British Columbia

Kamloops mother urges mall to create breastfeeding space for shopping families

A Kamloops mother of four children, including a newborn, is giving a local mall suggestions on how to make the building more family-friendly.

Mother writes social media post following uncomfortable breastfeeding experience

Samantha Finden and two of her children in the Aberdeen Mall family bathroom. (Jenifer Norwelll/CBC)

A Kamloops mother of four children, including a newborn, is giving a local mall suggestions on how to make the building more family-friendly.

For Samantha Finden, getting shopping done while running around with small kids is not easy. She was shopping at Aberdeen Mall with her two sisters ⁠— who also have babies ⁠— when they ran into some challenges in the facilities meant for families, which has a breastfeeding station and change table.

After, Finden posted a picture of her and her family in the family restroom on social media, along with a note for Aberdeen Mall on some improvement suggestions she had. 

"Because we are all one giant family we went in together and snapped a photo of situation because it was funny," Finden told Shelley Joyce, host of Daybreak Kamloops

"There's three of us nursing, there's a toddler using the toilet in there. It's full. We're using that space well, but if we didn't all know each other and just happened to show up at the same time ... that would've been quite a lineup outside the family bathroom."

While nursing in the middle of the mall is also an option, Finden said she prefers a contained space where toddler can't run off.

Finden says her family decided it would be easier to abandon their shopping and return home. That experience got her and her sisters brainstorming. 

"We were thinking, what would make it easier for people to stay and get all of their shopping done all in one trip rather than just going home in an online shopping?"

Lactation station

Among Finden's suggestions for the mall is a room with chairs, couches and a play area where multiple people can sit down without having to worry about their toddlers playing in the toilet while they're nursing, which some other malls have. Finden calls the her wished-for space the "Lactation Station."

"The mall is full of empty stores, there are hardly any people shopping and of those people who are shopping, a great number of them have small children and/or infants," Finden wrote in her Facebook letter to Aberdeen Mall. 

Finden say the Aberdeen Mall family restroom, which feature chairs and a spot to breastfeed, is good for only one family at a time. (Jenifer Norwell/CBC)

Finden says a large area for families would also be beneficial to children that are neurodiverse ⁠— such as those with ADHD or those on the autism spectrum — to decompress or reset.

"Then maybe everyone could just relax and actually get things done faster ... giving them an outlet so that it doesn't have to be a freak out and a full temper tantrum on the floor. [The space] might prevent some of that."

In a statement, Aberdeen Mall said they are aware of the concerns, and are always looking for ways to improve services for nursing mothers.

Listen to the full story here:

Kamloops mother of four Samantha Finden is calling on Aberdeen Mall to consider creating more family-friendly spaces. Daybreak's Jenifer Norwell met with her to learn more. 4:29

With files from Daybreak Kamloops and Jenifer Norwell