• Mon, Jul 18 2011

Mom Breastfeeds Baby At American Girl Store, Told To Move Elsewhere

I always knew American Girl dolls were evil despite their cult-like following (they’re too Village of the Damned for my liking). Even so, the American Girl retail locations are beyond packed at all hours with little girls and their mommies living out their ultimate fantasy. Excluding one woman, that is, who was allegedly kicked out of the Fifth Avenue New York store’s sitting area late last week for breastfeeding.

The woman’s husband, David, tweeted about the incident: “Wife kicked out of NYC #AmericanGirl store sitting area 4 breastfeeding. Went 2 fitting room. Employees outside, talking loudly about her.”

“She called me after it happened and was pretty upset. Completely unacceptable,” he writes in a follow-up post. And then, “No one should be made to feel this way about feeding her child.”

Oh, the irony! Sure, you might expect this type of sickening behavior on a public bus, for example, as was the case earlier this month when a driver told a nursing woman to cover up or get out. But at an American Girl store geared especially towards moms and kids? That’s just weird. (Hey, if this woman were in Philly, she could have called the Milk Breast Truck – a sort of feeding area on wheels designed especially for these types of situations.)

There’s been much discussion lately about a woman’s right to breastfeed. On this site alone, we’ve sparked a debate about lactivists (editor Mollie Hemingway, who nursed both her babies, thinks they take things way too far) and about a UK woman in a multicultural community center who, after attempting to breastfeed her son, was told to leave so as not to offend Muslims.

On Twitter, people are already threatening to boycott American Girl and many supporters have commented on David’s page telling him they stand behind him. David is thankful for the support and says his wife will be writing a letter to the company. Of course, this is an isolated incident and more of a reflection on these random salespeople than on the company as a whole. Still, we all know about the power of media. Let the Twit wars begin!

(Photo: iStockphoto)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • David

    Thanks for sharing our story. I’ve also written a blog post about this because so many people have asked questions: http://theskepticalatheist.wordpress.com/2011/07/18/american-girl-breastfeeding-do-that-somewhere-else/

  • Leigha

    Yes, it’s a store aimed towards mothers and kids–girls age 5-9 or so. Many, many parents don’t want their 5-9 year olds exposed to random women’s breasts. Plus, from my understanding, it is a REALLY crowded store. Someone sitting themselves down for long enough to feed their baby was probably in the way.

    Yes, talking about her was unprofessional and inappropriate, but that has nothing to do with the company, just those particular people, and I can certainly understand why they would ask her to do it in private and not around hundreds of small children.

    • Marian

      To me, a store full of 5-9 year old girls means this should be a place where moms SHOULD be comfortable nursing! What better place for a “teachable moment” for moms and daughters to talk about what breasts are designed for (as opposed to being sex objects).

      Most nursing moms that I know use a cover or a blanket so as not to offend those around them who may be uncomfortable with the thought of exposed breast anyway.

  • Dawn

    If you ever seen a women breastfeed Leigha you would know that their breast isn’t “exposed” in the manner your describing. I have been to the store MANY times and to be honest it is crowded to the point where I doubt anyone would even notice a women feeding her child. She was in the seating area not standing in the middle of the sales floor. Personally if a child asked that wasn’t familiar with breastfeeding as a parent it would be a wonderful opportunity to tell your child that this is how a mother feeds her baby and it is perfectly normal and natural.

    As far as the employees talking about her that has EVERYTHING to do with the company. Clearly they have not trained their employees to act in a professional manner nor have they informed them of every womans LEGAL right to breastfeed her child undisturbed. For the price they are asking for a doll ($120) I think some of that should go to employee training. I have spend thousands at this store and with this company and I’m done.

  • diane

    i’ve been following these breastfeeding discussions with amazement. Partly because I just don’t get the problem – so what if a sliver of flesh is exposed? I’ve rarely seen the actual breast involved with breastfeeding. And I don’t get the double standard – clothing stores have images on the walls of models with more breast exposed than a nursing mom. Do you object to your children being exposed to those breasts of random women?

    i also just can’t imagine this happening. I nursed EVERYWHERE, and for longer than the average mom – in shoe stores, in mens clothing stores, fancy designer shops, in many many restaurants, on street benches, in malls, on airplanes, in coffee shops, my own office, once on the floor of a photo finishing store, in a costco, everywhere. I did not use a giant cover, but often (but not always) slipped a small flannel covering the (horribly offensive!) bit of boob above the baby’s mouth. I was never, not once asked to cover up or move. An old lady walked over to me once on the street while nursing, and i was prepared for her to tsk tsk me…. but all she said was that I was doing a good thing for my baby.

    i just think its so sad, this ‘debate’. there are so, so many things done in public that are disruptive, inappropriate, immodest and even ‘disgusting’, and we accept them. to place breastfeeding in this category is absurd.

    • Shawna Cohen

      I’m with you, Diane. I once discreetly nursed my baby in one of the newest and trendiest restaurants in South Beach. The (hot) young waiter marched right over to me, handed me a large glass of ice water and told me that I need to drink lots while nursing so that I don’t dehydrate and that seeing me reminded him of his wife and baby boy at home, who he couldn’t wait to get back to once his shift was over. It was very touching and telling. That said, a different waiter at a different restaurant ran for the hills when he caught on to the fact that I was nursing my child – despite the fact that I was totally covered and you could barely tell. Guess everyone has a different comfort level, though I agree that in the end it’s nobody’s business but the mother who is attempting to feed her baby. The “debate” is certainly sad…

  • Shawna Cohen

    Just received this statement via email from an American Girl company rep that I wanted to share:

    “American Girl supports mothers’ rights to breastfeed in any location in our stores. As a courtesy, we make available more private areas in all of our stores for women who prefer this. We’re taking this misunderstanding very seriously and are looking into this matter at our New York location. We are truly sorry for any discomfort our customer experienced and have reached out to her directly to further discuss this with her.”

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  • Avodah

    American Girl Store is a private company. Fortunately, they are allowed to create and enforce certain standards in their stores.

    Was the woman covered up at all? I’ve said before, seeing a woman’s breasts makes me uncomfortable. I don’t think I’m a knuckle-dragging moron or a woman-hater. I just wish people would cover up.

    • Dawn

      @ Avodah sorry WRONG private or not they are located in the state of NEW YORK and here in NY we have LAWS that protect breastfeeding mothers and babes.

      If it make you uncomfortable to see a mother breastfeeding which a perfectly natural thing by the way I would suggest you “cover up” your eyes or move to a place were it is not legally allowed, good luck on that since most states in the US have a law in place.

    • Avodah

      Um, no. A private company is allowed to create and enforce certain rules for their business within, of course, the limits of the law.

      Dawn, I think we can disagree respectfully. Telling me to move, or being nasty is really not a way to further discourse. I am allowed to think that breastfeeding ought to be done modestly.

    • Dawn

      That is just my point if they were to enforce such “rules” etc. within their business they would be doing so illegally, as in not within the limits of the law as per New York State. In NY it is illegal to even disturb a nursing mother. They violated state law period.

  • Avodah

    I simply do not think the state *ought* to legislate what a private business can and cannot ask of its customers.

    Many nightclubs don’t allow baseball hats or overly baggy clothing. Some restaurants require a jacket. Prior to the smoking ban, a business could permit or forbid smoking.

    I do not agree with imposing state laws that tell a private business what they can and cannot do. Don’t like being told to not to nurse? Don’t shop there.

    • Dawn

      It really is a mute point, the law is already in place and has been for a decade and better, maybe if the proprieter in question (American Girl ie:Mattel) didn’t like or approve of the law in place they should have placed their business else where.

      I for one will not be spending another dime in the American Girl Place (after spending thousands by the way over the years) why should i give them my dime if they can’t even educate their employees.

    • Avodah

      Well, they can change laws, and I think it ought to be repealed. Ok, don’t shop there. Cool.

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  • Amymomof3girls

    But no one knows if the woman had a cover or not! The article on Parentables went way too far! I bottlefed my children but if I did breastfeed them I would surely have a cover.

  • http://www.cindybin.blogspot.com/ CindyBin2001

    It doesn’t matter if the woman has a cover or not! Breastfeeding is inappropriate. It is not morally right. I’m a convert to the Mormon church and we are taught why breastfeeding is morally wrong and gross and that we should only bottlefeed our children. A woman SHOULD feel that way about feeding her child through her icky breasts.

    • Cindybin2001

      Oh brother. I did not write that. Someone is using my name and making up stupid comments. It’s probably one of the immature pot smokers. They do this type of stuff all the time, just because I have said we shouldn’t use drugs. Anyway, I am in favor of breastfeeding and I nursed both of my kids back in the 80s.

    • http://www.cindybin.blogspot.com/ CindyBin2001

      No, you are impersonating me. You are a bully pot smoker, acting like me. How dare you call me in favor of breastfeeding. You are terrible!

    • Kaylee

      As a long time follower of Cindybin’s many posts and comments, I know she does support breastfeeding… There’s an old picture of her breastfeeding one of her sons online, and she’s said on official accounts that she supports it an breastfed her own kids. So, I know which account is real.

      C’mon, bro. Stop posing as Cindy. Cindy and her comments are hilarious. They’re hilarious, because she seems like a troll she’s so crazy, but then … You realize she’s actually real. That’s the whole fun of it, stop posing as Cindy, and ruining this. It’s not nearly as funny when I know the posts are just coming from some Cindy-opposer, and not Cndy herself

      You don’t need to make Cindy out to look crazy, she does it perfectly on her own!! Don’t ruin the fun!

    • Cindybin

      Oh brother. First of all, why would you call me crazy?? I am not crazy! I am just a regular, normal person. I don’t say anything that any other parent wouldn’t say! I usually just comment on doll videos, and yes I have said that we shouldn’t use drugs. What parent would ever raise their kids to grow up and smoke pot?? How is saying something like that “crazy”? And the above person who said “she” is against breastfeeding was NOT ME. I breast fed both of my babies in the 80s and am totally in favor of it.