California state law states that breastfeeding moms can feed their children in any public or private location. After an Anthropologie store apparently broke that law, nursing moms decided to hold a "nurse-in" to highlight the issue.
The problem started when Ingrid Wiese-Hesson visited the Beverly Hills location of the bohemian chic retailer and, after buying $700 worth of clothing, sat down to nurse her baby. The store manager escorted her to the ladies' room, where the only place to sit was on a toilet, later telling her that it would make other customers "more comfortable."
That sparked outrage among nursing moms, who organized a protest at the store, nursing their children both inside and outside the posh location.
Unfortunately, the chilly reception that Wiese-Hesson received is all too common, with the Surgeon General noting in a 2011 report that shop and restaurant managers often try to discourage breastfeeding moms, or ask that they move somewhere else. That makes nursing mothers feel stigmatized, with the report citing the issue as a barrier that hinders breastfeeding.
"I feel really compelled to just get the message of mothers out there that there's nothing shameful about this," Kate Ward, who participated in the nurse-in, told CBS News.
That Wiese-Hesson was sent to a bathroom was also viewed as problematic, with Ward noting, "I would never eat a meal in a bathroom, and I would never force a child to."
In a statement, Anthropologie said it was "disappointed to hear of the unfortunate experience that occurred in our Beverly Hills store." It added that it is welcoming the chance "to enhance our customer experience by providing further training and education for our staff."