Breastfeeding mother left store in tears after words with Costco worker
TORONTO -- A new mother claims she was left in tears after an employee at a Costco in Ottawa suggested she could breastfeed her baby in the store’s washroom.
Andrea Rodriguez said her husband dropped her off at the Costco in Nepean with their three-month-old son on Monday.
As she was waiting for her husband to park the vehicle, Rodriguez started breastfeeding her son in the entrance of the store.
“One of the employees that’s in the entrance giving you the coupons, greeting you, she came and she told me ‘If you need privacy, you can go to the restroom,’” she told CTV News Ottawa on Tuesday.
Rodriguez said she figured it was a “generational thing” because the employee was an older woman so she went to speak with the manager.
“She was like ‘No one is forcing you. Do you see me forcing you?’” she recalled. “It’s not about forcing someone. It’s about respecting the human rights. You cannot tell a breastfeeding mother to go to another room.”
Following the exchange, Rodriguez said she left the store in tears.
When contacted by CTV News, a manager at the Costco location said they had discussed the matter with staff and had no further comment.
Rodriguez said another manager at the store contacted her on Tuesday to apologize for the incident and tell her that they are using the incident as an opportunity to train employees.
While she appreciated the apology, Rodriguez said she’s speaking publicly about her experience because it’s the second time something like this has happened to her in a retail store. She said she’s concerned about the effect these types of encounters will have on new mothers.
“I know there are many new moms who, maybe they’re told the same thing and maybe they stop breastfeeding, maybe that’s why they’re too shy to go outside,” she said. “This is a right. This is a human right.”