Mum shares irony of being told not to breastfeed in mall

US other Wittney Hope said she was not wearing a wrap when the breastfeeding incident took place, but was covered by the baby's head. Photo / Facebook/Wittney Hope
US other Wittney Hope said she was not wearing a wrap when the breastfeeding incident took place, but was covered by the baby's head. Photo / Facebook/Wittney Hope

A mother has taken to social media to voice her anger and distress at being told off for breastfeeding in a shop.

Wittney Hope, from Tennessee, US, was shopping at upmarket Dillard's department store, when her baby daughter started to get agitated.

Realising the baby was getting hungry and tired, Wittney looked for a secluded area in the store where she could breastfeed discreetly.

"When I found a place I asked if it was okay for her to eat here," she wrote on Facebook. "The employee at customer service nodded. I then began to nurse my child. I didn't use a cover up - I discreetly pulled my shirt down and her head covered me up.

"The same lady then told me I could not "do that" here. She told me I would need to go to the restroom."

The mother said she was shocked at the comment, and repeated the request to the shop assistant to check she had heard her correctly. The shop assistant allegedly became annoyed, and started to give Wittney directions to the bathroom.

"I'm sure my hungry child would understand that we have to take a journey to somewhere more secluded where she can eat.. NOT," Wittney wrote in the Facebook post.

"I immediately went and asked for the manager so I could file a formal complaint (which I did online)."

The flabbergasted mother said she was amazed at the negative attitude shown to her towards breastfeeding.

"I have never had anyone comment on me breastfeeding in the whole 18 months I have been nursing. Yet alone, another woman, possibly a mother herself," she wrote.

Wittney's Facebook message to the department store has received an overwhelming response. Photo / Facebook / Wittney Hope
Wittney's Facebook message to the department store has received an overwhelming response. Photo / Facebook / Wittney Hope

"As we were leaving the store I passed by this advertisement for bras. I mean seriously the lady's face is not even in this. Why is it acceptable for a giant picture of boobs to be on the wall but I can not feed my child?."

The post, which Wittney signed off as "sincerely, p****d off Mommy," has since been shared more than 1600 times, and received hundreds of comments.

In a written response on Facebook, Dillard's department store said the shop manager had immediately apologised.

"Dillard's strives to create a pleasing and comfortable shopping experience for all our guests at all times," the store wrote. "Accordingly, we respect the right of mothers to nurse their children wherever they feel comfortable in doing so. Upon becoming aware of this situation, our store manager immediately reached out to our customer and apologised. Our associates have been reminded of our breastfeeding policy."

Many commenters online commended the store for their swift response, while others called for the employee involved to be fired for her actions.

While hundreds of mothers wrote messages of support for Wittney, others said she should have made more of an effort to cover up.

"I do believe that if you're breastfeeding out in public you should be covered up," wrote one commenter. "Why would you want strangers seeing your breasts? Or other children? Personally I didn't breastfeed and I don't want my children seeing breasts openly in public."

"Is it really that hard to cover yourself?, wrote another. "I realise you shouldn't have to, but to avoid these situations and problems wouldn't it just be easier."

-nzherald.co.nz

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