I received an email this week that just made me so angry. It was a letter from another mom who wrote that just last week the exact same thing happened to her. She says that she too was kicked out of a store for breastfeeding.
Last Thursday, April 21, a mom says she was asked to leave a public area of Les Promenades Saint-Bruno shopping centre on the South Shore of Montreal. The mother, Kama, says she was sitting on the garden swings on sale in the central area of the mall, breastfeeding her baby, when a sales clerk approached her and told her stop.
“She told me that I would have to leave because “C’est publique.” “Publique!?”, I repeated, “Madame, c’est tres acceptable d’allaiter en publique maintenant.” She then carefully schooled her features into a more pleasant expression and said “Je n’ai rien contre ça, Madame. Ce n’est pas moi qui a fait la loi.”
You can read her story here.
I called the mall to get the name of the store. The woman who answered the phone didn’t know, but the supervisor called me back to tell me: Confections Emrick.
Hearing about this mother’s anger is so incredibly frustrating. All the anger and tears and sadness come rushing back each time I hear about one of these stories.
It’s awful that this sort of thing is still happening. You would think that after the media frenzy surrounding what happened to me, that people would have heard that it’s against the law to discriminate against women who are breastfeeding. I guess some people just don’t read the news.
And it’s especially disappointing that so many businesses obviously don’t have a policy in place and are not informing their employees about the law. In this case, it appears that both the lawn furniture sales personnel and the mall employees were not prepared for this sort of situation. This “situation” being mothers doing what they’ve been doing for millennium, breastfeeding their kids.
Besides the large fine that courts can award mothers, there is also the court of public opinion. Most purchasing decisions are made by women, most women have kids and most women breastfeed those kids. And they generally don’t take well to being shamed in public. It’s true that not every mother feels courageous enough to march up to the supervisor or whomever is in charge and complain, never mind file a human rights complaint. But you can be sure that mothers are paying attention and their dollars are not going to businesses that don’t respect them. Mine certainly are not. Ask Orchestra clothing store if they wish they had a policy in place before I walked into their store. I bet they’d say yes.
But I’m also encouraged to hear that more and more mothers (and fathers and grandmothers) know that breastfeeding is a right and they are standing up for that right even when it is hard to do. Too many mothers have been shamed into silence. Enough. Ça suffit. Basta!
And of course you’ll need some addresses to write to….
Confections Emrick (the garden furniture vendor)
2460 route 122
Promenades St-Bruno (the mall where the incident took place)
Denis Lamothe, Directeur général
1, boul. des Promenades
Cadillac-Fairview (the company that owns the mall)
John M. Sullivan
President & Chief Executive Officer
La Corporation Cadillac Fairview Limitée
20, rue Queen Ouest, 5e étage
Toronto, Ontario M5H 3R4
In the News
You can also read about this story here: