Irondequoit, N.Y. (WHAM) - A Facebook post went viral over the weekend, after a local mother claimed she was shamed for breastfeeding her child. The reported shaming apparently happened in a patient examination room at Wilson Dental in Irondequoit.
The Irondequoit mother, Tiffany Elliot, said the doctor who criticized her is a female medical professional. She said she took to Facebook not out of anger, but to help spread awareness about women's rights.
Lori Smith of Charlotte is a busy mom of four girls. She's breastfed all of them and said it wasn't always easy.
“The reality is a baby gets hungry when a baby gets hungry, and you have to stop and feed that baby whatever way the baby eats,” Smith said.
Smith said she was disturbed after seeing the Facebook post written by Elliot over the weekend. Elliot claimed she was shamed by a dentist at Wilson Dental after breastfeeding her baby in the office.
“I was appalled,” Smith said. “No mama wants to make anybody else feel uncomfortable, but they also need to take care of their children.”
The social media post raked up more than 11,000 likes.
In her post, Elliott said that while in a patient examination room, her infant child became hungry, so she started to breastfeed with no skin exposed. She said Dr. Robin Craig then said, “I'm uncomfortable, and whatever you are doing there needs to stop!"
Smith said she was surprised.
“Both as an adult and medical professional, I was surprised that the person reacted the way that they did, because there would’ve been more delicate ways to handle that,” she said.
Dr. Mike Wilson, the owner of Wilson Dental, told 13WHAM there are two sides to the story.
“Dr. Craig was going to say this make me uncomfortable and I'm going to leave the room. What she was able to get out was this makes me uncomfortable and mom got very upset,” Wilson said. “She was not saying you're not allowed to breastfeed your baby.”
13WHAM called Wilson Dental’s main office in an attempt to reach Dr. Robin Craig for comment, but was instead referred to a statement by Dr. Wilson.
The statement read:
“There was an unfortunate comment made on Saturday to a breastfeeding mother by one of our employees at our Rochester office. I want to apologize to the mom, on behalf of Wilson Dental for that comment. In response, I just wanted to make it crystal clear as to where myself and Wilson Dental stands when it comes to the subject of breastfeeding moms. We completely support all mothers' right to breast-feed their children in public. We do not accept, condone, or believe in any kind of discrimination against breast-feeding moms or their breastfeeding children. We will immediately perform additional breastfeeding education awareness and training for our entire staff, at all of our locations, so that everyone in our practices is fully aware of the company’s position and perspective on this very important subject and to make sure that these situations are handled accordingly going forward.”
13WHAM spoke with Dr. Wilson by phone Monday. He wasn't in town at the time of the incident.
“She wasn't trying to shame anyone. She's kind of direct,” he said. “Dr. Craig definitely feels bad. I think she regrets even being uncomfortable. She said it's always made her uncomfortable.”
According to Dr. Wilson, they've had dozens of moms breastfeeding at their several offices and have never had an issue.
“We completely support all mothers' right to breast-feed their children in public,” he said. “We do not accept, condone, or believe in any kind of discrimination against breast-feeding moms or their breastfeeding children.”
The dentist office on East Ridge Road was closed Monday and will also be closed Tuesday. Dr. Wilson said the decision was made after dozens of people posted to Wilson Dental’s Facebook page that some angry people were going to show up to the office. He said rather than deal with that, the decision was made to close.
One patient, who was unaware his appointment was cancelled Monday, says Dr. Craig is his dentist.
“Dr. Craig, she’s very professional,” said Glenn Bunn of Rochester. “I haven’t had any problems with her. It’s sounds like it’s out of character for her. From a patient-doctor relationship, I have no problem with her.”
Dr. Wilson said they are in the process of planning a breastfeeding educational training for the entire staff at all of its locations.
Six states and Puerto Rico have implemented or encouraged the development of a breastfeeding awareness education campaign. New York is not among those states.