A Virginia mom says she’s “in disbelief” after she was asked to leave a church service for breastfeeding.
Annie Peguero says her 19-month-old daughter, Autumn started getting fussy towards the end of services at Summit Church in Springfield, Virginia, so she started to nurse.
“I took out my breast, put it right in her mouth, and RIGHT AWAY, I mean right away, a woman came over to me, and said ‘We have a really nice baby room, let’s go to the baby room.’ And I said ‘No, it’s okay, it’ll just be a minute.’ And she said ‘No, we’re going to the baby room now,’ ” Peguero, 42, recalls in a Facebook Live video recorded on Monday. “Then Autumn was done, and I said ‘No, I’m not going.’ ”
Peguero, an online trainer and fitness coach, says she walked to the back of the church, where the woman explained that the church trains the congregation to stop women from breastfeeding in the sanctuary without a cover.
“She told me that the reason she did that is because there’s live video, and they’re streaming the service online,” Peguero says. “And I was like, ‘I don’t care, I don’t care if somebody sees me online breastfeeding.’ And then she said, ‘Another thing, what if a new churchgoer who is a man sees you and he feels uncomfortable?’ She kept saying that over and over again, and my mind was blown.”
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Pope Francis has said women should be able to breastfeed in church. “That’s the way it is. You mothers, go ahead and breastfeed, without fear. Just like the Virgin Mary nursed Jesus,” he said during a ceremony in January.
Summit Church is not Catholic, but Peguero thinks it’s bizarre that any church would adopt a policy preventing nursing.
“The fact that his church has told me that it’s their policy to not allow women to breastfeed in the sanctuary floors me, that we still have places that are thinking that way and teaching that way, and are teaching their workers to intercept women who are breastfeeding,” she says in her video. “I so love going to church there, but I’ll never set foot in that church again, and it makes me really sad.”
“If you are comfortable breastfeeding in public, then I encourage you to continue breastfeeding and don’t change your behavior because you’re worried about what somebody else thinks or does,” she says. “I want you to know that breastfeeding is normal. Don’t allow yourself to be part of that movement to continually objectify our bodies.”