Breastfeeding in public is a right and not a privilege.
Dozens of moms delivered that message loud and clear during a sit-in at a shopping mall in Bendigo, Australia on Friday.
The moms sat in solidarity with Luci White, who was recently asked by staff to leave the Bendigo Marketplace’s food court and use a special feeding room after other customers complained about her nursing her son Zaydd.
“When I took my son off my breast, he started crying and by the time we got to the room, he was screaming, and screaming and screaming,” White told the Bendigo Advertiser. “It was a very traumatic experience.”
White’s friend Samantha Purden was incensed at the incident, and took to Facebook to complain.
“I am absolutely disgusted and appalled that a young mum friend of mine was just asked by staff at the marketplace to move to a feeding room because some people made a complaint about her feeding in the food court,” Purden wrote.
“If I were still breastfeeding I’d be marching down there to do it right now! I think there needs to be a mass breastfeeding session in that food court to educate the neanderthals out there that no one has the right to tell a mum where to feed her child,” she added.
The post went viral, and resulted in Michelle Van Zyl calling for other moms to attend a “Boobs for Babies” protest on Friday.
Photographs posted online showed dozens of moms nursing their babies in the mall’s food court.
“It’s to show support for this one young mom, and every other mom who has ever been told what she’s doing is wrong,” Van Zyl told the newspaper. “It’s perfectly legal, we’re not breaking any laws for feeding our babies and we shouldn’t be made to feel like we are.”
The Bendigo Marketplace later apologized for the incident, saying its staff would be told that it was acceptable for a mother to breastfeed wherever she chose.
In Australia, it is legal for moms to breastfeed their children in public.
“We regret that a member of our community experienced any discomfort or embarrassment while shopping with us and we apologize to the mother concerned,” the Bendigo Marketplace said in a statement.