GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - An incident at a Gulfport business left one mom feeling ashamed. It all happened Saturday while Candace Setosta was breastfeeding her 10-month-old son, Max, at Gulf Islands Waterpark.
She said employees asked her to cover up. She refused, and now the entire ordeal has turned into a teaching moment.
Setosta was enjoying a relaxing day with her family at the water park.
"Max got hungry right after we entered, and so I did go into the dressing room and it was kinda smelly," said Setosta. "So was the bathroom, so then I asked the lady if she had a place for him to feed him. It was just a regular employee, and she said, 'no.'"
Setosta then asked if she could breastfeed anywhere.
"She said, 'yes.' I said, I breastfeed, so if someone complains can I come to you, and she said, 'yes.'"
Setosta began breastfeeding Max. During Max's third feeding, his mother says she was approached by workers.
"The first thing she said is they received some complaints about me breastfeeding and could I put a towel over him. I was like, it's pretty hot out here. I'm not going to put a towel over him. I think that's silly," Setosta recalled.
She said the employee then asked her if she could unlatch Max so she could breastfeed him inside an office.
"I said no. I cannot unlatch him. It's not that simple just to latch and unlatch. It's just not the same. That's when I started to get aggravated, because I started to feel extremely attacked by it," said Setosta.
Now, the water park is claiming the customer was right.
"It was a case where our staff was uninformed and uneducated. When I was told about the incident, I immediately stopped and addressed that incident with the team member. We've also begun reeducating the rest of the staff so they are aware of the legal rights of breastfeeding moms in Mississippi and the courtesy and respect that all our customers are due," said General Manager of Gulf Islands Waterpark Mark Moore.
One mother of four said she agrees with Setosta's actions.
"Breastfeeding is the best thing for the baby. It's hot out here. Nobody wants to have a cover over their face while they are eating. Nobody out here is covering their face cause they are eating pizza," said Kacey Guinn.
But, some believe the water park made the right move.
"I just feel if they offer her a private room it shouldn't have been a big factor. I believe she should have just taken the private room and just went in there, because I believe she would want to be in private doing things like that," said Jermaine Franklin.
"They apologized on my post that was on their page. I do feel like it was an ignorance thing. I don't think it was meant to be cruel or to hurt me, even though it did," said Setosta.
State law allows a mother to breastfeed her child in any location she is authorized to be. The law also prohibits any ordinance restricting a woman's right to breastfeed.