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Target Makes Public Statement on Breastfeeding in Their Stores

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

I'm always a little dissapointed when lactivists jump on a store, rather than an employee for a breastfeeding in public incident. Thus, I think it's important that when it's not store policy and the store immediately stands up and says that the employee was wrong, that we should support the company and celebrate the choice of a major corporation to show the normalcy of nursing in public.

Here's the story...

Apparently a mom was told by a Target employee in Minneapolis that she could not nurse her child in a fitting room. According to CBS Chicago, the incident went someting like this:

While Dover was nursing in her usual place, the fitting room attendant knocked on the door and asked if she was OK. Dover replied that she was fine and was feeding her baby. "She said, 'You know, you're not allowed to do that in there,'" Dover said.

When she had finished nursing Kendall, she confronted the worker. The employee told her "it's unsanitary; it's a liability; it's store policy -- all the excuses in the book," Dover said. She then asked the employee where she should nurse instead.

"And she said I should go into the bathroom," Dover said. "There's no chairs in there, no place to set up other than on toilet. I'm not going to sit in the bathroom and breast-feed my baby. Then, she said, 'Well, you should feed her before you come.' Which I did, but we'd been out for a few hours, and she needed to eat again. It was insulting."

At the checkout, Dover asked for a manager, who backed up the fitting-room attendant.

However, when she called Target's national hotline, she was told that the employee and store manager were the ones in the wrong and that corporate policy was that nursing mothers were welcome in Target stores. As such, Target has responded with a public apology and the following statement:

"Target has a long-standing practice that supports breastfeeding in our stores. We apologize for any inconvenience the guest experienced and will take this opportunity to reaffirm this commitment with our team members," company representative Kristi Arndt said.

"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.

Good for Target!

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  1. Blogger nova147 | 10:46 AM |  

    I think this happened in a Naperville store.

    I read another article on this story (I think fox news) that said the couple was considering suing Target. Please. The store has the right policy . . . perhaps they need to work on educating, but suing them just makes that less likely (take the funds away, and then they really won't do the education).

  2. Anonymous Anonymous | 1:13 PM |  

    Sueing - exactly what harm was caused? I don't get that. I know we can believe everything we read and the reporter could have stretched a comment made in anger, but that will do no good. I sat in a Target store a few years back nursing my baby boy in the snack area and I was approached by an employee asking me if I needed a refill on my drink. Seriously, how nice was that? Extremely. Not a single soul asked me to leave or not to nurture my baby. I think that education of employees is the best route.

  3. Blogger Jennifer Laycock | 1:41 PM |  

    Smocklady, that says a lot about that employee and the education at that store. Good for them! :)

    As for suing...I can understand suing if it was corporate policy that they couldn't nurse, as that would be suing for enforcement of the law.

    But suing because two idiots in the store went against store policy and the company immediately clarified their position? Nope...that's just crazy to me and quite honestly, it makes the pro-breastfeeding lobby look bad.

    I've seen a lot of blog posts ranting away about Target because of this and that really bothers me. Rant all you want about the employees, but Target did the right thing.

  4. Blogger ContentWorth | 8:08 PM |  

    I'm really happy you posted this. It's about time someone pointed out who the idiots were -- the employees not Target.

    I'm happy I read this too as I will be delivering in about 8 weeks, plan to breastfeed my baby, and regular Target. Now I know I don't have to worry about it, I'm sure there will a training now if there wasn't one before!

    Smocklady, that is a great experience. I also agree suing is not the answer in this case, education is.

  5. Blogger roaringmommy | 7:47 AM |  

    Hurray for Target! I always knew I loved their store. Now i have another reason.

  6. Blogger roaringmommy | 7:48 AM |  

    Hurray for Target! I always knew I loved their store. Now i have another reason.

  7. Blogger Vacation Mamma | 1:52 AM |  

    I found this subject to be captivating as I remember still 13 years later nursing in restrooms and such, and seeking those stores where I knew I'd be comfortable. Nordstrom was the one I counted on.

    I then clicked through to see original story. Although I agree we can an should be welcome to nurse our babies anywhere, perhaps this mom was in a way "making a meal of it." She actually went to Target every week and nursed her baby there for 3 montFor months, Dover said, she has had the same routine every Tuesday: She drops off her 3-year-old daughter Ashley at a Naperville preschool, then goes to Target, at Route 59 and Jefferson Avenue, with her 3-month-old daughter Kendall. If the baby gets hungry, Dover retreats to a fitting room to breast-feed. "I've sat her down in there every week since she was born, and no one ever said anything to me," said Dover! ""

    Hey, I'm all for feeding wherever needed...but hunkering down in the dressing room every week as a matter of routine...???

    That said, Hurray for Target, for having the right policy and doing the right thing when a mistake occured. Hurray to IL for having a probreastfeeding law on its books!

  8. Blogger Amanda. | 11:29 AM |  

    "it's unsanitary"

    So the employee was wrong about breastfeeding AND admitted their dressing rooms were filthy?

  9. Blogger Jennifer Laycock | 12:33 PM |  

    LOL! Amanda I love your way of thinking!

    I'm pretty sure that what the store employee meant was that the woman nursing was the one causing it to be unsanitary.

    You know, because breastmilk is a body fluid and therefore "gross" and "icky" and couldn't possibly be "clean."


  10. Blogger K | 5:58 PM |  

    First -- Yeah Target!

    Second -- Target has dressing rooms? I swear I never noticed. I just bought my Target clothes on faith.

  11. Blogger Jennifer Laycock | 6:49 PM |  

    LOL...yes Target has dressing rooms. They are usually back by the "womens" and "pregnancy" clothes. ;)

  12. Anonymous Anonymous | 6:07 PM |  

    The part of the response from target I do not like is the "nursing discreetly". From my personal experience, In November 2006, I was nursing my daughter, discreetly and with a nursing top, in a Target in Conyers, Ga. After a woman complained, I was aproached by 2 managers. I was told I had affended someone and asked to cover up or go to a family dressing room. I refused as what I was doing was not only protected by law but neither lude nor wrong. Apparently to Target, placing a blanket over my child, we all know how hard that can be to keep on, or nursing behind closed doors is the only way to nurse "discreetly". No one but the nursing mother can decide what is discreet for her. I don't know any nursing mom who wants attention while feeding her child. Seeing breastfeeding as normal, not sexual, is the only way to stop the pervasive ignorance of nursing especially while in public.

  13. Anonymous Anonymous | 4:21 AM |  


    Breastfeeding is the most natural and healthy way to nuture an infant, as a woman, a mother holds her child close to her heart and soul, sharing a bond that no other can. Maybe that is why their is so much unhealthy sexual attitudes, as people shy away from the normal and healhy and replace these emotions, with unhealthy thoughts and practices. Nursing should be thought of as normal and natural, just as birth itself is celebrated, so too should nursing.

  14. Blogger Alea | 5:30 AM |  

    In reply to nova - this particular story happened a couple years ago, the story on fox news happened THIS week at a Michigan store. There really isn't anything to sue about. Unfortunate situation that happened that many don't agree with, but not something that can be settled in a lawsuit, IMO.

  15. Anonymous Anonymous | 2:35 PM |  

    First, yay, for Target! I hope those employees were reprimanded or fired. Also, it may sound rude, but other people need to calm down and quit making a fuss about breastfeeding in public. Often times, they act like the mother is flashing random passers by, rather than feeding her child discretely. I wonder, though, if those same people complain about women who walk around with their cleavage hanging out of their top?

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