Ashley Cooper continued to breastfeeding her 8-month-old after being told by mall security she was not allowed to do so in public


Ashley Cooper was breastfeeding her 8-month-old daughter at a Virginia mall when she says she was told by security she needed to stop and move to a designated nursing room.

Moments after her confrontation with the security guard, Cooper recalled the incident — while continuing to nurse her baby — in a Facebook Live video that’s now been viewed over 115,000 times.

“I am at Short Pump mall, taking my kids to see the Easter Bunny, and my baby was screaming because she’s hungry, so I’m on a bench trying to feed her quite discreetly,” Cooper says in the video. “Security has just informed me I have to go into a nursing room, of which they have one, and it is currently occupied. I informed them that in the state of Virginia breastfeeding mothers can nurse anywhere that they are legally allowed to be.”

Cooper then chats with another mall patron, who saw her conversation with the guard.

“I’m not going anywhere,” she says. “I have a 3-year-old inside with my husband, waiting to see the Easter Bunny. I’m out here trying to feed my 8-month-old. I’m a veteran mom. I’ve been nursing kids for three-and-a-half years. I chose a discreet corner on a bench. Now there’s two security guards up here, and I’m just going to keep feeding my baby.”

Cooper then moves the camera around to show that she is fully covered while feeding, so there is no reason she should not be feeding in public.

“Even if I zoom in, from no angle can you see anything offensive,” she says.

After sharing her video earlier this month, Cooper got hundreds of supportive comments.

“I want to say thank you to so many people who have shared messages of support,” she wrote as an update to her post. “Nursing, bottle, formula, gtube — no matter how your baby is fed, moms are allowed to feed their children anywhere and in any way!”

Cooper wrote that after she stopped recording, she continued to feed her baby and eventually went back inside the mall where her children got their photo with the Easter Bunny. After the photo session, she went to speak with the manager at the mall’s guest services.

“The women behind the counter were very apologetic and kind,” she says. “They offered apologies and train tickets for my family to take a ride (my 3-year-old loves the train). I hold no grudge toward the mall and will continue to shop and nurse there. I hold no ill-will toward the security guard — she thought she was doing her job.”

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Cooper says she was frustrated that the guard did not have the proper training to know that nursing women are allowed to feed their babies in public, and says the mall is taking steps to amend that.

“Short Pump Town Center has apologized and has pledged that they are going to incorporate the laws regarding rights of breastfeeding mothers to their security training,” she wrote.

Cooper also announced that there will be a “nurse-in” at the Short Pump Town Center mall in May.

“[It’s] not any sort of protest,” she wrote, “just a gathering of women to support moms feeding their babies.”