When a baby cries with hunger, a mother does what she has to. It’s really a bummer when security kicks out a breastfeeding mom in a casino, citing her baby as a “security threat.”
Alanna Panas from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, and her family went to the Casino at Ocean Downs in Berlin, Maryland. Panas’ mother handed 7-week-old baby Lilly back to her after babysitting so she could spend some quality time with her father and boyfriend at the casino.
As USA Today reports, Panas had forgotten her car keys and the bottle of milk Lilly drank was consumed. The infant still wanted more to eat and she wanted to breastfeed her.
Panas tells 13 News Now the following in regards to the incident.
“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.”
Panas then sent a text to her boyfriend to meet her in the lobby so he could give her the keys and breastfeed Lilly in the car. As she waited for her boyfriend, Lilly’s cries grew more impatient. She decided to nurse the girl in the casino lobby, which was completely empty. At that point, security confronted Panas and ordered her to leave the building immediately. According to gaming laws in Maryland, individuals under the age of 21 are not permitted on the gaming floor.
“They told me that Lilly was a security threat,” shares Panas.
The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s website does say that it’s permissible for a mother to “breastfeed her child in any public or private location in which the mother and child are authorized to be.”
The breastfeeding mom kicked out of the casino building says she was aware of the rules because they were posted everywhere, but says she wasn’t on the gaming floor. She was in the lobby.
Panas went to Facebook and let everyone know what happened. Breastfeeding Mama Talk shared her story and it went viral. Kristy Kemp, founder of the Facebook support group, says Panas’ story is about promoting the awareness of breastfeeding laws. Kemp says “Panas didn’t deserve to be shown the door.”
“It’s not like I love ousting businesses and getting boob mobs all over their social media accounts, but I feel like if people don’t unite to educate one another, incidents similar to Alanna’s will continue to happen… “
Stephanie Amsler heads Berlin’s chapter of La Leche and says mothers are often kicked out of venues and other businesses while breastfeeding.
“The law protects mothers who choose to breastfeed in public. That choice to breastfeed in a restaurant, store park, mall or any other public place is up to the mother and her baby.”
Panas says all she wants is a genuine apology from Ocean Downs over the January 3 incident. She did receive an apology from the casino, but she says she was made to feel that she and her baby were to blame.
A message was written on the casino’s Facebook page.
“Casino at Ocean Downs strives to make our guests’ experiences enjoyable, and if any member of our team acted in a manner that did not promote that experience, we apologize. We will be reaching out to Ms. Panas directly to discuss her concerns.”
Will the casino make Panas happy after security kicked her out for breastfeeding her daughter? That’s what Panas is hoping for.
“My baby and I did nothing wrong. I just want a sincere apology for the way we were treated.”
[Photo Credit: SBE Blog]