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Queensland mother has lashed out against the retail giant Kmart after she was told it was ‘unhygienic and wrong’ to breastfeed her six-month-old in an empty change room.


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While shopping at the Stocklands store in Rockhampton, Queensland on Tuesday, Whitley Magnussen claims she was told by two staff members she should not be feeding in the change room.

‘I explained to them both that it’s my legal right to breastfeed wherever I want however both of the staff members were quick to jump down my throat with reasons why I shouldn’t do it,’ Ms Magnussen wrote in a heated post on Facebook.

‘[They said] if they had known my intentions they would’ve “refused entry” to me (even though I also had clothes to try on).

‘I took him straight over to the fitting room attendant,’ she said.

‘After her store manager and I had explained what she said was horribly wrong and extremely discriminating she still claimed that it was unhygienic and wrong so all I got was a quick blunt “I’m sorry” – the other staff member was no where to be seen and did not apologise.’

The Queensland mother said she ‘has no doubt they will discriminate against another breastfeeding mum again.’

Ms Magnussen posted a message on the official Kmart Facebook page on Tuesday night and it has been shared more than 60 times.

kmart

***Just a warning to any breastfeeding mums that shop at Kmart in Stocklands Rockhampton.***

I was told by 2 female staff members today that it was unhygienic and wrong to breastfeed my 6 month old daughter in the (completely empty) female fitting rooms and that if they had known my intentions they would’ve “refused entry” to me (even though I also had clothes to try on). They didn’t say this ‘politely’ to me, they ganged up on me and shouted this at me across the store floor in front of other customers (a staff member over heard the fitting room attendant abusing me so she decided to join in).

I explained to them both that it’s my legal right to breastfeed wherever I want however both of the staff members were quick to jump down my throat with reasons why I shouldn’t do it (“I’m taking up valuable fitting room space, I could get milk in there, it’s not meant for mothers, it’s unhygienic” etc.)

I politely told them both to “F@”K OFF!” and went straight to the store manager George, he was immediately apologetic and agreed it was my legal right to breastfeed where I may and that he will speak to the staff members at the store. I told him it’s not good enough and I wanted an apology from the staff members that discriminated against me – after a lot of back and forth “it’s ok I can apologise for them”, “no I want them to say sorry” he finally agreed, so I took him straight over to the fitting room attendant.

After her store manager and I had explained what she said was horribly wrong and extremely discriminating she still claimed that it was unhygienic and wrong so all I got was a quick blunt “I’m sorry” – the other staff member was no where to be seen and did not apologise.
There isn’t a doubt in my mind that they will discriminate against another breastfeeding mum again so please, feel free to breastfeed freely in Kmart in ANY section of the store. You are 100% legally allowed to.

Kmart were quick to respond, apologising for ‘her experience’ and asking her to contact them direct.

What a dreadful experience for Whitley and her bub. I really hope the staff are taught a lesson in manners if nothing else!

Share your thoughts below.

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  • I would never be offended by anything kmart staff uttered. I wouldn’t dignify their brainless utterances with even a raised eyebrow.

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  • Disgusting behavior by staff…and not much better from the Manager – shame on them. How ridiculous in this day and age.

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  • I’ve worked in retail for years and see nothing wrong with it. Breast feeding is a natural thing and no one should be discriminated about it. Although I know many of my colleagues would think the opposite. Its hard enough being a mum to a baby without extra pressure from others who should mind their own business.

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  • There is so much discrimination these days against women breast feeding in public. An awful experience for this young lady…
    It’s ok for a man to walk around with just board shorts on baring his chest but not ok for a lady to breastfeed her child because someone finds it offensive… at least our boobs/nipples have a very important purpose.

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  • Sometimes you just have to feed bub no matter where you are and would it have mattered if a person ‘trying on clothes’ took that long in the change room? Probably not.

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  • Well. Okay, the changing room was empty. But possibly it wasn’t the best place to choose, just because clogging one up at a busy time could be a problem, and maybe they were worried about the precedent? They should have been politer, though.

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  • We don’t know whether or not the staff in Kmart used bad language or not.
    Far better to feed a baby than having a screaming hungry colicky one. Some babies gulp in a lot of air when crying. Some shopping centres now have a baby’s room for feeding, nappy changing, Mums to go to the toilets with the doors ajar and keep an eye on their babies. But there is an awful lot that don’t. In the CBD I don’t know of any in close proximity to the retail stores in Adelaide. One particular arcade in Adelaide CBD has cafes that sell food and drinks. There is no public toilets in that arcade, only locked one private for staff only.

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  • I hope the staff got a strict talking too after she left.

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  • Wow when a child needs a feed this is a idea place as its out of the way

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  • I support breastfeeding in public but I also feel that in some situations there may be better alternatives or better ways of handling the situation. It sounds like these staff members were not fully trained to deal with the situation and that the Mum in question could have been a bit more polite.

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  • Change rooms aren’t really feeding rooms as they are for trying on garments only. Nevertheless you could have accessed the baby change and feed room at Stocklands if you checked it out. You could have spent all the time you needed to feed your child there. You needed to be more proactive in seeking a better place to feed your child as I am an advocate of breastfeeding for I fed all of mine in the same respect, but not in company change rooms. I went to venues where it was not an unwelcomed practice and used discretion whenever I fed them, because even in these times of what we think should be more acceptable and natural to do so, to some it still isn’t. Nevertheless the staff did not have to be rude to you, but should have displayed a more professional approach in explaining their companies policies and procedures. More training and education is needed on both theirs and your part Whitley.

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  • yep i think that people need to be given proper training on these types of things and also get taught things like conflict management etc. train people to be wary and sensitive to their customers

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  • How dreadful, the staff members really need retraining. Every mother has a right to breastfeed where they want and I think a change room is very acceptable.

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  • That’s so archaic and I can’t believe the reaction from those women. I was having coffee at a shopping centre recently and saw a mother breastfeeding on the next table and it put a smile on my face.


    • I feel exactly the same way – it is the most beautiful and loving site. I always smile at other mums feeding their bubs. They are wonderful!

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  • The natural and normal function of female breasts/feeding a baby is unhygienic – is this a joke?! K Mart need to educate their staff on breast feeding and on human rights. Good on her for taking a stand – keep it up and never ever be deterred!

    Reply

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