Are there any laws to support bottlefeeding in public? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 47 Old 10-15-2004, 02:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry if this is the wrong place to post but...

I was at a fancy furniture recently with a friend who was shopping and DS needed to eat so I sat down on one of the many couches and gave him a bottle. After a few minutes a really anal employee came up to me and said "excuse me but there are no food or drinks allowed in the store. you are making me really nervous with that bottle. You are welcome to use our bathroom or go outside" I told him that my baby was hungry and I was going to feed him and he persisted so I basically just tuned him out and he eventually walked away. So are there any laws to protect bottlefeeder? I cant be expected to nourish and nurture my babe in the bathroom just because Im not breastfeeding right?
(I really hope I didnt offend anyone by posting this in this forum and I know it is usually the breastfeeding mothers who get harrassed I just really need to know)

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#2 of 47 Old 10-15-2004, 03:19 PM
 
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I find his bathroom suggestion highly offensive. I don't care by which delivery method you are feeding a baby, unless that room is sanitized and certified for food service (not possible IMO), then nobody should be eating in there.

OTOH, and this is where I'm less helpful to you, I can understand a concern, which is the one he stated, about spillage or mess from dropping a food container. Let's face it, a bottle is a dropable separate food delivery system. This is a distinction I make, rightly or wrongly, between bottlefeeding and breastfeeding. Let's face it, the breasts are not going to fall off onto the floor and spill milk everywhere. now there's an image

OTOOH, what I'd really like to see is an acceptance of babies and young children as part of life and welcomed to most places. I'd also like to see an acceptance of the fact that public places do have janitorial staff for a reason. Messes happen even to adults {states the adult whose tray hit the floor accidently to spectacular results while she was in the hospital...}, so perhaps people just need to be a bit less uptight about the concept that a mess might have to be cleaned up.

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#3 of 47 Old 10-15-2004, 03:21 PM
 
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I really don't think so. No food or drinks means no food or drinks. I don't think they were being discriminatory, as would be the case with allowing a grown-up to bring in a soda or a mama to bottlefeed, but saying no nursing in the store. They don't want their furniture to get ruined by spilled milk.

My view might not be popular, but I think the employee was justified in asking you to feed the baby away from the showroom. If my 9yo was hungry in the store, I would be expected to leave and feed him elsewhere... not pull out a sandwich and drink and have a picnic on their sofas. KWIM?
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#4 of 47 Old 10-15-2004, 03:25 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meiri
Messes happen even to adults {states the adult whose tray hit the floor accidently to spectacular results while she was in the hospital...}, so perhaps people just need to be a bit less uptight about the concept that a mess might have to be cleaned up.
Yes, messes happen even to adults, which is why adults wouldn't be allowed to bring food or drink into that particular furniture store, either.

Janitorial staff would clean the floors and walls if there was a splatter. If milk spills on a couch, it can soak to the center of the cushioning, and even a thorough steam cleaning might not get out the odor nor the staining on the surface if it's a light-colored fabric.
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#5 of 47 Old 10-15-2004, 03:42 PM
 
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I think you should have the right to feed your infant when they are hungry period.

As for breast being neater than bottles, this may be true for some people but I usually end up spraying everywhere when I am trying to get DS to latch lol..

I am not sure about the laws, but I would write a letter to them explaining why you think the 'no food and drinks' rule should not apply to feeding infants. And that by being more baby/family friendly they will bost their sales (think IKEA, they are very baby friendly and it means more moms shop there).

good luck
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#6 of 47 Old 10-15-2004, 04:19 PM
 
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Laws to protect breastfeeding mothers are put in place so moms arent threatend with prosecution under decency laws.

Its apples and oranges.
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#7 of 47 Old 10-15-2004, 05:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by 2tadpoles
Yes, messes happen even to adults, which is why adults wouldn't be allowed to bring food or drink into that particular furniture store, either.
I can appreciate that they would ask someone not to feed anything on their inventory but not on a chair for customers or a bench or something.

I wonder if they would uphold that no drink rule if an obviously wealthy cusotmer walked in with a coffee to buy a house full of furniture?

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#8 of 47 Old 10-15-2004, 05:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by 2tadpoles
I really don't think so. No food or drinks means no food or drinks. I don't think they were being discriminatory, as would be the case with allowing a grown-up to bring in a soda or a mama to bottlefeed, but saying no nursing in the store. They don't want their furniture to get ruined by spilled milk.

My view might not be popular, but I think the employee was justified in asking you to feed the baby away from the showroom. If my 9yo was hungry in the store, I would be expected to leave and feed him elsewhere... not pull out a sandwich and drink and have a picnic on their sofas. KWIM?
Yeah, but a 9yo cvan wait for a meal, a baby can't.
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#9 of 47 Old 10-15-2004, 06:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I dont see why asking a bottlefeeding mother to go to the bathroom is any less offensive than asking a breastfeeding mother. Feeding is feeding and a baby is a baby. I mean I see a lot of breastfeeding moms on here say they respond to people who tell them to go to the bathroom "would you eat YOUR lunch in the bathroom" I have a 7 month old baby that needs to eat as soon as he is hungry. Not a child that can be reasoned with.

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#10 of 47 Old 10-15-2004, 06:48 PM
 
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I guess my opinion is, "It matters."

Concrete answer there.

Really, though. What type of furniture? If you were sitting at a wood dining room chair (no upholstery) I think the comment is outrageous. If you were sitting on a white suede couch, I can understand his concern. I think the "outside or the bathroom" comment was plain old STUPID & RUDE. Was there something *special* about that couch (I mean, was it like $25K or something?).

I would probably just stand up at that point and feed baby as I walked around looking at the furniture. Would that be a possibility?

 

 

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#11 of 47 Old 10-15-2004, 07:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It was a $600 microfiber couch..And this is the kicker...It advertised that it resists stains due to scotchguard protection.

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#12 of 47 Old 10-15-2004, 07:38 PM
 
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I guess if you were prepared to pay the $600 for the couch if there were any spills it might be different but I sure wouldn't want to take the chance. It's too bad they don't have a cafe or a bench or resting place that you could find a quiet place to sit. All of our furniture stores out here have these things and I HAVE nursed there but not on the stuff that was for sale.
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#13 of 47 Old 10-15-2004, 07:57 PM
 
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I can understand a store not wanting someone to have liquids on their merchandise but I think it is highly offensive for them to ask you to move to the bathroom.

All they need to say is no food or drinks.

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#14 of 47 Old 10-15-2004, 08:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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But what would you guys say if he said it to you while you were breastfeeding? According to my breastfeeding friends they can be just as messy. My friend Jane has been known to spray across the room.
Im sorry if I sound snarky at all. Im just frustrated and thought I would get support here and Im not really getting much at all.

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#15 of 47 Old 10-15-2004, 08:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sebastiansmommy
But what would you guys say if he said it to you while you were breastfeeding? According to my breastfeeding friends they can be just as messy. M
If the store had a stated no food or drink policy, and the clerk politely explained why he wanted me to move, I would probably move. Not to a bathroom (that's just nasty!) but I would move to a bench or some other customer seating place. The sofa is their merchandise, and I can understand why they wouldn't want someone feeding an infant on it. JMO
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#16 of 47 Old 10-15-2004, 08:52 PM
 
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I guess one big difference is with a bottle you have a container with all of this liquid in it. Granted a breast has liquid in it too but the top doesn't screw or fall off and all the liquid that is inside pours out.

Sorry you feel that you aren't getting the support you want. I think that it wouldn't have been a problem if you weren't on the merchandise in the store. That is understandable.

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#17 of 47 Old 10-16-2004, 12:54 AM
 
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Originally Posted by sebastiansmommy
It was a $600 microfiber couch..And this is the kicker...It advertised that it resists stains due to scotchguard protection.
I actually have a nice microfiber living room set and it truly is stain resistant. I know that's totally OT but it amazes me over and over and I wanna share the love!

Meg has pooped and peed on our ottoman dozens of times since I use it as a changing table downstairs and easy peasy a little dawn and water and it's GONE. No smell no stain. You'd never know it was there. I do keep it covered with a quilt but.. s**t happens...lol!

I can see where they couldn't sell a sofa with someones bodily fluids on it even if they did clean it. I guess it's a matter of respect. I wouldn't change a diaper on a sofa in a furniture store either. No matter how dirty and upset my child was I would go to the car or something. (I am NOT saying feeding is anything like pooping...)

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#18 of 47 Old 10-16-2004, 01:01 AM
 
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Well, honestly I think it is just bad business sense as well as being rude.

Does he follow people around and make sure they don't take a pen out of their pocket--- it "could" break open and spill ink all over What if someone came in with dirty pants (not diaper dirty, but dusty or muddy)? Uhhh, you're making me nervous please get in this plastic bag or take your pants off. I assume they usually have to severely discount floor merchandise anyway because it gets kicked/scuffed up.

I know you can spill a bottle, but once it is all put together and the baby is eating, I don't think I have even one time seen it just explode all over the place.

Most places that say "no food and drink" do not consider formula/bottles/sippys/bfeeding in that equation, IME.

And I still feel the clerk could have offered a wooden/non upostered sitting area instead of the bathroom.

 

 

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#19 of 47 Old 10-16-2004, 01:12 AM
 
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If I had had a "spraying" problem, I'd've understood and not sat on merchandise for nursing DD. I didn't, so I did.

The other concern, which would apply regardless of how one is feeding the baby, is that babies sometimes spit up. I can understand a place being concerned about baby barf on the merchandise too.

But that's no excuse for suggesting the bathroom. :

IMO he should have offered you a chair that they were comfortable with you sitting on to feed the baby, a comfy one.

In my perfect child-friendly world, the furniture stores like that one would have non-merchandise seating for customers.

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#20 of 47 Old 10-16-2004, 02:48 AM
 
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I think it's awful that he asked you to leave or go to the bathroom! Your baby has just as much a right to eat when and where he wants as my bf baby does!I mean, it's kind of rediculous... even if you drop it, it has a rubber nipple on it, it's not like droping a cup of milk. You'd spill a couple drops tops, and the dang thing is scotch gaurded?!! The guy was being a jerk.
As for there being laws to protect bottlefeeding... I'm sure there aren't any. Just for the simple fact that these kind of issuses hardly ever come up lol. I bet this will be the only time you are ever asked to leave while feeding your child.
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#21 of 47 Old 10-16-2004, 01:18 PM
 
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I was thinking about this last night. The no food or drinks thing should probably apply in places where it's needed without any exemptions. I'll give an example of when I really would have appreciated them enforcing it.

I took my daughter to get her easter pictures made. She wore a new beautiful lavendeer linen dress. We sat waiting for a few minutes and a family with twins about 12 months old sat down to wait to have their pictures made. The father handed both babies a bottle full of ORANGE SODA. Yes, in baby bottles. I was disgusted.

As soon as that tiny toddler dropped that bottle (as anyone would guess he would at some point) the soda fizzed and sprayed all over everyone in the waiting room. My daughters dress was ruined! Never got those stains out and we left without having her picture made.

Now regardless of what those people stupidly choose to feed their babies it was their right to feed them their bottles.
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#22 of 47 Old 10-17-2004, 09:27 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willjenn
Yeah, but a 9yo can wait for a meal, a baby can't.
It probably would have taken about 30 seconds to walk outside the door to the store. Bottlefeeding can certainly be done standing up, as annoying as it might be.

Sorry, but I believe that my rights stop where another's begin. If that furniture store is a private business, they're entitled to make their own rules. Sure, I think it's silly to have a "no bottles" rule.... I think they could set up a chair somewhere to accomodate parent who needs to feed a baby. But they aren't required to, and the OP was asked to take her bottle of liquid elsewhere.

If it were me, I would have left the store and not shopped there again, and I would have written a letter to the company explaining why. But I feel strongly that the rules of a private establishment should be followed. Nobody is forcing you to be there. If you choose to be there, you should follow their rules.
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#23 of 47 Old 10-17-2004, 11:21 AM
 
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Hmm, this can be a tricky one. I do feel like you shouldn't have been asked to leave, perhaps he could have offered a comfy wooden rocker if he was so nervous about spills? I can understand his concern, I wouldn't want to buy a new couch that has had milk of any kind spilled or dripped on it, can you imagine the stink if it wasn't properly cleaned?

Regarding having laws to protect bottle feeders, I see tons of mobile babies walking around with bottles of pop, milk, juice etc and leaving stains in their wake. You should see the WIC office before they shampoo their carpet. They would have to get pretty specific about whether baby is being fed or walking around with a bottle.

I guess I'll have to think some more on it before I expand. My other thought is that it's getting cold, so if you did leave the store are you really expected to feed your baby outside?
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#24 of 47 Old 10-17-2004, 11:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I dont really think feeding him outside would have been option. It was about 90 degrees or so outside. I could not have walked around and fed him. He is extremely squirmy and heavy and it just wouldnt work. In all my months of bottlefeeding I havent had one spill. One time the bottle fell but nothing came out. I think the employee was just trying to be a PIA. I just don't think he liked babies. period.

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#25 of 47 Old 10-17-2004, 12:57 PM
 
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I was thinking you could get a sling and when he needs to eat while you are out you could put him in the sling cradle position and give him a bottle that way you could walk around.

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#26 of 47 Old 10-17-2004, 01:14 PM
 
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I did want to point out that in this case there aren't laws protecting breastfeeding either. A BFing mom has the right to BF her baby in any public place but in a privately owned establishment the owner can say no BFing. I can understand having such a policy as no food or drink especially on the furniture but it sounds like it should have been handled better and that there should be an area for children to eat conisdering furniture shopping can be time consuming.
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#27 of 47 Old 10-17-2004, 02:04 PM
 
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A BFing mom has the right to BF her baby in any public place but in a privately owned establishment the owner can say no BFing.
I'm not sure that is *exactly* true. Most laws do apply to stores & the like because, while privately owned, they are "public" establishments (anyone can enter them). Many laws say "wherever the mother is allowed to be" so, logically if she was allowed there with a non-nursing infant, she would be allowed there with a nursing infant. Asking to relocate to a non-upolstered surface seems like a reasonable request. But, it has been brought up time & again that you *do* have the right to bfeeding in restaurants, malls, stores, etc... Private property refers only to a place that you must be invited/residence type place (homes).

Either way, definatley not a good sales technique

 

 

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#28 of 47 Old 10-18-2004, 10:21 AM
 
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ditto to what tiredx2 said re: BF laws.

I think the employee went around the wrong way. Just like some people assume all bf moms whip it out flashing everyone around them, some people assume all bottle feeding moms prop bottles or let kids run around with a dripping bottle. That doesn't make it right, but that is how some people think.

I still think he could have offered an unupholstered chair and been more friendly about it. Don't go back, find another place to shop for furniture!

Leah- because it was 40 degrees yesterday I was thinking of cold, but you're dealing with hot!
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#29 of 47 Old 10-18-2004, 12:37 PM
 
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This same scenario actually happened with a breastfeeding mom, and it was taken to the Human Rights Commission and the mom won.

Sorry, i don't have a link or article at hand for reference, but IIRC, the case was in Winnipeg Manitoba Canada. The store was an antique furniture store. The mom sat on a couch to breastfeed, and was asked to move to an alley at the back of the store. I think she moved, but took her complaint to the provincial Human Rights Commission, that ruled in her favour. (even though it was an antique couch she was sitting on).
(In Canada we don't have specific laws in place to protect breastfeeding like you are making in the various states, but it is protected under our general Human Rights legislation. (ie it is discrimination to ask a mom to not breastfeed, because only women can give birth and breastfeed.)

(You also cannot discriminate against a person becuase of their family status. ie you can't discriminate because someone has children). so I wonder if bottlefeeding would be covered by this - since really it is only babies that need to be fed immediately and on the spot - so perhaps that would supercede the "no food or dirnks" rule? Under Cdn law, we really can't say until someone files a complaint on this basis, and a Commission looks into it.

BTW - this is NOT like suing - if you win these cases, you may be awarded a small monetary compensation - ie $1000, and set a precedent.

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#30 of 47 Old 10-18-2004, 01:09 PM
 
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While a store is privately owned, it is NOT a private place. Stores are PUBLIC and as such are not permitted to violate rights just because the owner dislikes children, AA, NA, Hispanics, Jews, Christians, Pagans, etc, ad infinitum. They are there to do business with the PUBLIC and therefor are public places by definition.

Now if they're that worried about the merchandise being damaged, perhaps what they need is a sign asking that patrons not sit on the furniture for sale? AS I said before, adults have messes happen too. Who here has never had a pad leak? Think that employee follows the premenopausal women around asking that they not sit on the merchandise? He'd lose his head within a day, guaranteed.

I'm sorry you had to experience that person's lack of thinking ability or inter-personal skills Sebastian'smommy. Heck, if nothing else he could have offered a towel to put to whichever side might've gotten spit on or dripped on.

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