Breastfeeding Mom a ‘Security Risk,’ Forced to Leave Casino

Alanna Panas was at the Casino at Ocean Downs in Berlin, Maryland, when her 7-week-old baby started fussing. When it became clear that the baby needed to eat again, despite having just finished a bottle of breast milk, Panas says she began to breastfeed her daughter in the corner of the casino’s empty lobby. That’s when security kicked her out.

“I was approached and told to leave immediately,” Panas wrote on Facebook. “I kindly reminded the security guard that Lilly was 7 weeks old and it was freezing cold and raining, I was not willing to leave and risk her health.” 

Panas also wrote about her experience on breastfeeding support pages and her story has since gone viral, according to People.

Maryland law allows women to breastfeed in public and private places, but Panas tells People that casino personnel told her she had to leave because the baby was underage and posed a security threat. They later denied it was due to the breastfeeding. Panas says she believes security was concerned that she would try to sneak into the casino with her baby.

As her story spread online, Panas heard from other mothers who say they, too, have been discriminated against for breastfeeding. With so much support, the new mom did receive a call from the assistant executive director of the casino and what she calls a “half-hearted apology” after the business posted this response on Facebook: “The Casino at Ocean Downs strives to make our guests’ experience enjoyable, and if any member of our team acted in a manner that did not promote that experience, we apologize.”

Alanna says that she and Lily did nothing wrong, and she just wants a sincere apology for the way they were treated.

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