Barnes & Noble To Train Employees To Not Be Jerks To Breastfeeding Moms

In spite of the fact that every state in the U.S. has laws that allow nursing moms to feed their babies in public, there are still frequent reports (some possibly fictional) of breastfeeding mothers being told to cover up or leave stores, restaurants, and airplanes. In the wake of one such incident at one of its stores in New York state earlier this year, Barnes & Noble has agreed to train its employees that it’s not illegal for a mother to give sustenance to her young child.

Back on March 16, an employee at a B&N in Nanuet, NY, told a nursing mom she needed to cover up or get out, which is against a state law giving mothers the right to breastfeed in any location that the mom has the right to be. Additionally, nursing moms are not required to cover up their child and bared breast with a towel or blanket.

Since B&N doesn’t want to be on the wrong side of the law, and since the bookstore chain can’t afford to lose anymore customers to Amazon, the company has agreed with NY Attorney General Eric T(he) Schneiderman to pay $10,000 to Rockland County, NY, in support of its Breastfeeding Promotion and Support Program.

The store has also agreed to improve how its customer complaint resolution deal with complaints from breastfeeding mothers, and train store employees and managers on its breastfeeding policy, which prohibits employees from interfering with a mother’s right to breastfeed at its stores.

Additionally, B&N stores in NY will display the international symbol for breastfeeding at their entrances.

“All New York residents, including breastfeeding mothers, must be afforded equal protection under the law,” said Schneiderman, slinging from building to building via the Schneider webs that shoot out from his wrists. “No mother should endure harassment for breastfeeding her baby in public. There is one set of rules for everyone in New York, and I applaud Barnes & Noble for taking steps to ensure that moms are not harassed or discriminated against.”

As we’ve mentioned before, the National Conference of State Legislatures has this very helpful guide to each state’s particular laws on breastfeeding in public.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.