Whitney Hope was not a happy mommy when she walked out of a Dillard’s department store last week in Chattanooga, Tenn.
While she was shopping, Hope’s 18-month-old baby got hungry and fussy. So Hope looked for a quiet, secluded space to breastfeed.
According to her account, Hope asked a store employee whether she could feed her baby there and the employee said yes. But the same employee changed her tune when Hope began nursing.
“I didn’t use a cover up ... I discreetly pulled my shirt down and her head covered me up,” Hope later wrote on Facebook.
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“The same lady then told me I could not ‘do that’ here. She told me I would need to go to the restroom. I was completely shocked as I have never had anyone comment on me breastfeeding in the whole 18 months I have been nursing. Yet alone, another woman, possibly a mother herself.”
The employee began giving Hope directions to the restroom: down a hall, use the elevator, and so on.
Angry, Hope decided to go home instead and on the way out passed by the lingerie section, where she saw a huge poster of a woman wearing a lacy bra.
How ironic, she thought. So she took a picture in front of it.
“Why is it acceptable for a giant picture of BOOBS to be on the wall but I cannot feed my child?” she wrote on the Breastfeeding Mama Talk Facebook page, where her story has been shared more than 1,500 times.
Most of the comments support her, with many women sharing stories of being similarly treated in other stores. Many women told her not to even ask for permission to breastfeed next time — just do it.
“I would have just said my daughter saw the menu you have posted on the wall and ordered her lunch accordingly,” wrote one woman.
“No one can legally make you nurse in a bathroom! Sit your (blank) in the middle of the floor if you want to. Bravo, Momma!,” wrote another.
Hope first posted her story to the Dillard’s Facebook page, where the store posted a quick apology.
“We respect the right of mothers to nurse their children wherever they feel comfortable in doing so,” the store said.
“Upon becoming aware of this situation, our store manager immediately reached out to our customer and apologized. Our associates have been reminded of our breastfeeding policy.”