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?
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