A well-known department store has been slammed after the manager banned a mother from breastfeeding in the shop.
The young mom says staff at Edgars in Cavendish Square first told her to leave because they did not want her changing her one-month-old baby’s nappy in the store.
The manager then allegedly told her she is “not even allowed” to breastfeed in the shop.
Tasneem Botha took to Facebook to vent her anger. She says she was in the store last Thursday when her baby woke up and needed a change and feed.
“It was very early in the morning and there were hardly any customers around, so I looked for a quiet area in the store just to sort her out,” she wrote.
“While I was changing her the store manager rudely and abruptly told me to leave the store as this was not allowed.
“She told me I wasn’t even allowed to feed [my baby] and that I had to feed her outside somewhere.
“I had to leave everything I had and search for a bench in the shopping mall to feed her.
“While I was walking out, two staff members who witnessed the incident were making fun [of me].”
The mom says she asked them: “When adults eat in your stores, do you also chase them out?
“How can breastfeeding not be allowed, when you have posters of half-naked women in your stores? When I feed my daughter she is covered and it only takes about fifteen minutes.”
Anèl Olssen, director of the Normalise Breastfeeding Campaign SA, says they are shocked at the way Edgars staff handled the situation, and called on government to “create laws that protect breastfeeding families from this incessant harassment and discrimination they face when feeding a hungry child in public”.
Olssen said: “Our children’s right to breast milk is enshrined in the Constitution.
“We have three draft bills on the table for these new pieces of legislation and have petitions supporting these bills.”
Executive Brand and Product Marketing for Edgars, Alisha Ramasar, has apologised to Botha for the way she was treated.
In a statement, Ramasar said: “As an organisation we take this complaint very seriously as we understand and respect the needs of mothers, many of us being mothers ourselves.
“We welcome this as an opportunity for us to formalise our policies regarding breastfeeding in stores and to provide further education to our staff.”
Cavendish Square has also apologised to Olssen, adding: “For the convenience of mothers with young babies, Cavendish Square has breastfeeding and changing room facilities throughout the centre.”