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Breast-feeding moms say they were harassed by security at Delaware mall

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Three mothers campaigning for the right to breast-feed in public say they were harassed by security guards while nursing inside a mall.

Diana Hitchens, Autumne Murray and Jessica Hitchens staged a "nurse-in" at the Hollister store at the Concord Mall in Wilmington, Del., on Saturday.

The protest was a response to an alleged incident at a mall in Houston, Texas, in which a mother claimed a Hollister manager threw her out for breast-feeding inside the store.

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According to Delaware state law, women are allowed to breast-feed in any public or private location.

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The mothers carried posters which read, “Hey Hollister, my baby has a right to eat. It’s the law,” as well as “Normalize breast-feeding in public. Do you eat in public? Why shouldn’t our babies?”

“We walked through the store and the employees asked if we needed help with anything,” said Diana Hitchens of Elkton, Maryland. “We were actually nursing as we were walking through the store.”

But moments after they staged a sit-in, mall security arrived.

“Two security guards walked up to us,” said Autumne Murray of Elkton, Maryland. “They started questioning us and asking us why we were exposing ourselves and saying that we needed to leave or cover up. We got in an argument with them about it for a little bit and then they left.”

From NBCDFW.com: Battle over breastfeeding

When mall security returned, they brought along a Delaware State Trooper who was on routine patrol, according to state police.

“He was asking if we were exposing ourselves saying that the security guards said we were exposing ourselves and that we could be kicked out of the mall if we didn’t cover up,” Murray added.

Delaware State Police told NBC10 they are considering the incident a “civil matter” between the three women and the mall.

Concord Mall security and customer service employees referred NBC10 to their superiors who return to work on Monday, and asked reporters to leave the parking lot.