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A Mother has spoken out saying she was inconvenienced while breastfeeding her three-month-old son in a parents’ room because another woman was using a private cubicle to pray.

Tatjana claims a woman was using one of the private cubicles to pray.

She is asking for shopping centres to put signage above the cubicles saying they’re for the exclusive use of nursing mums, reports Herald Sun.

But Westfield says it will only police the use of the rooms if it discovered “publicly indecent or dangerous activity” was taking place.

Most shopping centres do not have prayer rooms.

Tatjana, who asked that her surname not be used, said she went to the Westfield on to pick up her older daughter from work and while she was waiting, needed to change and feed her baby boy.

Should Parents Rooms Only Be For Parents?

She went into the parents’ room, hoping for the privacy of an individual cubicle with a curtain to feed him, but they were all occupied.

Tatjana said she reluctantly decided to feed her son on the couch in the shared area of the room, with other kids running about and playing.

She said one of the kids opened the curtain to a private cubicle to reveal a woman, who was covered by shawl, on the floor praying.

“As I continued to sit there and feed my baby, one of the toddlers whom I assumed was her child, pulled open the curtains and there was the woman on the floor praying,” Tatjana said.

“Now I don’t have issues with religion or praying, but I was shocked that this family thought it was OK to take up this room to pray, while my son was denied a feeding room.

“I hope no other mother has to endure this, and I would like to see signage in these rooms explaining what they are used for.”

Privacy For Feeding

Tatjana said she preferred to feed her son in a private cubicle because he was easily distracted.

“I know I can feed anywhere I like, but at the moment, he’s so inquisitive that he wants to pull his head out all the time and it’s just easier to be somewhere quiet and private,” she said.

Tatjana said she contacted centre management but was disappointed in their response.

In an email centre management told Tatjana it would only police the use of the cubicles if “publicly indecent or dangerous” activity was taking place.

Tatjana is not satisfied: “I thought it was a cop-out and brush of the shoulder response. I’m sure if I was in a prayer room feeding my baby, there would be outrage.”

Westfield spokesperson Julia Clarke told Leader that “we rely on shoppers’ goodwill to use the amenities for their primary purpose”.

“In this case that applies to parents’ rooms which are an amenity provided to customers for the caring needs of infants and children while at Westfield’s shopping centres,” she said.

The response on social media has been very mixed.

My question is how do we know that the mum hadn’t fed her child prior to kneeling for prayer, or would do so after her prayer? I think people are far too quick to judge.

Would it bother you in a similar situation?

Share your comments below.

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  • I met a guy who had to change his daughter’s nappy in a parents’ room as naturally there was no provision in Males Toilet. He needed somewhere safe where she could not easily roll over as she has hip dysplasia and is wearing special equipment from near her waist down to her feet. He got some “disgusting” looks but fortunately no comments

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  • These rooms are for parenting and breastfeeding only. There have been complaints about Dad’s using the parent’s rooms, so why should this woman be allowed to say prayers to the detriment of a Mother who was breastfeeding.

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  • When there was plenty of space I don’t see much wrong with a prayer in a feeding room, but when there is lack of space I think the praying woman should make space for the mum who wants to feed , as that what’s the room originally was designed for.

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  • No should not be used for praying, what next? Muslims do pray at certain times but they need to make sure they are in the right place to do it. If we allow one to pray in a parents room what is next, a whole group of them. I see them taking over the childrens play grounds sometimes and people feel they need to leave. No other religion does it so openly and it needs to be reigned in before other public areas are taken over. I am not racist, I just think there is a time and a place for such things. If I went into a parent’s room to feed my baby and then stayed to use my phone or read a book would that be okay? No I would be expected to move out for the next parent who needed the space, that is what they are designed for. The management of the shopping complex are too scared to do anything because they do not want to be seen as racist or anything else they are scared of.

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  • I wouldn’t mind betting she had just fed her child too. I think people are too quick to judge. I’m not a Muslim but I honestly don’t see the problem with this.

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  • I would be irritated if someone was using the room for a purpose other than feeding or changing their child. if the praying woman had been feeding her child prior to this she should have left the room so another parent could use it once she was done.

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  • The cubicles are there for feeding. If you’ve used it and your child has finished feeding then I think its time to move on once you’ve tidied up so another parent can feed their child. I would be annoyed to find another parent using designated feeding cubicle for something that wasn’t feeding. Its about having respect for others and showing common courtesy. By all means follow your religion and pray but there are plenty of places you can pray that don’t inconvenience others. Annoying to think that this mother had to compromise her privacy and right for her son to be fed in a quiet space so someone else could pray.


    • Couldn’t agree more! Public prayer can be done in a church, temple, synagogue, mosque or privately at home – not in a designated parents room.

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  • My issue here is the mothers wording “nursing mothers” only……. Why should it not be parents. If my husband wanted to use the parents room feeding cubicle to give bub a bottle why should he be unable to do so because its for nursing mothers only……..
    And yet women want equality. While ever they think women only things will not be equal.

    And on point no i do t think ot should be for prayer but whats to say she hadnt fed her baby just prior ????

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  • Seriously? There are more important things to complain about. No worse than loud shopping centre music.

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  • Yes these rooms were done for mothers to feed not for pray. The prays can be timed, so could had found a better place. Shopping centres can not enforce the use of rooms or parking for parents. These places are supplied to help but do not have too.

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  • I think a bit of understanding and flexibility in this world would make it a better place to live in for everyone. As mentioned before, this mother was inconvenienced and no-one prevented her from breast feeding. Distractible babies can be distracted by anything when feeding, even in a seperate room. Perhaps this other mother had feed her baby prior to praying? Either way, she could have started feeding on the couch and when the other mother had finished, could have moved into the cubicle. Honestly, aren’t there bigger things in this world to worry about?

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  • I can understand her being upset, but it’s not like she was prevented from feeding her baby, she just felt inconvenienced. It’s true though, if she had used a prayer room to breastfeed, there would be a much bigger uproar. I’m sure she would have been removed.

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  • The beautiful thing with breastfeeding is that you can feed your child anywhere and anytime. Older babies get more inquisitive indeed and like to look around and respond on what is happening. Babies who’re easily distracted, older babies or babies with medical conditions will probably feed better in the private and quiet circumstances at home.
    It’s beautiful that there are feeding rooms but they are not everywhere and it’s not so that we have the right to use a room on the moment we want it.
    Personally I don’t think there’s so much wrong with the use of a feeding room for a prayer.
    Both women thought probably their need to feed or pray was urgent and important.

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  • Well is used for mother’s and children needs not prayer needs as such!

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  • Babies with some medical conditions that get distracted while feeding can be very ill as a result of it. For some of them the distraction means they don’t latch on properly when they start feeding again.

    Reply

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