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Woman shamed for breastfeeding in Vernon mall food court

Vernon mothers are staging a feed-in Saturday, April 4, 2015 to support a woman who was asked to stop breastfeeding her son at the Village Green Centre.
Image Credit: Shutterstock
April 02, 2015 - 2:32 PM

BREAST FEEDING MOM TOLD 'THERE'S A TIME AND A PLACE FOR THESE KIND OF THINGS'

VERNON - A feed-in is being organized to support a Vernon mother asked to stop breastfeeding her son at the Village Green Shopping Centre earlier this week.

Megan Deuling was breastfeeding her four-month-old son at the food court in the mall Wednesday evening, April 1, when she was approached by a security guard.

“I had noticed a woman giving me some really nasty looks, but I just ignored it,” Deuling says. “I noticed she went up to a security guard and then he came over and he couldn’t even look me in the eye. He said, ‘Mam, there’s a time and a place for these kinds of things.’”

Deuling was told what she was doing was inappropriate, and that she should be using a baby bottle instead. She breastfeeds her son everywhere, but aside from some looks, she’s never before been asked to stop what she was doing.

“I just feel so disrespected and insulted. I can’t even believe this would happen,” she says. “I’m just giving my son life, just doing what’s best for him.”

Once posted to Facebook, her story spread quickly and local mothers have rallied behind her with a feed-in set for this Saturday, April 4 at 1 p.m. in the food court of the Village Green mall. Deuling says many mothers have shared their own negative experiences breastfeeding in public.

“I hope a lot of people show up. This is really unacceptable for a mother to be shamed for feeding her baby. I don’t want it to happen to any other moms,” Deuling says.

She says she’s not going to stop going to the mall, but will stand up for her right to breastfeed her son wherever and whenever.

Ian Papa, the regional manager of Concord Security Corporation issued an apology Thursday afternoon saying the company deeply regrets and apologizes for the comments made by the security guard and added the "misguided statements" are not condoned. The guard in question has been temporarily relieved of his duties until he receives sensitivity training and an evaluation on public relations conduct, Papa said. 

"Clearly this interaction was unacceptable and we will take steps to ensure it is not repeated," Papa said. 

In an email, Village Green Centre marketing manager Darren Robinson said the mall "encourages all members of its community to enjoy its facilities and strives to welcome the entire community within an open-minded and respectful environment." 

"The conduct and decisions of our contracted employees, as with those of our community members, should always reflect tolerance, open-mindedness and a civil  acknowledgement of differences," Robinson said. 

This isn’t the first time a woman’s right to breastfeed in public made headlines in recent weeks. The West Kelowna municipal hall was the site of a feed-in March 24 as council discussed a Baby Friendly Initiative.

The mothers organizing the feed-in this Saturday in Vernon say anyone who supports a woman’s right to feed her baby in public, including dads, grandparents and others, are invited to attend.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston@infonews.ca or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

—This story was updated at 3:40 p.m. April 2, 2015 to include comments from Village Green Centre marketing director Darren Robinson and an apology from Security Concord Corporation. 

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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