Rally to normalize breastfeeding in public at the Eaton Center

A hundred people took part in a gathering where mothers breastfed their children in a group in a festive and family atmosphere at the Eaton Center in downtown Montreal on Sunday afternoon. The event aimed to normalize breastfeeding in public places.

• Read also: A young mother is banned from breastfeeding at the Eaton Center

Isabelle Côté will remember the week she has just had for a long time. Last Saturday, a security guard at the Eaton Center asked her to stop breastfeeding on a public bench in the mall and instead go to a nursing room.

Outraged, she recounted her misadventure on social networks, and received a wave of support that placed her in the media spotlight.

The mobilization culminated Sunday at the Eaton Center, where several people had gathered to recall that breastfeeding your child in public is a right.

Even if she is no longer breastfeeding her child who has grown, it was important for Alia to be present on Sunday, because she has already experienced similar situations. Last winter, a security guard at a Montreal shopping center allegedly asked her to go breastfeed outside in cold and windy weather, claiming that the sanitary measures in force prohibited her from breastfeeding in the mall. .

“Feeding is vital and it is not normal for a baby to be asked to go outside,” she denounced.

Irénidice Morin has never experienced such a situation, but she wanted to be present with her little Éléonore, 9 months, in order to destigmatize breastfeeding in public.

“When I gave birth and wanted to breastfeed, I inquired if I had the right to breastfeed in public because I was afraid of this stigma. […] Eventually, I felt realized quite easily via some research that there was no reason to be told that I couldn’t breastfeed. What a surprise to learn that it happened to another mother in a place as well known as the Eaton Center,” she explained.

She wants to reassure future mothers who fear breastfeeding in public: she has never had a bad experience, on the contrary, she has had smiles from passers-by. “I never had even a crooked look. I decided to take full responsibility for my breastfeeding in public and not worry about it. […] We must not allow ourselves to be affected by the judgments of society either because it can be a hindrance to breastfeeding for many mothers.

One of the organizers of the event, Gabrielle Charest, confides that she first joked about the idea of ​​gathering at the Eaton Center to breastfeed. The proposal has snowballed in many groups of moms on social networks and has taken on a scale that she did not suspect. “At the beginning I thought that we would be 6-7 mothers who know each other who would come and that we would do it quietly.”

She says she was surprised when she learned of the incident that happened to Isabelle Côté, which she describes as “inhuman”. The message she hopes people will take away from this movement is simple: “When you see a breastfeeding mother, you move on and don’t care.”

Ms. Côté precisely hopes that this story has served to raise awareness of the reality of breastfeeding mothers. “So much the better if the Eaton Center now agrees to communicate very clearly that breastfeeding is okay for them. It is not the goal to remain in a dispute, if we are able to work all together to ensure that this unfortunate event becomes something positive, I am super happy, ”she continued.

Gabrielle Meloche, senior public affairs advisor at Ivanhoé Cambrige, the company that owns the Eaton Center, assures that the situation that happened to Ms. Côté is an isolated event. “Public breastfeeding is a right, we respect it and we encourage it. It is a misunderstanding of the rule that was made on the part of the security guard. She ensures that the employees and the company that provides security have been met in order to make them aware of the situation.


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