Mom goes to doctor seeking help for postpartum depression — but gets shamed for breastfeeding instead
Jennifer Howard (KOIN)

An Oregon woman went to her doctor seeking help with postpartum depression, and he got embarrassed when she breastfed her infant daughter and covered her up.


Jennifer Howard went to see a new primary care physician at the Salem Clinic with her 3-month-old baby Evelyn, who got hungry during the appointment and started crying, reported KOIN-TV.

"I did what any mom would do -- I picked her up and attempted to nurse her," Howard said. "Before I even got started (the doctor) stopped me. He said -- he asked me if I had a cover, and I was a little surprised."

The doctor told her the clinic had a rule against what he described as inappropriate conduct to prevent lawsuits.

"I said again, nobody has ever asked me to do that before, And (Evelyn) is crying," Howard said. "I'm trying to figure out what to do in this situation."

Howard checked her diaper bag for a cover, and the doctor took matters into his own hands.

"He comes over to me and takes it out of my hand and proceeds to hold it up and shield me while I got my baby latched, and then he took it and covered me and my baby with it and proceeded with the office visit," she said.

Howard told the TV station that the doctor could have asked a nurse to come in or excuse himself while she fed her daughter -- almost anything else, really.

"But what he did was not the right move," she said. "I felt like I was doing something wrong, something dirty that needed to be hidden, and all I was doing was trying to care for my baby."

Howard spoke to a patient relations official afterward, and she was told the clinic had no policy against breastfeeding.

"They don't have one at all," she said.

Oregon state law allows breastfeeding in public, and women are not require to cover up.

Howard filed a verbal complaint and plans to find a new primary care physician -- after getting an apology.