Outrage as breastfeeding mom kicked out of Md. casino

WASHINGTON — The story of a breastfeeding mom who was kicked out of Maryland’s Casino at Ocean Downs for nursing her seven-week old baby there has gone viral, with outrage growing over what some are calling blatant discrimination.

The Berlin, Md., casino told her, according to this story by CBS Baltimore, that the casino rules are strict  — no one under the age of 21 is permitted on the gaming floor — so the baby had to go.

“I was in shock, I could not believe that was happening. I was just trying to feed my daughter, I was not trying to take her gambling or anything,” Alana Panas told the local  television station.

She explained that she and her boyfriend, and her father had come to the casino after a family dinner. It was their first time at a casino.  Her mother had been watching her baby girl, named Lilly, until the infant became fussy. Panas met he mother in the lobby and began to nurse. She told the Salisbury Md., Daily Times that she was never on the gaming floor, she was in the corner of the lobby, waiting for her boyfriend to bring the car keys.

After posting  on her Facebook page, Panas’ story went viral.

Ocean Downs posted an apology on Twitter afterwards saying, “We strive to make our guest’s experience enjoyable. If any member of our team acted in a manner that doesn’t promote that, we’re sorry.”

Panas doesn’t buy it — she said the casino reached out to her and told she had been seen as “a security threat.”

Maryland is one of 46 states that have specific laws allowing women to breastfeed in public.

Stephanie Amsler, leader of Berlin’s chapter of La Leche, a national women’s breastfeeding support group, told the newspaper that mothers are often told to leave places of business while breastfeeding.

“The law protects mothers who choose to breastfeed in public,” Amsler said. “That choice to breastfeed in a restaurant, store park, mall or any other public place is up to the mother and her baby.”


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This article was written by WTOP’s news partners at Maryland Matters and republished with permission. Sign up for Maryland Matters’ free email subscription today.

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