Last week, the popular Facebook breastfeeding page Breastfeeding Mama Talk shared a photo of a baby feeding station a mother had spotted at a Target in Braunfels, Texas. The feeding station, situated right in the middle of the store (conveniently located next to an aisle of bras!), looked totally comfy and inviting. It had two cozy chairs, a blanket, a nursing Boppy, and even a nursing cover, should a mother choose to use it.
And it isn’t for breastfeeding moms only: there’s a little sign above it (under a sweet picture of a happy mom and baby), that simply says “feeding station.”
Needless to say, the feeding nook post went crazy-viral, with 30K likes, and over 7K shares to date. The comments have been overwhelmingly positive, with many noting just how important it is for moms on-the-go to have options like this.
“This is just smart all-around,” one commenter said. “If/when nursing moms are embarrassed or feel threatened to nurse in a store, they’ll likely leave to go home and do it or at least leave to the car. Once there, it’s more likely they’ll leave the property entirely rather than return to shopping.”
And even though the post was shared on a breastfeeding-specific page, commenters were happy that Target had specifically called it a “feeding station,” making it more inclusive, and celebrating all the ways that mothers feed their babies.
“Notice it doesn’t saying ‘nursing station,’ it says ‘feeding station.'” noted one commenter. “Good for you, Target!”
A few commenters noted that their local Target had a similar set-up. (One mom even said that when she sat down to nurse her baby at a “feeding station” in Target, an employee brought her snacks and a water bottle!) But most said that their local Target didn’t have something like this. And after seeing the photo, shared their hopes that their store would be next in line.
But Kristy Welker, a public relations representative for Target, tells Babble that although Target encourages mothers to feed their babies anywhere and everywhere, the feeding station shown in the viral photo is not something we should expect to see in all store locations anytime soon.
Welker tells Babble:
“The space at the New Braunfels, Target store is not rolling out to other Target stores. In late 2016, we began testing designated nursing rooms at two stores in Minnesota. We will continue to evaluate guest feedback on this test to determine broader rollout to additional stores and we always appreciate hearing from our guests about how we can better meet their needs.”
Welker adds that as of now, fitting rooms are always available for mothers who wish to privately breastfeed their babies, and that customers are free to breastfeed anywhere else in the store, so they should feel comfortable and supported in doing so. She also notes that any individual store is “empowered” to set-up any kind of feeding station that meets their customer’s needs; but that at this time, it is not a nationwide requirement.
While this news might sound like kind of a bummer at first, I think Target’s breastfeeding/feeding policy is still worth applauding, because it’s still totally progressive and supportive. But surely it can’t hurt to urge Target to go a few steps further, and set up comfy nursing nooks at stores nationwide, you know? In all honestly, a fitting room or a chair at the food bar just pales in comparison to one of these soft lounge chairs they’ve got set up in the “feeding station” in Texas.
So listen up, Target: Moms of the world are pleading with you to make this a nationwide store policy, mmmkay? You know we already love you guys. You’re our go-to spot to chill with a diet Coke or a Starbucks latte, after we race through the aisles buying everything on your shelves, except the things on our list. But it would be even sweeter if we had a cozy spot to collapse with our hungry babies.
So here it is — a definite list of why ya’ll need to roll out feeding stations in Targets nationwide. Pronto.
1. They will help normalize breastfeeding.
Having a feeding station out in the open like this sends the message that feeding babies, even if breasts are involved, is totally normal. There’s nothing to hide and nothing to be ashamed of — and it tells onlookers the same thing. Plus, as a multi-million dollar mega-store, you have power to influence other chain stores to follow suit, and in doing so, you’ll be a champion of breastfeeding moms everywhere.
2. They are supportive of all the ways that moms feed their babies.
We love that this feeding nook invites any and all kinds of feeding. Wouldn’t it be nice if breastfeeding moms and bottle-feeding moms could sit there side by side, not judging each other, just feeding their babies, and comparing prices on throw pillows and high chairs? BRING IT.
3. They invite community.
Every new mom is going to want to flock to Target if it has a cute little feeding station like this. (In fact, if you start this now, you’re probably going to have think about expanding it, maybe even adding a few extra chairs to the mix.) Babies eat frequently, and having a place to hang out, feed, and chat with other new moms is HUGE, and will totally draw a ton of new customers to your store.
4. They make running errands with little ones that much easier.
It’s not easy running errands with a baby who could get suddenly hungry at any minute, so small conveniences like this one can make a busy mom’s day that much simpler and less stressful. New moms love to feel like what they do all day for their kids matter, and they like (and deserve) a little pampering as well. Allowing them to feel like they have a cozy place to land in the middle of their chaotic day would be amazeballs.
5. They’re good for business.
Let’s face it, we know you care about parents, but we also know you care about business. I think this one’s kind of a no-brainer, but let me spell it out for you: If moms know that they have a safe, comfortable, supportive place to feed their babies, your business is going to explode ten-fold. And it won’t just be more moms of infants who swarm your store. All parents love to hear about businesses that support parents of young kids, and we will be frequenting Target even more than we already do, in solidarity.
So, THANK YOU, Target. You’re already doing your part in supporting parents all over. We love you for it, and will cover you in kisses either way. But will you please consider making these lovely feeding stations a thing everywhere? That would be totally rad, and we will be there on opening day.