|Photo: Zboralski, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported|
A woman in an IKEA furniture store in Ottawa was insulted, then asked to leave her place in line by store management, because she was breastfeeding her child yesterday while in line at the checkout.
Ottawa Public Health (OPH) affirms a woman’s right to breastfeed her child “anytime, anywhere.” This right is protected by the Ontario Human Rights Commission. According to the regulation, no one should ask moms to “cover up,” ask them to move, or even disturb them in any way.
According to Brea Rehder, IKEA management did not follow Ottawa law. Says Rehder, “The manager glared at me and said, ‘When you are done being disgusting, we can resume our discussion. In the meantime, take it to the bathroom because you're holding up the line.’” Management was called due to a pricing issue when the incident occurred.
Rehder is currently waiting for a response from management, however breastfeeding advocates are contemplating a public nurse-in to help educate the public on the issue. In her letter to IKEA, Rehder says, “I have truly never been more insulted, and beyond upsetting me, the manager's comments about my breastfeeding deeply affected my two-year old son.” She went on to say her son cried himself to sleep over the issue.
Breastfeeding rights advocate Jodine Chase says, “Moms often feel large retailers don't respond appropriately when an incident like this occurs. A nurse-in is common tool used by breastfeeding moms to raise awareness to counter public breastfeeding discrimination. IKEA needs to take incidents like this seriously. IKEA's response, so far, is not appropriate. They need to publicly apologize and train their employees so it doesn't happen again.”