Woman Says Anthropologie Manager Sent Her To Breastfeed On The Toilet

A woman in California says that Anthropologie used to be her favorite store, but she gave serious thought to boycotting the chain after a store manager asked her to please feed her six-week-old son in the bathroom, not in the back of the store. The goal? To make everyone more “comfortable.”

Why didn’t she just cover up, you ask? She claims that she was using a cover to shield the public from the sight of her infant eating, but that wasn’t good enough for the Anthropologie Boob Police. Instead of a quiet corner of the stockroom or a dedicated lactation room, which some businesses now have, the store manager escorted the mother and son to the store’s restroom and invited them to have a seat on the toilet.

After leaving the store, the mother called to discuss the incident with the same manager who had escorted her to feed her child while sitting on a toilet. The manager’s response? “I thought you and the other customers would be more comfortable off the sales floor,” the mother recounted on Facebook. “We must be fair to all the customers, not just moms.”

Sure, Anthropologie doesn’t sell gauzy $180 infant sundresses, but the store was not in the right here. Like many states, California has a law that explicitly says that mothers are allowed to feed their babies in any place that they’re normally permitted to be. That means the customer couldn’t go nurse in the stockroom without permission, or break into someone’s house to nurse in a comfy armchair. However, the sales floor of a store where she was about to drop $700 on new clothes is a perfectly legal place to feed a baby.

Whether it’s polite in modern American society is another matter, and that’s a subject about which many pixels have been spilled on this and other sites. After the mother posted about the incident on Facebook, outrage spread across Los Angeles and the world, and a nurse-in was planned in front of the store yesterday afternoon.

The company did post an apologie on its Facebook page, promising “training and education” for employees. Maybe they could start by showing store managers this series of student-produced ads.

We are disappointed to hear of the unfortunate experience that occurred in our Beverly Hills store. As a company comprised of hundreds of mothers, which seeks to put the customer first, we celebrate women in all of their life stages. Given our staff’s dedication to providing exceptional customer service, we welcome this as an opportunity to enhance our customer experience by providing further training and education for our staff. Our aim is that all women – all mothers – be comfortable in our stores and delight in their relationship with Anthropologie.

Woman Says Beverly Hills Store Broke The Law After Asking Her To Breastfeed In Private [CBS Los Angeles]
Anthropologie Learns a Lesson in How Not to Treat Breastfeeding Moms [AdWeek]

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  1. furiousd says:

    It was nice of him to allow her to remain in the store. I personally don’t think that laws should dictate which customer’s behaviours are allowed in a private business

  2. kjh says:

    So she just sat down in the middle of a grown-up clothing store in Beverly Hills and started feeding a child. I think the breastfeeding aspect is a red herring. Just sitting down with a four year old and giving him a PB&J sandwich some chips and a juice box in the middle of that kind of clothing store (heck, probably most) would be kind of weird and awkward, too. Only then they’d probably ask you to leave.

    • webalias says:

      Not sure what your point is. California (like many other states) has a law that allow mothers to breastfeed their babies in any place that they’re normally permitted to be. There’s no comparable PB&J sandwich law. The store manager broke the law, and given how much publicity the whole issue has received in recent years, it’s amazing that the manager didn’t know better. Or perhaps, the manager did know better, but didn’t care. Whenever a retail establishment so flagrantly violates a law that’s so well-established, I’m inclined to wonder: what other laws don’t they care about obeying? Racial profiling? Accommodating people with disabilities? Wage, hour and safety regulations? Safeguarding customer data? Paying their taxes? If a company’s managers are either so poorly trained (or so arrogant) that situations like this one can arise, I wouldn’t be surprised if they are poorly trained in other areas as well.

  3. SuperSpeedBump says:

    Breastfeeding is a natural part of Motherhood and doing it in public is protected by law… so how come sex in public is illegal? Sex is a primary requirement to begin Motherhood and it’s just as natural as Breastfeeding. Masturbation also happens to be totally natural, but once again, against the law in public.

    And then you have those few mothers who continue to breastfeed their children when they’re 5, 6 and 7 years old… In what way is it totally natural to see a woman breastfeeding her 7 year old in a Walmart while picking out school supplies? “Look Timmy, they have Transformers pencils… oh, you’re hungry… here, you can suck on these.”

    I’m sorry, but this whole breastfeeding in public thing is going too far. No one wants to see you “naturally” feed your kids.