ROSEVILLE (CBS13) — A local mom says she was told she needed to “cover up” more while breastfeeding at the dentist office.
Nicole Caraccillo says she did what any mother would do.
“He started crying because he was hungry so nobody was around and I just said I’m going to feed him so I took my breast out and fed him,” she said.
The mother of three was at the Eureka Dental Group office with her oldest son, Dominic, and 7-month-old Eli. As she began to feed the baby in a back room, Nicole says an assistant told her to stop.
“Woman came in and said, ‘We can’t have you breastfeeding in here. You are going to need to cover up,’” she said.
Eureka Dental Group told CBS13 they did not require her to cover up or leave.
In a statement, it said “We did not prohibit the breastfeeding but all we asked was to cover up since other people are around.”
But according to the California Department of Health, she may not have to.
California Civil Code 43.3 states:
“Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a mother may breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, except the private home or residence of another, where the mother and the child are otherwise authorized to be present.”
It makes no mention of covering breasts. We asked the state health department, family law lawyers and the California Breastfeeding Coalition, and they agreed Nicole has a right to breastfeed.
But they weren’t sure if anyone can ask a mother to cover up when nursing. The coalition’s position is no, but even they aren’t sure.
Lawyers from the department of health say while there is no requirement in the law for a mother to cover up, but courts haven’t weighed in on the issue.
Caraccillo believes she doesn’t have to cover up and says she is telling her story in the hope that other moms don’t have to be publicly embarrassed.
“If you are breastfeeding your child they can’t tell you, you can’t,” she said. “They can’t treat you like that and I want women to know they can breastfeed their child.”