Tara Léger and her 8-month-old daughter, Zoe, were shopping at the Portage Place Shopping Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba (Canada), when she realized her infant was hungry. She knew there was a family/nursing room in another area of the mall but chose to sit down close by to breastfeed her baby because she was howling and needed a feed. Unfortunately, even though her baby quieted down while she fed, a mall employee came by and told Léger that she was being offensive and should head to the family restroom.
Léger told CBC News that she was surprised and embarrassed when confronted, especially when a nearby group of people took notice of the verbal altercation. She says she didn't back down and told the man she was legally allowed to breastfeed her baby at the mall, but he mentioned that it's a "private location" and she should just stop right now. However, she didn't, because her baby was hungry and needed to eat. After he headed off to presumably get some help to remove this dangerous breastfeeding mother from her seat, her baby finished up, and they left.
In Manitoba, breastfeeding is protected under The Human Rights Code, which includes the following statement:
"Nursing mothers have the right to breastfeed their child in a public place, such as at a swimming pool, restaurant, park, bus or shopping mall."
While a business is privately owned yet still open to the public, it is required to follow this Code, which means harassing a breastfeeding mother is against the law.
I love that this mall does have a quiet nursing area available if a mother desires it, but its presence does not mean breastfeeding moms are required to use it. I think some employees (and members of the public, for that matter) think nursing rooms are the only places hungry babies should eat, and that's simply not true.
Again, we have to realize that nursing in public is feeding a baby and that comparing breastfeeding to peeing in the plants (as I read in one of the comments on CBC's site) is completely twisted — after all, do people drink urine for nutrition? Hopefully someday, any day, the general public won't blink when they see a nursing mom, and these ridiculous stories of harassment will stop.
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