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Breastfeeding moms on a mission to change public opinion

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NEW BERN, N.C. - How you choose to feed your baby and where you're doing it is raising some controversy in one city.

Some breastfeeding moms in New Bern are getting negative comments and reaction when they nurse in public.

Yet, a General Statute in North Carolina allows mothers to breastfeed in any public or private location where she is otherwise allowed to be and every mom has the right to breastfeed with or without a cover.

"Cover up. Why don't you go do that in the bathroom? There are other places you can do that. Go to your car.” Those are just some of the comments people have made to New Bern, mom of six, Crystal Levin while she breastfeeds in public without a cover.

"Every mom here has their 'somebody asked me to go feed my baby in the bathroom' story," said Levin.

Yet for some moms in other eastern areas, they don’t have those kind of stories.

"I've nursed all over Greenville, at ECU football games, in restaurants, everywhere. If my baby is hungry they're going to eat,” said mom of four, Vallere Shelton.

Shelton says she’s never been confronted, which could be why many moms in New Bern go to cities like Greenville for support.

"There's younger people walking by and it's generally not a big deal, but when there's an older group of people walking by you feel like you're getting looked at and judged,” said Levin.

“I think it's an honor that God has given for women to be able to do that,” said New Bern resident of 20 years, Linda Little.

She says she breastfed all three of her kids in a time when it wasn’t popular to do so, but when it comes to doing it in public without a cover, she has a different point of view.

“I also think that it's an honor not to expose yourself to other people. It's not the breastfeeding that people object; it's the demonstration of the body that is not pleasant."

That’s the mindset nursing moms like Levin want to change in the City of New Bern.

“Smile at her the same way you'd smile at a mom who is feeding their baby a bottle,” said Levin. “They're all moms and until all moms can be supported equally, we have some things to work on."

Levin and Shelton are leaders of Eastern North Carolina Le Leche League groups. To get involved or receive support with breastfeeding, the groups meet monthly.

Greenville:
Happy Girls Bras and Breastfeeding store
Second Thursday at 7:00 p.m.

Third Wednesday at 10:00 a.m.

New Bern:
Trinity United Methodist Church
Second Monday at 6:45 p.m.

Carteret County:
Coffee Affair
Every Tuesday at 10:00 a.m.

St. Andrews Episcopal Church
Third Wednesday at 10:00 a.m.


Jacksonville:
Lutheran Church of Our Savior
First Thursday at 10:00 a.m.
Third Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

Elizabeth City:
Pasquatank/Camden Library
Second Wednesday at 11:00 a.m.

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