Raleigh mom calls for better facilities after having to pump milk in courthouse closet

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A Raleigh mom wants offices and public spaces to do more to accommodate breastfeeding moms after she says she had to pump in a supply closet at a courthouse.

Like any mom, Amanda Locklear wants to do what best for her children, and for her son, that includes breastfeeding.

“My first child was NICU, so I didn’t get the breastfeeding experience with her,” said Locklear. “We lost a child. During the second trimester, I had a miscarriage. Being able to pump for my son and also getting that whole experience was really important for me.”

When Locklear went to the Wake County Justice Center Monday to report for jury duty, she asked the clerk if there was a space where she could pump. She said she was one of three nursing moms called for jury duty that day.

“She took me into a room which was essentially a supply closet filled with boxes and records,” she said. “So that’s where I got to pump.”

While the door to the supply room locked from the outside, Locklear couldn’t lock it herself and said she was worried someone would walk in.

Locklear took to social media to share her frustration and heard from other moms who had similar experiences trying to find designated rooms to nurse at other public spaces.

“I had so many different random people that I didn’t know supporting me and messaging me,” Locklear said.

CBS 17 went to the Justice Center Tuesday and spoke with the clerk who said there is one designated lactation room one floor down from the jury room where Locklear was held.

“The room on the second floor is designed specifically for lactating. It’s a little bit more comfortable with a chair and an ottoman, magazine racks and pictures,” said assistant clerk Maria Lewis.

The clerk said the room Locklear used is the private space closest to where jurors are held.

“The room that’s in the jury lounge is a large room with a chair and desk and there is a few boxes because it’s a storage space,” said Lewis.

The clerk’s office spent part of the day Tuesday examining other private options in the building that can be used for nursing and pumping.

“Please feel comfortable if you are coming to the courthouse. If you are nursing we do provide options for nursing moms. We do have spaces available for them,” Lewis said.

Lewis said the clerk’s office rents space in the Justice Center from Wake County, so they do not have the ability to change signage or add furniture if they wanted to set up another designated space.

Locklear hopes by sharing her story, not only the courthouse, but other public spaces will create more permanent spots for moms to nurse.

“Not just temporary spaces where they’ve moved a bookshelf, but an actual space where we feel confident and it’s clean and we feel safe to make our milk,” she said.

Locklear says after she was selected for the jury and moved to another courthouse, she was told she could use an office to pump in before she was ultimately dismissed by the judge.

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