The other day I was contacted by Ang. When she contacted me..... I was reminded how far we still need to go, in normalizing breastfeeding. I do not use the term "Normalize Breastfeeding" very often...... it has a "well breastfeeding is different and not normal" tone to it.... and breastfeeding is NOT different and IS normal....... There should not be a difference between breastfeeding and bottle feeding. Bottles have nipples.... women have nipples.... both bottles and women use nipples to feed their babies.... NO DIFFERENCE!
So... back to Ang. Ang is a Mummie of a 9 year old son and an 8.5 month old Nummie Lover. She took both of her sons shopping to Forman Mills, in Allentown, Pennsylvania. While shopping..... her youngest son got hungry (because all babies get hungry.... heck I get hungry.... when you are hungry.... you EAT. Not a new concept.... am I right?) sooooooo while her oldest was trying some clothes on, Ang thought it would be a great time to breastfeed her baby. She did not want to leave her son alone, so she decided.... she would breastfeed in a dressing room. A quiet place.... a shielded place away from negative people who could possibly give her grief. A pretty safe bet right? NO! The dressing room attendant looked at her with a huge question mark above her head. (Why would this lady want a dressing room if she is does not have any clothes to try on?) Ang asked if she could go in and nurse, but when the attendant still looked dumbfounded.... she asked "I want to go in and breastfeed my son. Is that ok?"
Now hang on.... hold on to your Nummie Lovin' babies.... 'cause this will cause you to drop them!
The dressing room attendant said (and I am quoting here) "no..no, I dont think so...no" AND Ang said she had a very "disgusted" look upon her face.
WAIT... HUH?! WHAT!!!!! This Mummie was DENIED a dressing room to breastfeed in?! W....H....A.....T?????????!!!
Now the dressing room was NOT busy.... Ang told me that there was only one other person in the dressing room. She also asked the dressing room attendant if she could breastfeed because she wanted to get a "number"...... as the dressing room had curtains and nor doors that can be locked. She did not want anyone walking into her dressing room.... so having a number would say "Hey someone is in here.... move on to the next room." All the while, Ang was just trying to be respectful.... even when she was not given the same respect.
When she was DENIED a room, Ang responded with "Are you kidding me?! So I have to go in my car and feed? Where it would be the same exact thing only hot out there?!" The response she got was a shrug of her shoulders.
Now sadly.... Ang tried to nurse in the car.... but her Nummie Lover was too hot... so it did not go over so well.
Ang did go and talk to the Store Manager (who happens to be a breastfeeding Mummie herself!), who was very apologetic and told Ang that she would let the sales associate know right away. That made me feel pretty good...... I mean it is AWESOME that the manager (first of all) is a breastfeeding Mummie and (second) apologized and was going to speak with the associate. BUT what gave the associate the THOUGHT that she has the right to DENY anyone a dressing room?! I don't care if someone just wants to sit down and read a book......It is not a VIP club and you are not the Head Bouncer! You do NOT deny anyone a space like that. Her step-son was trying clothes on.... for Nummie Lovin' sake! This Mummie did not need to bring clothes into this dressing room......She is spending money at this store.... if she can use the PUBLIC bathroom then she should have FULL rights to a flippin' PUBLIC dressing room!
Now.... PHEW... calm down Mummie..... calm down. Soothing breaths... IN.... OUT... IN.. OUT........... Okay... I am better now.
I want to applaud the store manager for the way she reacted in such a positive way. I am glad she saw the error that was made and was going to correct it. That is AMAZING! BUT I have reached out to the Corporate office of Forman Mills. I simply want to know what their policy is on breastfeeding AND dressing room usage. I want to inform them of this horrendous act (the associate) and the amazing response of the manager. They have yet to respond...... but as soon as they do....... you KNOW I will post about it!
Does this require a Nurse-In? I do not think so. It seems the Store Manager knows what happened was wrong and planned on correcting it. I see no reason to take this any further. HOWEVER...... I do think that corporate should know about this and I feel that this should be addressed in a store meeting and/or training.
Breastfeeding Mummies want nothing more than to feed their babies. We do not want to make a scene. We do not want to create a knock'em sock'em duel. We just want to feed our babies. Isn't that what ANY mother wants?