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Breastfeeding mum 'mortified' after Kmart staff comments

Whitley Magnussen and daughter Layla Photo contributed.
Whitley Magnussen and daughter Layla Photo contributed. Photo contributed ROK161215breas

A YOUNG mum says she was left "mortified" when two Kmart staff members told her it was "unhygienic and wrong" to breastfeed her daughter in the store's changing rooms. 

Whitley Magnussen told The Morning Bulletin she was shopping in Kmart Rockhampton on Tuesday when her six-month-old daughter Layla started screaming.

Attempting to settle her down, Whitley decided to breastfeed her in one of the store's fitting rooms.   

Although she hadn't seen any staff attending the area, Whitley said she hadn't been in the room long before a staff member knocked on door.   

The staff member asked to see the number of items Whitley was trying on and asked them to move to a family changing room.   

Although she had planned to try on clothes, Whitley said she decided to just breastfeed Layla and leave as she could hear her son, who was waiting with his father, getting agitated outside. 

When she finished breastfeeding and returned the tags and items to the fitting room attendant, Whitley said the staff member asked her if she had any other items to return.   

Whitley said when she explained she had only been using the room to breastfeed, the woman told her it was "unhygienic". 

"She said 'if I had known that I wouldn't have let you in the fitting rooms'," Whitley said.   

Whitley said a second staff member joined in, with both telling her why she shouldn't breastfeed in the store.   

When Whitley approached the store manager, she said he apologised immediately.   

While the staff member eventually also apologised to Whitley, was still "shocked" by the encounter and took to Facebook to warn other mothers.   

A mother of two, Whitley said it was the first time she had faced any negative comments over her choice to breastfeed in public.   

"I've never had any confrontation about breastfeeding," she said.   

"I've breastfed in public and never had anything but positive things about it.  

"It's just wrong for people to discriminate against it in this day and age."  

A spokesperson for Kmart yesterday said they did not discourage women from breastfeeding in any store. 

  "The store manager and team were concerned to learn of the customer's experience and we will be working with the team to ensure that this never happens again," they said.   

"We absolutely do not discourage women from breastfeeding in any of our Kmart stores and we apologise for what has occurred."  

Topics:  breastfeeding, breastfeeding in public, discrimination, editors picks, rockhampton



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