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Mother kicked out of casino for breastfeeding; was accused of being a "security threat"


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(NaturalNews) A 24-year-old Pennsylvania mom says she was asked to leave a casino in Maryland after she was discovered breastfeeding her 7-week-old infant in the lobby on January 3. Alanna Panas explained that, at the last minute, she, her boyfriend and her father had decided to go to the casino after a family dinner.

Her mother and sister volunteered to babysit while running errands, taking with them one bottle of pumped breast milk. After consuming the bottle, Panas' infant daughter, Lilly, became fussy, prompting the mom and sister to bring the baby back so that she could be nursed. Panas said she met them in the lobby.

"My mother and sister took Lilly for about an hour so my father, boyfriend and I could enjoy some time at the casino," said Panas.

It was Panas' first time visiting a casino when Maryland's Ocean Downs staff approached her and said that the casino rules are strict, and no one under the age of 21 years old is permitted on the gaming floor. They then asked her to exit the lobby.

In an interview with the Salisbury, Md., Daily Times, Panas said that she was never on the gaming floor at all, but in the lobby, waiting for her boyfriend to bring her car keys. "It wasn't until my mom had left and I was standing in the lobby with Lilly that I realized I didn't have my car keys," she explained.

Young breastfeeding mom was asked to leave immediately after casino security discovered her breastfeeding in the lobby

Her plan was to get the car keys from her boyfriend so that she could breastfeed in the parking lot, but as Lilly's fussiness worsened, like any good nurturing mother, Panas decided to begin nursing in the lobby, attempting to soothe her baby's cries.

"I did what was best and began to breastfeed, the perfect nourishment for an infant," wrote Panas in a social media post.

Casino security soon asked her to leave immediately, later calling her a "security threat," despite Maryland being one of 46 states that have specific laws allowing women to nurse in any public or private place.

Maryland's law also says that a person cannot restrict or limit the right of a mother to breastfeed her child. And while a law is not needed to grant this right, many states have laws intended to clarify that right and protect mothers from being told to stop breastfeeding in public.

"They told me that Lilly was a security threat," said Panas.

"I kindly reminded the security guard that Lilly was 7 weeks old and it was freezing cold and raining, I was not willing to leave and risk her health," Panas said. "I was still told I needed to leave with no where else to go but the cold and rain and was labeled as a situation."

Breastfeeding Mama Talk helps Panas' story go viral

When she got home, Panas took to her social media account to voice her frustration. Love and support from other mothers soon began to flood in after posting her story to breastfeeding support pages. "Breastfeeding Mama Talk" contacted Panas, asking her to share her story. The support group shared Panas' story, causing it to go viral.

Three days after the incident, Panas said she received a phone call from the Assistant Executive Director of Casino at Ocean Downs explaining the reasoning behind their position that day.

"I was told I was told to leave immediately because security saw Lilly and I as a threat of sneaking in. They denied it was due to breastfeeding," Panas said. "I was never formally apologized to for how Lilly and I were treated."







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