Sam’s Club attempts to censor breastfeeding, refuses to print photos

Breastfeeding incident: A mother was told by Sam’s Club that they she could not print photos of her child nursing. Only after getting angry with them did they print the photos, but told her they would not do it again. Here is Jerrika Aiken’s comment on Sam’s Club Facebook page wall last month, during National Breastfeeding Awareness Month:

I reported this incident on August 19th and SheKnows picked up the story and interviewed the mother. Read more about her thoughts about what happened there. Jerrika did respond with this little note about how Sam’s Club has responded to her on my post, “I am in contact with them. Well kinda. I posted on their FB page too where they responded asking for a PM with my contact info, etc but have yet to hear back. We shall see. Thank you all for the support.”

What is the breastfeeding law in Alabama?

Ala. Code § 22-1-13 allows a mother to breastfeed her child in any public or private location. (2006 Ala. Acts, Act 526; HB 351) Many other states in the US specifically state that breastfeeding is not obscene or lewd and mother’s are protected from nudity offenses, public indency charges. Why? Because breastfeeding is necessary to the survival of our species and it’s just a baby eating, a mother comforting and loving her child. The Alabama Department of Health encourages breastfeeding, stating “Research has shown that breast milk is the best food for baby’s first year of life. Breastfeeding provides many health, nutritional, and economical benefits to mother and baby.”

Why is Sam’s mistreatment of Jerrika Aiken a big deal?

The oppression of and discrimination of women for merely breastfeeding their children and wanting to save and share those memories is wrong. Breastfeeding is not indecent or nudity in the eyes if the law. Walmart did the same thing last year to an Alberta mother and had to apologize. If Facebook welcomes breastfeeding photos, so should Sam’s Club.

How can you help?

Tell Sam’s Club that this mistreatment of breastfeeding mothers for wanting to save their memories is unacceptable. Ask what their policy is and if all employees have been notified of this incident and how to react in the future to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

  • Sam’s Club
    Member Service
    2101 S.E. Simple Savings Drive
    Bentonville, AR 72716-0745
  • By email: Click here
  • By telephone: 888-746-7726
  • Twitter @SamsClub
  • Facebook

What do you think of the Sam’s Club employee’s actions? How should corporate respond? 

Join the conversation on FacebookTwitter, or comment below.

**Update 9.2.2014 11:02am**

I received this response from Sam’s Club on Twitter.

I hope they did actually send a memo to all of their stores. I have not heard back. What do you think of their response?

Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, or comment below!

**2nd Update**

I just heard back from Sam’s on Twitter. “Our Clubs are aware of our policies on the matter and are prepared to follow them. Thanks!”

 

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Breastfeeding mother told to cover up by Tim Hortons employee in Ontario

Another breastfeeding harassment incident has been reported in Canada this week, adding to the two reports from July. A mother wearing her baby while breastfeeding in a Tweed, Ontario coffee shop restaurant chain was told it was store policy to cover-up. Tim Hortons, Canada’s largest fast food service with over 800 US locations, received this report of the incident from Rosemary Roode earlier this week:

“Totally outraged Grandmother here. Just received a call from my daughter who was in the Tweed Ontario Tim Horton’s, breastfeeding her youngest baby (in a carrier I might add) who was approached by a female employee who stated that my daughter is required to cover up if she was going to “Do That Here”….Are you kidding me? When my daughter refused and shared that it was her human right to feed her baby anywhere, the employee responded that she had been asked to make this request by her manager. Upon approaching this male manager my daughter was informed that this was Tim Horton’s head office policy. Again my daughter informed this person of her rights as a mother to breastfeed, the manager then stated that he had thought it best to have a female employee approach her with this request to cover up because “The store is full it is a long weekend and everyone is looking”. I am totally amazed at the total disregard for breast feeding mothers this day and age. Sorry but excuses like “lack of training or educating employees” will not cut it. I hope that this goes viral and other mothers will support my daughter whatever comes of this.”

Tim Hortons Facebook page wall has exploded with criticism from people all over the world voicing their concern for the unlawful mistreatment of a mother and child.

What is the breastfeeding law in Canada?

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects a mother’s right to breastfeed breastfeed anywhere, anytime. The Ontario Human Rights Commission has this to say about public breastfeeding: “You have rights as a breastfeeding mother, including the right to breastfeed a child in a public area. No one should prevent you from breastfeeding your child simply because you are in a public area. They should not ask you to “cover up,” disturb you, or ask you to move to another area that is more “discreet.” It is a human rights violation in this province to ask someone to move, stop or cover up while breast feeding. A ”store policy” or personal opinion against breastfeeding mothers and children is discriminatory and unlawful. The mother has every right to contact the human rights commission and register a complaint.

How can you help?

Tim Hortons has made a little bit of effort to apologize on their Facebook page, stating, “We regret that this guest was made to feel uncomfortable. We are looking into this isolated situation, but we can assure you that mothers who choose to breastfeed in our restaurants are welcome to do so. Thank you for your concern.”

Contact the offending location and customer service to respectfully let them know how this incident and their statement makes you feel and how they can ensure this type of mistreatment doesn’t happen again. Clearly, if they had a policy that wasn’t followed, their staff needs retraining. All employees at the 4,592 restaurants in Canada, 807 in the United States and 38 in the Persian Gulf region should be informed of how to properly treat breastfeeding families. A private apology to the woman in question and a public clarification that they do not have a “head office policy” in direct contravention of Ontario law and the human right to publicly breastfeed is necessary to recover from this PR mess.

  • Offending location:
  • Tim Hortons
  • 601 Moira St
  • Tweed, ON, Canada
  • Offending location’s phone: 613-478-2823

What do you think of the Tim Hortons employee’s actions and corporate’s response? 

Join the conversation on FacebookTwitter, or comment below.

**Update 9.1.2014 10:16pm**

My FB post to Tim Hortons:

“Clearly, you are aware by now that the public is outraged by your Tweed employee’s actions against a breastfeeding mother and child. This incident is unacceptable. Is it really an isolated incident? How can you ensure this type of mistreatment doesn’t happen again? Please put proper breastfeeding family handling training in your new hire packet and in your employee handbook, send a memo & an international breastfeeding logo window cling to all of 4,592 restaurants in Canada, 807 in the United States and 38 in the Persian Gulf region to show your support for families. Everyone should be informed of how to properly treat breastfeeding families. Offer water with a smile and that’s it. A private apology to the woman in question and a public clarification that you do not have a “head office policy” that breaks Ontario’s law and the human right to publicly breastfeed is also necessary.

I look forward to hearing back from you. You may also want to contact Family Friendly Business to help with staff training and wording on an apology.

Regards,
Paala Secor
Advocate, Mother, Blogger”

I also sent them a message on their website. I will update my post when I receive word back.

 

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New York Old Navy employee tells mom breastfeeding is “unsanitary,” tells her to go to the bathroom – Apologized

An employee at the Old Navy store in the Marketplace Mall in Rochester, NY told a breastfeeding mother that she wasn’t allowed to breastfeed in the fitting room because it was “unsanitary.”

Emily Dewey-Salogar of Avon, New York, explained her side of the incident on social media. “I was told by an associate at Old Navy today that I was not allowed to use their fitting rooms to breast feed my baby due to it being “unsanitary”. The associate went on to tell me that I could use their bathroom. I said, “No, I am not going to use your bathroom.” I told her “Why is feeding my baby unsanitary?” She went to get her manager and I got upset and left.”

N.Y. Civil Rights Law § 79-e (1994) “permits a mother to breastfeed her child in any public or private location” while protecting her from public indecency charges. As for their claims that breast milk isn’t sanitary, the CDC doesn’t consider it a biohazard. ”No special precautions exist for handling expressed human milk, nor does the milk require special labeling. It is not considered a biohazard.” It isn’t treated the same as blood or urine a body fluid for a reason. It’s perfect acceptable for mothers to feed their babies in public.

This isn’t the first time Old Navy has offended the breastfeeding community. They were slammed by breastfeeding advocates in 2010 for creating a onesie for babies that said “Formula powered” on the front. Last year, Old Navy employees called the cops on a mom after she breastfed her 6-week-old baby in the fitting room and accused her of stealing when she was in line to buy her clothes. The police showed up and found her innocent. Perhaps she was taking “too long” in the fitting room and those ultra-vigilant Old Navy employees would have preferred she announce to the store clerks that she was nursing and not stealing. What a family friendly business, right?

I personally just breastfeed in fitting rooms without asking. Heaven help any store clerk if they tell me it’s not sanitary, demand I move to a bathroom, or call the cops on me.

How can you help?

Call them and ask what their breastfeeding policy is and how they plan to move forward in a positive way from this unlawful action against a mother and child.

What do you think of the Old Navy employee’s actions? How should corporate respond? 

Join the conversation on FacebookTwitter, or comment below.

**Update 8.29.2014 11:50am**

I received this email from Old Navy this morning regarding their NY employee’s mistreatment of a breastfeeding mother. I give them a thumbs up for finding my email address and sending me a note. I tweeted them yesterday but hadn’t had a chance to email yet.

In case you cannot read it, it says, “Our goal at Old Navy is to make each and every customer feel welcome and comfortable in our stores.

Please know that we fully support breastfeeding Moms and have a clear policy not to interfere in any way. 

We certainly regret this incident, which involved a seasonal store associate who may not have been aware of our policy.  We’ve taken immediate steps to remind our store associates about our policies and have reached out to this customer with our sincerest apologies.”

What do you think of the Old Navy’s response?

 

Related:

Breastfeeding: It’s about more than just the milk.

August is National Breastfeeding Awareness month. I would like people to be aware of the wide range of normal for breastfeeding mothers and children around the world. My version of normal means I triandem breastfeed all three of children, a 6-month-old, a nearly 3-year-old, and my 4-year-old. This afternoon, my middle daughter asked to nurse while we were at the park and of course, I said sure. That is our normal.

She breastfed for a minute or less on each side and then went off about her business, climbing, running, and jumping at the park. There were other parents, grandparents, and children around but I didn’t make a fuss. My child asked so I met her need. No one batted an eye.

Breastfeeding is about more than just the milk, of course. A mother should feel proud of meeting her child’s needs, not closeted or ashamed of nursing an older baby. Breastfeeding past infancy raises many questions in our culture and sometimes instead of reaching out for knowledge, mothers receive negative reactions from the public. People unfamiliar with child-care and real life breastfeeding wonder why would a mother feed her child past six months or a year. They don’t know what the benefits of going longer are, waiting until the child is ready to wean, that there are only positives. It’s understandable. I didn’t know the reason behind letting a toddler-aged child or older breastfeed until I had my own toddler that wasn’t ready to stop. I’ve since been committed to letting each of my three children wean when they’re ready, at their pace, and it’s working wonderfully for us. I don’t have any regrets listening to my children and being there for them, emotionally, physically, nutritionally.

After I made this poster, I thought about the ‪#‎SixWords‬ social media campaign started by the United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC). My poster only has 7 words but if I had to shorted it I’d say, “It’s about more than the milk.”

What does breastfeeding mean to you? Why are you letting your child wean when they’re ready? If you support breastfeeding like this post or share a 6 word comment on what breastfeeding means to you. ‪#‎NBM14‬ ‪#‎SixWords‬

Join the conversation on FacebookTwitter, or comment below.

 

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Green Kale Chocolate Macadamia Cookies

It’s been ages since my last food post, hasn’t it? Well, today we made these nutty, green chocolate cookies and they were a hit. The girls loved making and eating them. Me too! I wish I had really paid attention to amounts to share a proper recipe but I just eye-balled it and they turned out perfect. So, that’s my warning. These amounts are just a rough guess of what I threw together in a bowl while my girls were stirring it all up. Tweak the batter if it looks too this or that, okay?

Kale Chocolate Macadamia Cookies

Makes about 18 cookies

  • 1 banana
  • 2 dragon kale leaves
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
  • 1/4 cup hulled hemp seeds
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup of coconut palm sugar
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup macadamia nuts
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Place the kale, eggs, and banana in your blender and blend until completely smooth. It took less than a minute in my Vitamix. Then pour the green goodness into a large bowl. Mix (or have your kids stir) in the rest of the ingredients with a spoon. My kids like smaller macadamia chunks so I blended those up a tiny bit before putting them in. If the batter is too liquid, keep adding almond flour and ingredients until it firms up. Stir in the coconut oil last. Spoon moist but firm blobs on a cookie tray (I didn’t grease the pan but maybe you could) and bake for 15 minutes, or until the tips of the cookies turn a little brown and they feel set. Gently scrape them off the pan with your thinnest spatula. I use a metal one and it works great. Let cool for a couple minutes and enjoy!

More details on my ingredients: I used eggs from my hens, they’re medium/small. For chocolate chips, I used Dragoba and they were great. Not too sweet but some people prefer cacao nibs. I use pink Himalayan sea salt for everything these days. I used Red Ape cinnamon and ground fresh nutmeg. Use less sugar, or try honey, or none if you’d like. They’re pretty sweet with the banana and chocolate and would probably taste just fine without any added sugar.

I had zero guilt giving these to my girls and eating them myself. Now it’s your turn. Tell me how your batch turns out. I hope my guesstimates weren’t that far off.

Do you think these look good or gross? Do you bake with kale or spinach? What is your favorite “healthy” cookie recipe? 

Join the conversation on FacebookTwitter, or comment below.

**Update**

I made these again with a few spoon fulls of fresh blackberry jam (that I made with honey) instead of kale to try make them pink/purple. The batter was certainly purple but they are dark pink/purple/brown are they’re done. I cut out most of the sugar because I used jam and I forgot to add cinnamon. They turned out moist and yummy again.

 

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  • Search my archives for more of my food posts.

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Gaston County school employee tells mother to breastfeed in the bathroom, breaking North Carolina’s breastfeeding law

A North Carolina school’s actions towards a breastfeeding mother and child attracted national attention this week. Jennifer Harvey was breastfeeding her 7-month-old daughter in the administration office of Gaston County School on Monday morning when an employee approached her and told her to move to the bathroom. Jennifer said she had already removed herself from a busy meeting room  (which was filled with other parents and children) to the nearly empty lobby and covered herself and her baby. Despite going above and beyond what was necessary to make others comfortable, she was confronted by a woman with a scrunched her nose up that said, “Not here. We have a bathroom and we have a bench.”

Watch the interview:

The school’s slogan certainly appears to be at odds with their employee’s actions, unless they really are hoping to shape the future in a way that doesn’t align with state law and give our fellow human beings consideration and respect.

What is the breastfeeding law in North Carolina?

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-190.9 (1993) states that a woman is allowed to breastfeed in any public or private location, and that she is not in violation of indecent exposure laws. (HB 1143)

Thankfully, the school district has apologized but a proper breastfeeding policy in alignment with state law and district wide training on the policy would benefit all employees and Gaston County families. Especially since their apology still included the statement that the mother shouldn’t have really breastfed there. A schools spokesman said there are cameras in the lobby and halls of the building for public safety and “it’s is probably not the best place to nurse a child.”

Hopefully the spokesperson doesn’t speak for all employees and their thoughts on the incident because a child should be fed when and where they are hungry and need comfort. There is nothing obscene or indecent about feeding a baby.

How can you help?

Feel free to contact the school district and ask for their breastfeeding policy. If they really pride themselves on shaping the future, they should support breastfeeding moms and teaching children what the biological norm for our species is. A class on infant feeding would benefit the children in each of the 55 schools in the district so hopefully they won’t grow up thinking it’s okay to harass a mother for merely nourishing her child.

What do you think of the Gaston County School’s response to their employee’s actions? What is your school district’s breastfeeding policy? 

Join the conversation on FacebookTwitter, or comment below.

 

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Bare Breasted in San Francisco – International Go-Topless Day #FreeTheNipple

Go Topless Day, San Francisco: Today, I joined with people around the world to call attention to inequality for women to bare their chests in public. It’s legal in San Francisco but in many other cities and countries, men are allowed a freedom that women are denied. It’s time to free the nipple.

As a breastfeeding woman, I find it fitting that the day that Go Topless Day is celebrated on always falls on the Sunday closest to Women’s Equality Day, August 26th, and August is also National Breastfeeding Awareness Month.

San Francisco’s celebration was held at the beautiful Dolores Park in the Mission District. The hills were crowded with hundreds people of all ages enjoying the sun, mostly guys enjoying their top freedom, but there were a dozen or so women letting the sun kiss their bare chests as well. That was just in our little section though. I bet there were more sprinkled all over the park. I spent the afternoon with my cousin and my 6-month-old baby. We met the organizer, Felix Clairvoyant, early on in the afternoon and hours later, even after we’d left and gone for lunch and came back, he was still there celebrating the day with the other men and women.

All in all, it was a wonderful event. I have a really positive feeling about the day.

Here are some photos from the event:

This group photo was taken before more people arrived. I’m hoping to add a few other photos from other participants later.

[Updated photos]

[Women holding signs to support equal rights. Photo by Felix Clairvoyant]

[Rally group photo by Felix Clairvoyant]

The San Francisco Women’s Shelter was right around the corner from the park and I had to take a few photos to share. I really appreciate the murals in all of their glory. There is no censorship of women and their nipples on this building.

Here is a photo of Quint breastfeeding next to the mother and child in the painting.

I can’t believe it’s already been two years since I realized this inequality after hearing about how female toplessness was legal in New York City. After reading that it was also legal in San Francisco, I took my babies and my breasts to the beach and breastfed topless at Baker Beach. Since then, San Francisco banned public nudity and I was hesitant to head out again and let my skin breathe a bit until this event. It was nice to see a couple of familiar faces from the photos from last year’s event.

If just a few of the hundreds of people in the park and passing by today thought about the stigmas that are placed on women and why women are not accepted for who they are, I will consider today a success. If there were any other breastfeeding mothers at the park, I hope they were breastfeeding without covers with pride.

I shared this message and a call to end gender discrimination on Facebook:

Drop the female nipple ban altogether. Men post photos of their bare chests all day long running, sun bathing, holding their babies. In many cities and countries around the world, women have the right to bare their chests. Why are only breastfeeding women allowed to share one spare nipple on Facebook? It’s just a bit of flesh. Weren’t we all born naked and fed from our mothers? Why criminalize women and their breasts?

Join us. Celebrate the female body. It’s time for you to update your community standards to reflect gender equality.

I hope one day they’ll listen.

Did you attend your local event? What do you think of this blatant inequality and the policing of women for having breasts?

Join the conversation on FacebookTwitter, or comment below.

**Update 8.27.2014**

A protester in Chicago, Illinois was harassed by the police and ticketed for being topless. Watch the video on YouTube. This is gender discrimination, pure and simple. Breasts are not genitals. They are not sex organs. Equal freedom for men & women is all we’re looking for. Women shouldn’t be treated as criminals for just enjoying the sun on their skin

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