in the incident was due to the welfare and safety of the infant and NOT due to a mother’s legal right to breastfeed in public.

Whether or not she was breastfeeding has nothing to do with the fact that she clearly was in an inappropriate place with her baby. Of course the baby absolutely was at risk for damage to their developing ears and concerts often host rowdy fans that are drinking and doing whatever other adult things they deem in their right. Good for them! Adults deserve to act like adults. I think it’s odd the mom thought it was OK to share this type of event with her baby, still small enough to fit in a sling on her chest!

Everything changes when you become a parent and sometimes you have to miss out on things because you don’t have a babysitter — it doesn’t mean you cart your kid along. I can’t even count the times (uh, so many!) I’ve declined invites to brunch, afternoon drinks at a bar, a party and any other adult situation (a date, argh!) that wasn’t the most comfortable place for Jack when he was a baby. Yes, it burns to miss out on stuff, especially when you really need a break from motherhood and the routine grind (been there), but that is the price of choosing motherhood. 

Breastfeeding in public is a mother’s right and I highly doubt Christopherson would have bowed out of the concert for a full refund if that’s all she was doing — because the cops wouldn’t have been legally in their grasp to remove her. I believe security and the cops were rightfully concerned for the wee one’s safety. And OK, I’m sure security was looking at it from a legal standpoint, too. God forbid, something did happen to the child; the venue and production company and anyone else involved in the concert would be held liable. 

At the end of the day, I think this story should serve as a wake-up call to mothers who need to stop taking their babies and young kids to places they just don’t belong. I know this seems harsh of me, because I’m in the mom sorority and I’m taking sides here, but here’s the thing, if I were at that concert and witnessed this mom with a baby strapped to her chest in the pit area, speakers blaring, I would have been concerned, too. 

This story reminds me of a situation I found myself in this past weekend. I was at the pool with Jack. A couple walked into the deck area pushing a stroller. I know this couple from the property, so I knew there was a newborn in the stroller. But newborns can’t go in pool water or even wear sunblock. The seat was covered with a thin blanket. The couple stretched out on lounge chairs and positioned the stroller in a semi-shaded area, but it didn’t matter because it was 90 degrees out, but felt like 110. It was muggy and moist, sun beating, no breeze. It was one of those days where you were either in AC, or in a cool pool.

Jack wanted to go swimming, so we opted to lather up in sunblock, pack a cooler of icy drinks and snacks, and play in the water all afternoon. It was refreshing and fun. Because we were able to cool off—not bake in a stroller with a blanket concealing our faces and bodies. This is reading so judgmental, but it is supposed to. I don’t think that a newborn should have been on the pool deck, let alone outside at all in that kind of weather. She should have been inside in her basinet in a comfortable temp, period. But here’s the thing, just like this couple made the choice to bring their baby to the pool, Christopherson opted to bring her baby to the pit near the speakers. 

This story isn’t about breastfeeding. It’s about common sense. 

Chime in. 

 Photo: Getty