One nursing mom experienced what's a nightmare and surprisingly common occurrence for many when she and her husband took her kids to a family dentist in Rochester, New York

By Maura Hohman
December 10, 2018 06:00 PM
Elliott says she was shamed for nursing her daughter by her family's dentist
Courtesy Tiffany Elliott

One nursing mom experienced an embarrassing and surprisingly common occurrence when she and her husband took their kids to a family dentist in Rochester, New York.

Tiffany Elliott, mother to 5-year-old Vayda and 9-month-old Ember, told her story first on Facebook in a post that’s since gone viral.

On Dec. 1, Elliott and her husband brought their older daughter to Wilson Dental with their infant in tow. While waiting for the appointment to start, Elliott recalls “modestly nursing” Ember in the lobby of the building.

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During the routine check-up, Dr. Robin Craig began asking standard questions about the last time Vayda had had her teeth examined when the baby started to fuss.

“I went to breastfeed her, but I never got the chance,” Elliott recalls to PEOPLE. “I went to lift up the bottom of my shirt, and the dentist said, ‘I’m uncomfortable. You need to stop what you’re doing.’ “

Elliott said she looked at her “very confused, and I asked, ‘Are you referring to me feeding my daughter?’ And the dentist responded, ‘Whatever you’re doing you need to stop or I’m going to stop.’ “

Wilson Dental didn’t respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

In that moment, a wave of hurt, embarrassment and “humiliation” rushed over the mom.

“I explained it was my legal right due to New York State law, and she told me she didn’t care,” Elliot claims. “She told my husband that we needed to find a new dentist. I was crying, and we walked out.”

Then, Elliot says the receptionist and a dental assistant comforted her, telling the distraught mother they “were on [her] side,” while she waited to speak to a manager. As Elliot emphasized on social media, “I was not going to leave without talking to someone!”

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But, she says, the manager agreed with the dentist and told them to take their business elsewhere.

“We were laughed at, shrugged off, treated like it wasn’t an important issue,” Elliot recalls. “I mentioned that they ought to do a breastfeeding training, and they laughed at me. I couldn’t believe why I was being treated that way — why they didn’t want to understand what I was explaining to them.”

So Elliott took her story to social media, where it’s been shared more than 9,000 times and received more than 4,000 comments. Not all the feedback has been supportive, but the mom of two insists “for every negative comment, I got 100 positive ones.”

Even after the story took off, Elliott says she never received a formal apology from the facility.

“They posted something on Facebook that was explaining the situation but did not apologize to me,” she states. “People responded, saying that this doesn’t even mention the mom or apologize, so then they edited it to reference ‘the mother,’ and then they took it down.’ “

Wilson Dental has since removed its Facebook page.

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That said, Elliott’s grateful it happened to her and not someone else — and that it took place with Ember and not Vayda.

“Had it been my first daughter, I would’ve been much more upset and gone home and cried in private,” she says. “Breastfeeding takes a village. Moms are just trying to do right by their kids.”

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