You’d think a major, family oriented retailer would not humiliate a new mom for simply feeding her baby. You might also think that they’d know better than to mess with moms in general. I think Target has learned they will suffer the repercussions. Last month, Texas mom Michelle Hickman says she was harassed when she was breastfeeding her newborn son in a Target store, and yesterday, breastfeeding moms around the country showed support in the form of a “nurse-in”.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that nursing flash mobs were planned in 35 states after women heard about Hickman’s horrid experience. Hickman maintains she was Christmas shopping when her infant became hungry so she found a remote area of the store in the ladies clothing department, sat down, and started to breast feed her infant with a “blanket completely covering him.” It was then when two female employees approached her and asked her to move to a fitting room. One of them allegedly commented “you can get a ticket and be reported for indecent exposure.”
Target attempted damage control by issuing the following statement:
“Guests who choose to breastfeed in public areas of the store are welcome to do so without being made to feel uncomfortable. Additionally, we support the use of fitting rooms for women who wish to breastfeed their babies, even if others are waiting to use the fitting rooms.”
Yesterday’s protest saw angry moms who nursed their babies outside of many Target locations (some of which are known to be accommodating to breastfeeding moms) because moms felt that it was important to take a stand and show that we should be able to breastfeed anywhere, not taken to some secret location.
According to Time, when Hickman contacted corporate headquarters to share her experience, she says she was told by guest relations “just because it’s a woman’s legal right to nurse a baby in public doesn’t mean she should walk around the store flaunting it.” Really Target? The beautiful moment of a mother feeding her child is indecent?
It is wonderful how many moms gathered in solidarity for nursing moms everywhere but for the most part, it still does seem like an uphill battle to make public breastfeeding the norm, especially among certain groups.
On Tuesday, NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne tweeted his disgust at viewing a woman breastfeed her child in a grocery store:
“Just walking though supermarket. See a mom breast feeding little kid. Took second look because obviously I was seeing things. I wasn’t!”
“I don’t feel like shopping anymore or eating.”
Of course, he later publicly apologized.
It’s absurd that we are almost in 2012 and we still even need to hold protests demanding that public breastfeeding be tolerated. Yet, moms can do amazing things when we band together and I hope that yesterday’s nurse-ins were a symbol of the change that is coming, however slowly.
Strollerderby’s own Stephanie Precourt took photos of a nurse-in she attended in Indiana.
Check out this beautiful video that captures photos of nurse-ins from around the country over at PhD in Parenting:
Did you participate in a nurse-in yesterday? Are you still shocked that public breastfeeding remains such a big issue?