A Kitchener mum is speaking out after saying a retail worker told her she couldn’t breastfeed her baby in the store.
Allisha Derbyshire said in the 14 months she openly breastfed her twin daughters she had never experienced pushback, until last week.
“I was shocked,” she said.
Derbyshire was in a women’s clothing store in a Hamilton shopping center on Saturday when one of her daughters started getting picky.
She found a chair in the store to treat her screaming daughter, but an employee, who Derbyshire said identified himself as the manager, told her she was not allowed.
Allisha Derbyshire and her family. (Photo courtesy of Derbyshire)
“She just said, ‘You can’t breastfeed in my store,'” Derbyshire told CTV News. “She was pretty adamant about it. She was rude.”
Derbyshire said the employee then told her to go feed her baby in the bathroom instead.
“She probably didn’t take her lunch to the bathroom that day, and I don’t think it’s fair that she asked me to do that with my baby.”
Eventually, Derbyshire left the store and began breastfeeding her daughter in the mall hallway.
Allisha Derbyshire twins. (Photo provided by family)
She has since called the store’s head office and filed a complaint against the company. She hasn’t received a response yet.
“I think they should apologise,” Derbyshire said. “I just don’t think a mother should feel embarrassed, or that she can’t go out in public with her baby and breastfeed her. It’s not fair and I don’t think we should be ashamed. or ridiculed. I don’t. Don’t tell mothers who give formula, “Oh, you can’t feed baby. You know, there’s no difference.”
The Ontario Human Rights Commission says breastfeeding mothers have rights, including the right to breastfeed a child in a public place. He goes on to say, “No one should stop you from breastfeeding your child just because you are in a public place. They shouldn’t ask you to ‘cover up’, disturb you, or ask you to move to another, more ‘discreet’ location.”
“We’re asking caregivers to breastfeed and we’re not making it easy for them,” said Kate Rossiter, a professor of community health at Wilfrid Laurier University. “It’s a real problem.”
Rossiter said it’s not the job of a breastfeeding parent to make others around them feel comfortable.
“If you don’t like the look of breastfeeding, look elsewhere,” Rossiter said.