Babies 'R' Us is apologizing after a West Island woman was told to take her breastfeeding elsewhere while shopping in one of its stores in a suburb just off the Island of Montreal.
Marianna Aboulhosn of Kirkland, in Montreal's West Island, was shopping with her 10-month-old son as well as her mother and pregnant sister on Thursday when her son began crying.
She said she headed to the store’s dedicated changing and nursing room, but upon seeing it was occupied, made her way to a secluded corner of the store and sat down in a chair reserved for customers. She proceeded to begin breastfeeding her son.
Soon after, a store employee told her she was not allowed to breastfeed in the store outside of the nursing room.
Nursing room 'stank'
Aboulhosn said that after she told the clerk the room had been occupied, the clerk responded by asking for the two of them to check the room together.
She told CBC Daybreak on Friday morning that she took offence to what she believed was an insinuation she was lying.
Sure enough, the nursing room had since been vacated — "There you go, it’s empty," Aboulhosn said the clerk told her.
But what lingered was an overwhelming stench. Aboulhosn said the garbage was overflowing with dirty diapers and wipes, and that the nursing chair in the room appeared to have feces on it.
"That room stank," Aboulhosn said.
When she said she didn’t want to nurse in that room, the clerk and the store manager told her there were no other options.
"I left the store, I was so upset. I couldn’t believe what happened," Aboulhosn said.
Late Friday morning, Babies 'R' Us responded to Aboulhosn on a Facebook post she wrote on the company's page describing the situation.
"We take this issue very seriously," the post reads. "Toys 'R' Us and Babies 'R' Us are committed to ensuring expectant moms and new moms are comfortable when shopping in our stores. Mothers have the right to nurse their children wherever they wish in our stores. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused."
Aboulhosn said she will file a complaint with the Quebec Human Rights Commission.
This summer, the Montreal borough of Rosemont apologized to a mother who was told to stop breastfeeding at a public pool because it was making people uncomfortable.