Woman discouraged from nursing in Fred Meyer store

Filed under: Your Pregnancy, Places To Go, Nutrition: Health, Playground Bureau

Oregon mother Chris Musser was discouraged from nursing in her local supermarket so like any mother would do nowadays, she decided to start a blog about it.

Musser had just sat down on a bench at the Gateway Fred Meyer to nurse her three-month-old when she was approached by the store director. She says he walked up to her with a "weird look" on his face and said, "Oh, good. You're getting a blanket."

He told me there had been complaints about my nursing, not that he minded, but that some people were offended. I was so stunned I couldn't think of what to say, except to remind him that Oregon law protects a mother's right to nurse in public. I felt absolutely humiliated. His comments left me feeling like I'd been doing something lewd.

Later, when she spoke with a regional manager, "he supported the store manager's claim that I should have been more 'discreet' and that three people had complained." Musser says, "I'm outraged that Fred Meyer's corporate policy supports legitimizing the complaints of those offended by mothers who nurse in public, rather than the legally protected right of mothers who are trying to take care of their children."

So what is she doing about it? Find out after the jump.Musser explains:

As the mother of a 3-year-old and nearly 3-month-old, the last thing I have time for at the moment is organizing a nurse-in to persuade Fred Meyer's management to stop harrassing nursing mamas, but it may come down to that. I have contacted Kroger's, current owner of Freddie's, explaining that I would like them to change their policy, company-wide so that mothers can nurse at their stores without being told to cover up. If I don't hear back from them
in a week or two, I'll start organizing a nurse-in and share my story with the local news.

If you a Fred Meyer customer or would like to get involved, here is what Musser is asking of them. You may want to include these points in your correspondence:

  • To make a clear company-wide policy that mothers have a right to breastfeed in their stores without being asked to move, hide, cover up, or leave.
  • To train all employees that breastfeeding is different from other behaviors that customers might complain about (such as loud music, offensive language, etc.), and that employees are never to ask a breastfeeding mother to move, hide, cover up, or leave. Instead employees can advise the complaining customer to avert their eyes or move to a different part of the store.
  • To make the public aware of this policy.
You contact Fred Meyer by snail mail:
Darrell Webb, President
GO West 1/Customer Relationship Center
3800 SE 22nd
Portland, OR 97202

Or via the Web:
http://www.fredmeyer.com/customercomments.htm

Please let Musser know if you write a letter. She'd like to keep a count of how many letters they're getting and also to thank you.

Thanks tipster, Sarah Gilbert!

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.