Michelle Hickman is a mom of 4 from Houston, TX. Last month, while Christmas shopping at Target, Michelle found herself with a hungry baby. She found an area in the ladies clothing department, sat on the floor and breastfed her infant with a blanket completely covering him.
Moms, you’ve been there. You are out in public with your new baby and despite every effort to schedule your shopping around your baby’s feeding schedule – BOOM – the baby needs to eat. Even though I formula feed, what happens next angers me.
As told to bestforbabes.org by Michelle:
Briefly I will say that 2 female employees came and verbally asked me to move. The 2nd one told me that Target employees had been told/trained to interrupt nursing and to redirect mothers to the fitting rooms. Even after I informed the 2nd employee of my legal right to nurse in public she still suggested me moving closer to the jean display, turning to face another direction, and also turn my basket a certain way which would have put me practically underneath the jean display and totally barricaded me in. Employee #2 even hinted in a threatening way “you can get a ticket and be reported for indecent exposure” when nothing was being exposed and there was more boob showing from low cut shirts several shoppers were wearing that night. This does not include the other 3-4 employees besides the 2 verbal ones who were all watching and making a spectacle of my nursing by standing around pretending to do something and giving me mean looks and shaking their heads no back and forth. In a side note not a single non-employee customer ever saw the incident so I’m not sure why the employees were trying to act like I was offending “the public” and that it was their job to step in.
After I left the store I decided to call the Target corporate office during normal business hours the following day on November 30th, and speak to a guest relations person to notify them of the situation and to suggest that they educate their employees as to the legal right I have to nurse in public. The phone call however took a turn for the worse. The lady (I wish I would have gotten her name) told me that she and Target were aware of our legal rights as nursing mothers, but that Target has different policies because they are a family friendly public place. I can’t think of a more family friendly act than breastfeeding and providing the irrefutably proven healthiest diet to my baby. She continued to inform me repeatedly that Target’s policies were different than the law and even went as far to say several times that just because it is a woman’s right to nurse in public even without a nursing cover like I was using doesn’t mean women should walk around “flaunting it” and was extremely rude. I also talked to the supervisor of this rude lady and that didn’t get anywhere either.
While I love Target and when I first read about this, thought — wow what a mismanaged store. Then reading that Michelle called corporate and the situation was mishandled there as well — has me thinking there is a much larger issue at hand than just the single store.
Michelle is taking action by hosting a Target Nurse-in on December 28 at the store. News of her story has spread amongst the internet and moms are mad. Michelle has started a closed Facebook group. Within the Facebook group there are currently 4220 members and 27 nurse-ins scheduled.
What Would You Do?