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Sometimes people get hungry when they're out and about, and since babies need to eat more often than most of us, they definitely get hungry away from home. Parents can't—and shouldn't—be forced to find a private spot for a breastfeeding break every time baby needs to nurse.

Breastfeeding is normal, it's natural and our right to do it in public is protected.

That's what Jennifer Mancuso, the Instagramming mama at the centre of a now-viral story of breastfeeding suppression wants fellow mothers to know.

"There's nothing gray about it. The law very clearly, in black and white, protects mothers," Mancuso tells Motherly.

Back in August, Mancuso was asked to stop nursing her twins in open areas at their day care, and to instead breastfeed only a small back room meant for employees. This week the Daily Mail picked up the story, igniting international interest in the months-old incident that happened in an Ohio childcare center.

Mancuso is surprised by all the media attention she's been getting this week, but what really surprised her was the fact that she was ever even asked to isolate herself while breastfeeding, especially at her day care, were the staff all know she's very active as a pro-breastfeeding Instagrammer.

"I've never been asked to move at all in my life. So, the fact that it happened at that location, where my children are taken care of was shocking," Mancuso told Motherly on the phone from Ohio.

"I looked right at the director. I said, "Wow. This is gonna be great Instagram content." I was not at all shy about letting them know that this is going to go online."

Mancuso schooled the day care staff on Ohio law, which states "a mother is entitled to breast-feed her baby in any location of a place of public accommodation wherein the mother otherwise is permitted. She considered looking for other care for her children, but eventually received and accepted an apology.

She hopes that by speaking publicly about the incident now, other moms in America will know that if someone asks you to leave or cover up, they owe you an apology, not the other way around.

"A mother is not required to cover up. The mother is not required to turn a certain way or wear something specific to be discreet. No. A mother's entitled to breastfeed her baby anywhere she is otherwise allowed to be."

Mancuso is right. This is the law. Not just in Ohio, but all over the country.

American mothers "have the right to breastfeed your baby wherever and whenever your baby is hungry," according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services' Office on Women's Health. Until last year, Idaho was the one state that had no protections for breastfeeding mothers, but that has changed.

Now all 50 states (and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands) have laws that protect a mom's right to breastfeed in public, notes the National Conference of State Legislators.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the World Health Organization all encourage women to breastfeed and want to raise breastfeed rates in the United States. These organizations encourage exclusive breastfeeding because a growing body of evidence suggests breastfeeding offers optimal nutritional and immune system benefits, including lower risks for asthma, obesity, type 2 diabetes, ear and respiratory infections and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the CDC, 63.74% of Americans believe women should have the right to breastfeed in public places, and 57.75% say they are "comfortable when mothers breastfeed their babies near me in a public place."

Just over 19% of Americans are not comfortable seeing mothers breastfeed in public, but it's important to remember that a mother's right to breastfeed is legally protected, comfort in public spaces is not. Unfortunately, research suggests that "restaurant and shopping center managers have reported that they would either discourage breastfeeding anywhere in their facilities or would suggest that breastfeeding mothers move to an area that was more secluded."

Those attitudes are changing, but there are still many people who do not understand that breastfeeding moms have a right to feed their babies in public.

So what can a mother do if she is approached by someone who discourages her from nursing in public?

"Remember that the law protects your right to feed your baby any place you need to. You do not need to respond to anyone who criticizes you for breastfeeding," the CDC states on its website. "If you feel in danger, move away from the person criticizing you and look for people who can support you.

We can breastfeed at bus stops, at restaurants, at the public pool, at the library, at the mall, or anywhere we need to, including day care! It's our responsibility to feed our children when they are hungry, and it's our right, too.

Mancuso hopes her story will inspire other mothers to share theirs, as Instagram posts and in daily conversations.

"That's the best way for people to see it regularly and help destigmatize," she says. She wants mothers to "talk about it, and most especially, know the law and their rights."

[A version of this post was originally published July 19, 2018. It has been updated to include Jennifer Mancuso's experience.]

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So what can a mother do if she is approached by someone who discourages her from nursing in public?

"Remember that the law protects your right to feed your baby any place you need to. You do not need to respond to anyone who criticizes you for breastfeeding," the CDC states on its website. "If you feel in danger, move away from the person criticizing you and look for people who can support you.

I was blissfully asleep on the couch while my little one was occupied elsewhere with toys, books and my partner. She got bored with what they were doing, escaped from his watch and, sensing my absence, set about looking for me. Finding me on the couch, nose-level, she peeled back my one available eyelid, singing, "Mama? Mama? ...You there? Wake UP!"

Sound familiar? Nothing limits sleep more than parenthood. And nothing is more sought after as a parent than a nap, if not a good night's rest.

But Mother Nature practically guarantees that you are likely to be woken up by a toddler—they're hardwired to find you (and get your attention) when you're "away."

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