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10/31/2012

Breastfeeding Brouhaha at Little Rock Zoo

From: KARK


by Lauren Trager, KARK 4 News
10-31-2012

Kids and adults alike are all excited to see new mom Sekani and baby Adelina.

At just about ten weeks old, the baby gorilla likes to cuddle, play, and eat.

"The baby gorilla breast feeds every day," said Susan Alturi with the Little Rock Zoo.

It's no big deal for Sekani.

But a mom at the Zoo Friday says she got much more than a few curious stares.

Jennifer Reynolds created a Facebook post saying while she was nursing on a zoo bench, she was harassed by a man she thought was a zoo employee, who told her she couldn't publicly breast feed.

She was adamant about her rights under Arkansas law.

Her post started a firestorm with more than six thousand people liking it and more than a thousand commenting.

"This immediately was alarming to us because the Little Rock Zoo supports breast feeding and in no way would we support an officer saying a woman could not breast feed," Alturi said.

Susan Altrui with the Zoo says as it turns out, it wasn't a Zoo security officer, but another patron, perhaps dressed like one.

"It's understandable if he was wearing a costume like that, why one of our guests would think he was one of our security officers," said Altrui.

Altrui says they support moms in whatever choice they make about feeding their kids. With so many other mammals, the zoo is a natural place for the discussion.

But some moms we talked to are a bit torn about when and how the practice of publicly nursing is appropriate.

"She could have pumped it and put in a bottle for it to be better for other people.'

 "I think if it happens right there, it happens, if the baby is hungry, feed him."

Sekani, on the other hand, didn't seem to care, though she did turn her back a bit. 

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