Mothers in breastfeed protest at Costa Rica mall

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 12, 2013 at 5:37 pm •  Published: January 12, 2013

Women's and children's groups said the incident set a terrible example in a region where they are trying to encourage more breastfeeding instead of the widespread use of baby formula in order to improve infant health.

Governments in Costa Rica and other Central American nations try to encourage breastfeeding with laws that include mandatory time off during the work day for new mothers to feed their babies or pump breast milk. But women's and children's advocates say rates of breastfeeding remain far too low.

The Costa Rican National Women's Institute sent the mall a formal letter warning that there was no legal justification for barring breastfeeding in public areas.

On Tuesday, President Laura Chinchilla admonished Lincoln Plaza's managers, saying interfering with breastfeeding in public was unjust and stressing that the provision of lactation rooms is only "so that women have an alternative location" to breastfeed if they wish.

The mall backed down later that day.