Breastfeeding mom says she was berated by Montreal Walmart employee
Walmart, store manager surprised that employee told mother to stop publicly feeding 11-month-old son
Candyce Sousa is still mystified by an encounter with a Walmart employee who told her to stop breastfeeding while she waited in line to pay.
The Westmount, Que., woman said she was at the Walmart location near Décarie Square on Friday to pick up some last-minute camping equipment. While waiting in line at the cash register, her 11-month-old son grew restless and hungry after spending more than an hour in the store.
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Sousa said she decided to discretely breastfeed her son, who was strapped to her chest in a frontal child carrier.
"While we were minding our own business, off in another section of the store, an employee who was currently working — she was ticketing items in the men's section — she very loudly and aggressively started making comments about how a child this age should not be breastfeeding because they can 'wait,'" Sousa said.
Sousa said the employee told her that only young infants need to be fed immediately.
"She also made mention that she herself has breastfed two babies and she never felt the need to publicly display that," Sousa said.
Manager, company surprised
She said she made a complaint to the store's manager, who told her he was shocked.
"He didn't really know what to say other than, 'People breastfeed here on a regular basis, on a daily basis,' so he doesn't see what her problem would have been," Sousa said.
Walmart sent a statement to CBC News late on Saturday evening:
"Walmart Canada's policy on breastfeeding supports a mother's right to breastfeed (including nursing directly, or pumping/expressing milk) in a public area including the public areas of our stores, or to be provided assistance in finding a private area if she prefers.
"Our policy also clearly states that under no circumstance should an associate prevent or discourage a customer from breastfeeding in a public area of the store. The situation you describe is unacceptable and we will certainly look into this."
Sousa said she also made a complaint to Walmart Canada, and is still waiting for someone to get back to her.