BEVERLY HILLS (CBSLA.com) — Breastfeeding mothers with their babies in tow descended on an Anthropologie store in Beverly Hills to stage a “nurse-in” after a woman said she was escorted to the store’s bathroom because she was feeding her child in the back of the store.
Several mothers and their babies filled the store’s seats and the sidewalk outside, breastfeeding their babies as a sign of protest.
“When I heard what happened, I was just really outraged. I couldn’t believe it,” Catherine Begovic said.
Ingrid Wiese-Hesson posted on Facebook that she was shopping at Anthropologie in Beverly Hills when her 6-week-old son, Xavier, began crying because he was hungry. When she sat down in the store to feed the child, the store’s manager escorted her to the ladies room to finish nursing.
Wiese-Hesson said the manager’s exact words to her were, “’I’m here to escort you to the ladies room so that you can finish breastfeeding.’”
When the manager opened the bathroom, she said, “’sorry, there’s no chair,’” Wiese-Hesson said, forcing her to finish feeding her son while sitting on a toilet.
“I would never eat a meal in a bathroom, and I would never force a child to,” protestor Kate Ward said.
California law allows breastfeeding mothers to feed their children in any location, public or private, where the mother and child are otherwise authorized to be present.
Breastfeeding has been a hot topic this month because August happens to be Breastfeeding Awareness Month. The issue is a polarizing one, prompting mothers to stage nurse-ins when a mother is shamed or kept from feeding her child in public.
“I want to be able to feed my kids without feeling like somebody is going to kick me out of any public place at any given time,” protestor Melissa Remer said.
But others feel strongly that mothers should not nurse in public.
“To be naked is private,” one shopper said while walking away.
Anthropologie issued an apology about the incident:
“We are disappointed to hear of the unfortunate experience that occurred in our Beverly Hills store. As a company comprised of hundreds of mothers, which seeks to put the customer first, we celebrate women in all of their life stages. Given our staff’s dedication to providing exceptional customer service, we welcome this as an opportunity to enhance our customer experience by providing further training and education for our staff. Our aim is that all women – all mothers – be comfortable in our stores and delight in their relationship with Anthropologie.”