A Queensland mother was allegedly told to leave a Kmart store on Saturday, by a store manager, for breastfeeding her 3 month old son. A group have organised a “Flash Mob” to raise awareness and show their support for breastfeeding mothers.
What Really Happened
There seems to be some mixed reports about what exactly happened, with many outlets reporting that she was asked to cover up, rather than told to leave the store. However within the description of the “Flash Mob” event on Facebook they’ve described what took place in the Kmart as:
“On Saturday 11th March, a young mother was asked by management of Kmart Smithfield to leave the store if she wished to continue breastfeeding her child. The manager stated that it was against store policy for her to feed her child whilst there, despite being covered with a wrap….
We wish to make abundantly clear that this is NOT an angry protest of “furious” mothers as being sensationalised by media…. This is NOT a witch hunt and was never intended to be.”
The “Flash Mob” will be held at the Smithfield Kmart store on Saturday 18 between 2:00pm and 3:00pm. If you’re wanting to join in, offer support, or just for more information about that see the online event here.
A spokesperson for Kmart has responded to the incident by saying:
“We will be working diligently with the team to ensure that this does not occur again…. We absolutely do not discourage women from breastfeeding in any of our Kmart stores, and we sincerely apologise for what has occurred.”
Predictable Public Outrage
I’ve been wading through the comments online from various outlets and it’s the predictable collective wail of “…have some respect for others and yourself.” “…can it not be done modestly…” “Some women like to make a point while breastfeeding…” “There’s absolutely no need to breastfeed in public.” And so on.
I don’t get it. I just don’t get it. Why is this an issue? How are people so offended and irate at the thought of a baby being fed? I just can’t comprehend it. And there is absolutely no such thing as immodest breastfeeding – there is just breastfeeding.
The Impact These People Have
With my first baby I was terrified of breastfeeding in public. I didn’t want people to think I was being disrespectful or immodest! I was afraid of offending people! So I tried to time outings to avoid having to feed while I was out. Or made sure I only went places with private parents rooms (even the ones that smelled like filthy nappy bins). And I always had some kind of cover or wrap with me for the times I absolutely had to feed in a public space.
Until the day I was caught out with no cover and no where to hide. I felt like my only option was to breastfeed him sitting on the lid of a public toilet.
That is how ashamed those people made me feel of breastfeeding. Even though I was never directly discriminated against I was still aware that there were people who might be offended by seeing me breastfeeding. And at the time I had a very poor support network for breastfeeding, so I didn’t have the confidence to stand up for myself.
No Mother Should Feel Ashamed Of Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding my baby boy in a public toilet is pretty much one of the most humiliating moments of my life. But it’s one of the reasons I now stand up for other mothers. I will always support, promote and defend a mother’s right to breastfeed. Anywhere. Anytime. And thankfully the law supports us as well.
Also… does anyone else get this song stuck in their head every time this topic comes up?