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Moms stage 'nurse-in' to back breast-feeding in public [Video]

December 28, 2011 |  1:13 pm
This post has been updated. See note below for details.

Breast-feeding moms gathered in cities across the country Wednesday for public "nurse-ins” in support of a Texas woman who says she was harassed last month while nursing her infant son at a Houston-area Target store.

A group in Decatur, Ill., posted a video on YouTube showing a number of mothers nursing their babies, saying the moms had "assembled to peacefully protest discrimination against public breast-feeding." Mothers in other locales also posted YouTube videos of nursing mothers, one shot at an eatery in a Target store.  Another showed a woman nursing in a checkout line.

The nurse-in flash mobs were planned in 35 states in defense of Michelle Hickman, who said Target employees made her feel uncomfortable when she breast-fed her son at the store while Christmas shopping, Houston's KHOU-TV reported.

"I’ve gotten way more support than I imagined," Hickman told the Houston Chronicle on Wednesday while participating in a nurse-in outside the Target store where she said she had trouble.

Hickman encouraged other mothers to join local nurse-ins.

“This is something they can participate in from their own home, their own town. They don’t have to travel with a brand-new infant. They can go to the Target right up the road and support me,” Hickman told the Chronicle.

Target apparently sent a written statement to KHOU-TV saying that "guests who choose to breast-feed in public areas of the store are welcome to do so without being made to feel uncomfortable."

"Target has been in touch with the store to ensure all team members are aware of our breast-feeding policy," the statement said.

Target representatives did not immediately respond to calls and emails seeking comment Wednesday.

[Updated 1:39 p.m., Dec. 28: In an email to The Times on Wednesday afternoon, Target spokeswoman Stacia Smith said the retailer supported breast-feeding in its stores.

“Guests who choose to breastfeed in public areas of the store are welcome to do so without being made to feel uncomfortable. Additionally, we support the use of fitting rooms for women who wish to breastfeed their babies, even if others are waiting to use the fitting rooms,” Smith said. 

She said Target also had made an effort to respond to the Houston incident that prompted the nurse-in: “We worked with this guest directly to address her concerns and are sorry any inconvenience it has caused.”]


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Video: Mothers stage a "nurse-in" Wednesday in Decatur, Ill. Credit: YouTube