A couple of weeks ago, Care2 reported on a breastfeeding mom who had been harassed and humiliated by staff at a Target store. Michelle Hickman, the mom who was harassed by Target staff, has not yet received an apology from the company, despite the fact that the employees went against Target’s own corporate policy on breastfeeding. Best for Babes, a national breastfeeding advocacy organization, wrote:
When Ms. Hickman called Target Guest Relations, she was told that Target’s policies are different from the law and was further harassed. Upon going up the chain of command, she was promised an apology, however, to date she has only received a written re-stating of Target’s corporate policy; with no mention of the words “we are sorry”,”we regret”, “we apologize” or any other phrase that can be interpreted as apologetic. There has been no public statement, consequence for the employees that we know of, or indication that Target will make an effort to properly train employees on the rights of breastfeeding mothers and the need to support their efforts.
Since Target has failed to address the issue adequately with Hickman and with its own staff, Hickman and her supporters decided to organize a nation-wide nurse-in at Target for December 28th. The purpose of a nurse-in is to raise awareness about the rights of breastfeeding mothers and their babies, as well as further normalize breastfeeding in public, both covered and uncovered. The nurse-in included participation from hundreds of mothers and babies in more than 100 different Target stores across the country.
This video shows a selection of pictures from the nationwide Target nurse-in:
The nurse-in was a missed public relations opportunity for Target. While there were no major incidents reported at any of the nurse in locations, Target also didn’t use the opportunity to tell the public that they would be educating their employees about breastfeeding rights, nor did they take the opportunity to apologize directly to Hickman for the treatment she received.
Nurse-ins like the one that took place on December 28th are a moment in time. They serve a purpose and make a point. However, to truly normalize breastfeeding, we need more mothers to breastfeed in public every single day. People see sexualized breasts every single day and have started to believe that they have no other purpose. For breastfeeding to be accepted and supported in society (beyond the “Breast is Best But Do It In The Bathroom Please” mantra), people need to see breastfeeding every day.
Do you think the nation-wide nurse-in hit its Target?
Photo credit: Used with permission from Stephanie Precourt of Adventures in Babywearing