A New York City mom wants parking officers to be “more sensitive” after she was given a $115 parking ticket for sitting in her car in a commercial zone while breastfeeding her 3-week-old baby.
Guillermina Rodriguez had dropped off her husband for an appointment in Manhattan and was driving back downtown when her newborn daughter, Ileana, started crying for food. But with severe traffic throughout the city, she was unable to stop.
“There was an immense amount of traffic that took me like 45 minutes to an hour to just get from 42nd to 30th Street,” Rodriguez, 30, told CBS New York on Saturday.
The mother of four finally found a spot where she could pull over, but it was in a commercial zone.
“I’m like almost crying because she’s crying and all I wanna do is pull over so I can attend to her,” she told ABC New York.
So Rodriguez decided to risk it, and moved into the backseat to feed Ileana.
“Even though I saw it was a commercial area, I was like, I’m not obstructing the traffic, let me just stay there and I can breastfeed the baby there,” she told CBS New York.
But in just two minutes, an New York Police Department tow truck pulled in front of Rodriguez’s car and prepared to tow it away before checking to see if anyone was inside.
“He’s backing up to tow my truck, so as I am in this position breastfeeding now, I jump over to the front seat to honk so he can see, like, ‘Don’t tow my truck because I’m in here,’ ” she said.
That prompted the parking officer to get out and finally check the car.
“I’m actually breastfeeding on one side and pumping on the other, so both my breasts are out, and I’m like, ‘I’m breastfeeding the baby!’ ” Rodriguez said with a laugh. “And he kind of looks, and he’s like, [makes a shocked face] ‘Oh! Okay!’ He puts the ticket on the windshield and he leaves.”
The NYPD said that the officer wrote the ticket before he saw her breastfeeding, and isn’t allowed to void the ticket. Rodriguez said she will fight the fine and wishes the department had better training for working with breastfeeding women.
“Nursing should be urgent enough to exempt a fine,” she said. “I think they should have been a little bit more sensitive. I feel like getting them a little more educated on that area will be a lot more helpful.”
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