Annie Peguero was called out for breastfeeding in the sanctuary of her church—and now, the mama is standing up for her legal rights.
Annie Peguero was at church when she experienced something so, so many mothers face: She was breastfeeding her child when she was asked to leave her seat in the sanctuary of Summit Church in Springfield. But Peguero did something many women don't do: She recognized her rights, and she fought back.
Peguero shared the story in a live video posted to her Facebook page. According to the video, she initially followed those instructions and started nursing her child outside the church's baby room—but the church's employees weren't having it. They brought blankets over to the mom and began covering her and her baby. The mom then left her daughter in the baby room and headed back upstairs to hear the sermon—but she received a text indicating her daughter was crying. Peguero brought her back in to listen to the rest of the sermon, and since her baby was hungry, she started discreetly feeding her right then and there. You can probably guess what happened next.
But Peguero stood her ground when she was asked to head back to the baby room—and that was well within her rights. Peguero quickly realized that her church's policy is to direct breastfeeding mothers away from the sanctuary—but here's the thing: Women are legally allowed to breastfeed anywhere in the state of Virginia, where the church is located.
"I never leave to go anywhere to feed my baby," Peguero said while breastfeeding in the video. "I just feel that it's important to feed her wherever and whenever and just give her milk...If you want to wear a cover, that's wonderful. Please, continue to wear a cover if that's what you and your baby want. But if you don't want to cover—if you don't want to, if covering is more of a problem for you and for your baby, then don't cover...Of course modesty comes into it. Of course you don't want your body exposed if that is you. But if you are comfortable breastfeeding in public, then I encourage you to continue breastfeeding and don't change your behavior."
Though this wasn't her intention, Peguero's story has gone viral, and while many people out there support the mother, others argue in the church's favor. She shared another video in which she openly cried and gave viewers an update on the situation and said she is working with an attorney. "I have to stand up for breastfeeding moms and I have to stand up for my baby and my rights as a mother," she said in the video.
We reached out to both Peguero and the church for comment on this story. But as advocates for breastfeeding mothers, we believe Peguero was simply doing what she needed to do for her baby—and her situation is similar to what so many nursing moms regularly experience. By fighting for her rights, she's essentially fighting for every other mama out there who has been unfairly shamed or policed while doing the most natural thing in the world.