CALIFORNIA – Nursing mothers lined up outside and filled the chairs inside a California Anthropologie clothing store, breast-feeding their babies as a sign of protest.
“I feel really compelled to get the message of other mothers out there that there’s nothing shameful about this,” protester Kate Ward said.
The so-called “nurse-in” is in response to a fellow breast-feeding mom, Ingrid Wiese-Hesson, who claims when she visited the store with her 6-week-old, the manager wouldn’t let her feed her son in the back of the store.
Her son, Xavier, began crying because he was hungry. When she sat down in the store to feed the child, the store manager escorted her to the ladies room to finish nursing.
“His exact words to me were, ‘I’m here to escort you to the ladies’ room so that you can finish breast-feeding,’” Wiese-Hesson said.
Under California law, businesses are not allowed to prohibit women from breast-feeding or relegate them to a restroom.
“I would never eat a meal in a bathroom, and I would never force a child to,” Ward said.
But that’s exactly what Wiese-Hesson says happened to her.
“She opened up the bathroom and she said ‘sorry, there’s no chair,’ and of course the only thing in the bathroom is the toilet seat,” Wiese-Hesson said.
Wiese-Hesson posted what happened to her on her Facebook page and within hours, her story was circulating the internet.
“I want to be able to feed my kids without feeling like somebody is going to kick me out of any public place at any given time,” protester Melissa Remer said.
Anthropologie issued an apology which it posted to Facebook and Twitter. It reads, in part:
As a company comprised with hundreds of mothers, which seeks to put the customer first, we celebrate women in all of their life stages. Given our staff’s dedication to providing exceptional customer service, we welcome this as an opportunity to enhance our customer experience by providing further training and education for our staff. Our aim is that all women, all mothers, be comfortable in our stores.
But some shoppers weren’t happy to see the nursing demonstration.
“Being naked is private,” one woman said.