So, here’s the scoop. I loved that I nursed. I nursed in public all the time. I also nursed in my car sometimes. I usually covered myself, just because it kept my children focused on the task and I didn’t feel like having people see my boobs, not because I was ashamed. When I owned my store, I had a couch and welcomed mothers to nurse if they wanted to. I think it made them stay longer. I think it was good business. I never asked them to cover, because that was my right as a store owner to not make people cover up. I am a huge breastfeeding advocate.
Apparently, Michelle Hickman was discreetly breastfeeding at a Target store the other day when she was approached by a Target employee and asked to move to a fitting room. She said:
I don’t know how the owner of Everything Birth feels about this Target Nurse in that is being planned on December 28th. I have a few thoughts on the matter though that I want everyone to consider.
Target’s official policy on breastfeeding is:
“For guests in our stores, we support the use of fitting rooms for women who wish to breastfeed their babies, even if others are waiting to use the fitting rooms. In addition, guests who choose to breastfeed discreetly in more public areas of the store are welcome to do so without being made to feel uncomfortable.”
I would say that each employee that participated in the bullying of Michelle Hickman should be reprimanded. I would think Target should issue a reminder statement to its employees about their official statement. The Target Employees failed to respect their own company’s policy, even at the management level.
I am not saying people shouldn’t have a nurse in. This woman was treated horribly, and as it stands, from what I have read, was offered no real apology for employees that treated a customer in a way that both violated their company policy and violated her dignity. I would like for us breastfeeding advocates to consider a couple of things though:
- A store like Target has to try to do its best to find neutral grounds in these issues because they are trying to please EVERYONE. Their target market is literally everyone. They have a business to run. As written, their policy is perfectly fair. Pretend Target changed its policy to, “You can nurse anywhere in any fashion up to any age at any time at Target because we know that breastfeeding is the best choice for your baby and we want to send a message to people who don’t understand that nursing is completely normal.” It’s an ENORMOUS CORPORATION, do you think that that policy would make every employee at every store be polite to breastfeeding moms? No matter what their policies, Target will always have rude, uneducated employees to deal with. All large corporations will. If you participate in this Nurse-In, it would be in the best interests of the entire breastfeeding awareness movement, that you stay focused on the fact that you are merely exercising your rights within Target’s official policy to nurse discretely.
- These days, there’s lots of protesting going on and these protests get taken fairly seriously. The main reason I am writing this post is to make sure as you join the Nurse in on December 28th, you consider this: If you breastfeed in a manner that violates Target’s official policy, you will probably be asked to move or leave if your state laws don’t grant you full rights to breastfeed where and how you choose. (Find state laws HERE.) What will you do then? Presumably for it to be a Nurse-In, you will stand your ground. Then what? Consider the adrenaline rush that will go through your body as they call security. Consider the stress hormones you would be giving your baby through your breast milk. Assuming you know that you will be able to maintain your calm nursing presence, I think showing support of nursing moms is fabulous thing.