Breastfeeding mom leaves Ottawa store in tears
OTTAWA -- An Ottawa mother left a Costco store in tears yesterday after an employee suggested she breastfeed her baby in the bathroom. Andrea Rodriguez says a Costco manager has since apologized and offered to speak to staff about the rights of moms but Rodriguez is going public to make sure don't feel the shame and humiliation she did.
When 3-month old Facundo is happy, he shows it. His mother Andrea lifts him up in the air as he giggles with glee. But when he's hungry, he shows that, too. Moments into an interview with CTV Ottawa, Facundo starts crying but stops as soon as Rodriguez starts breastfeeding him.
That's just what happened Monday at Costco. Andrea Rodriguez says her husband dropped her off at the door at the Merivale location while he went to park. Facundo was hungry so she starting breastfeeding.
“One of the employees in entrance, the one giving you coupon and greeting you? She came and told me if you need privacy you can go to the restroom. So, I was like, where?”
Rodriguez says it was an older woman and figured maybe it was a generational thing, so she went to the manager.
“She's like no one is forcing you,” says an expressive Rodriguez, with a thick Spanish accent, “Do you see me forcing you? But I’m thinking, it's not about forcing you. It's about enforcing human rights. You can't tell a breastfeeding woman to go to another room.”
Rodriguez says she ended up crying and leaving Costco. Contacted by phone, a manager at the store said they have discussed the matter with staff but had no other comment.
Breastfeeding moms, though, sure had lots to say. CTV Ottawa caught up with a group of mothers at the Wild Child Coffee Project on Richmond Road.
Alana Ray was with her 4-month-old Patrick, “I don't think feeding my kid in the bathroom is the right thing to say. It's a place to go to the bathroom, not a place to feed.”
Some mothers even added that they, too, have been made to feel uncomfortable feeding their babies in public.
“It's not a good feeling,” says Marie-Eve d’Auteuil, with 9-month-old Madeleine, “They're making you feel like you're doing something shameful, when you're just feeding your baby.”
“I don't know how I'd react,” adds Catherine Beach, with 8-month-old Leo, “probably comply or just stop breastfeeding altogether.”
And that, says Rodriguez, is why she is speaking up. It's the second time this has happened to her in a retail store and now worries what impact this could have on new moms.
“I know there are many new moms who, if they are told the same thing and they are still breastfeeding, they will be too shy to go out,” she says, “and this is a right, a human right.”
Rodriguez says another manager at Costco called her Tuesday to apologize and told her they were using this as an opportunity to train their employees. She's thankful for that but says that should have happened long ago.