National AP News | WCTV Eyewitness News: Tallahassee, Thomasville, Valdosta

"Targeting" Public Breastfeeding

By: KHOU
By: KHOU

FRIENDSWOOD, Texas — December 28, 2011 -

Mothers from around the country plan to support a Friendswood mom who says she was harassed at a Target store for breastfeeding.

More than 100 different “nurse-ins” are planned in 35 states after hearing about the case of Michelle Hickman.

Hickman and her then 4-month-old son Noah were visiting the Target in Webster last month when he started getting hungry.

“I was taking care of my baby’s needs,” said Hickman. “I was bothered by people wanting to make a spectacle of it.”

Not the customers, she said, but the employees.

“They all came in and started walking and looking like I did something horrible,” said Hickman.

The first employee reportedly suggested that she use the fitting room. Another supposedly told her that she could be cited for indecent exposure.

“I had this big blanket over me,” Hickman said as she showed KHOU 11 News.

After feeding her child, Hickman left the store and later called the corporate office.

She said she was told by guest relations, “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.”

KHOU 11 News contacted Target and they sent a written statement claiming that “guests who choose to breastfeed in public areas of the store are welcome to do so without being made to feel uncomfortable.”

The statement went on to say that “Target has been in touch with the store to ensure all team members are aware of our breastfeeding policy.”

Hickman was so angry about what happened, she shared her story online and with a mother’s groups.

That’s where the idea of staging a “nurse-in” was born.

The nationwide “nurse-in” is scheduled for Wednesday, December 28 at 10 a.m.

A Target corporate spokesperson released the following statement:

"As a family-oriented retailer, Target has a long-standing corporate policy that supports breastfeeding in our stores. We want everyone to feel comfortable shopping at Target. Guests who choose to breastfeed in public areas of the store are welcome to do so without being made to feel uncomfortable. Additionally, we support the use of fitting rooms for women who wish to breastfeed their babies, even if others are waiting to use the fitting rooms.

We continually educate our team members in stores across the country on store policies to ensure all guests have a great experience.

We worked with this guest directly to address her concerns and are sorry any inconvenience it has caused.

Target is proud to support all mothers who breastfeed year-round, including today."


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