Breastfeeding mothers banded together yesterday in “nurse-ins” at retailers and malls around the nation to show support for a Houston mother who claimed to be harassed by store employees when she began breastfeeding her infant son.
The original story, reported by KHOU in Houston claims, Michelle Hickman and her 4-month-old son were Christmas shopping in a Target in Webster last month when she noticed that her son was starting to get hungry.
According to KHOU, while she proceeded to address the needs of her child Hickman said: “They all came in and started walking and looking like I did something horrible.”
One of the store's employees told her that she could use one of the fitting rooms. A separate employee reportedly told her that she could be written up for indecent exposure.
“I had this big blanket over me,” Hickman told KHOU.
Hickman explained that when she called Target's corporate headquarters she was told by a representative that, “just because it’s a woman’s legal right to nurse a baby in public doesn’t mean she should walk around the store flaunting it.”
Fed up with the response she was getting Hickman created a Facebook page as well as posting comments on various forums for nursing mothers.
The feedback she got was overwhelming; thousands of people in more than 35 states staged about 100 nurse-ins at Target and other shopping areas around the country.
One such demonstration was prevented in a mall in Michigan. The Somerset Collection in Troy was the location where about a dozen women met to begin breastfeeding their children.
Just as they were getting ready to start mall security told them that they were not allowed to breastfeed. Mall security reportedly told them the mall does not allow flash mobs.
However, a video of the incident on Patch.com shows a mall manager telling the mother that they do not allow nursing in the mall.