WEBSTER, Texas -- More than two dozen mothers, with babies on their hips, protested at a Target store in Webster Wednesday, after claiming store employees harassed a nursing mother. Hoping to force change, some of the mothers breastfed their babies at organized “nurse-ins” across the country.
What others deemed inappropriate; they call natural.
“I feel like breastfeeding is the right way to feed your baby and it should be more, everybody should be able to see it and not make a thing about it,” said Kate Brown, a nursing mother.
Most of the women never met until today. Many are Facebook friends and heard Michelle Hickman’s story and rallied together. They protested at the Super Target in Webster and at 35 other Targets across the country.
“We’re just here to just tell Target and the rest of America in general that nursing is normal and just to stand up for moms that are being discriminated against,” said Anna Caltagirone, another nursing mother.
Hickman felt that way last month. While shopping, Hickman said her four-month-old, Noah, needed nursing. So, she breastfed him on the floor in Target’s woman’s clothing section. That’s when humiliation began, Hickman said. She claims employees told her to nurse in a private dressing room. When some moms found out, they were upset.
“(I felt) just anger really, that in 2011 women are being harassed and discriminated against just for taking care of their children,” Caltagirone said.
“The moms have come out with so many stories like mine and some so sad and I felt so bad,” Hickman said.
“I don’t want any new mom sitting at home with her new baby feeling like she has to stay home or they that she has to hide—or worse—wean her baby or to feel like she has to leave her home,” Roth said. “This is an issue for all mothers.”
In a statement, Target apologized. “We worked with this guest directly to address her concerns and are sorry for any inconvenience it has caused,” a spokesperson said.
Target also said they support breastfeeding and talked with employees about company policy, which allows breastfeeding in public without making women feel uncomfortable.
The protesters, however, feels something more needs to be done.