On Sunday afternoon at the Eaton Center in downtown Montreal a hundred people attended a group of mothers breastfeeding their children as a group in a festive and family atmosphere. The program aims to normalize breastfeeding in public places.
Isabelle Cote remembers a week she has 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 go to the nursing room instead.
Outraged, she described her misfortune on social networks and received support for keeping her in the media spotlight.
The rally ended Sunday at the Eaton Center, where many people gathered to remember that breastfeeding your baby is a right.
Although she is no longer breastfeeding her grown baby, it is important for Alia to attend Sunday because she has already experienced such situations. Last winter, a security guard at a Montreal shopping center allegedly asked her to breastfeed in cold and windy weather, claiming that existing sanitation measures prohibited breastfeeding in the mall.
“Breastfeeding is very important and it’s not uncommon to ask a baby to go out,” she denied.
Irénidice Morin had never experienced such a situation, but she wanted to stay with her little Eleanor for 9 months, thus avoiding breastfeeding openly.
“When I gave birth and wanted to breastfeed, I was afraid of this stigma and asked if I had the right to breastfeed in public. […] Eventually, I realized very easily through some research that there was no reason to say I could not breastfeed. How amazing it is to know that this happened to another mother in a place known as the Eaton Center, ”she explained.
She wants to reassure future moms who are afraid to breastfeed in public: she has never had a bad experience, on the contrary, she sheds smiles from passersby. “I never saw the curve. I have publicly decided to take full responsibility for my breastfeeding and not worry about it. […] We should not be influenced by the judgments of society because it is an obstacle for many mothers to breastfeed.
Gabriel Charest, one of the event’s organizers, said she was initially intrigued by the idea of meeting to breastfeed at the Eaton Center. The proposal was snowballed in by several groups of mothers on social networks and she took it to an unexpected level. “At first I thought we were going to be 6-7 moms and who would come to each other and we would do it quietly.”
Isabelle, who describes herself as “inhuman”, said she was shocked to learn of the incident at the fort. Her message of hope that people will stay away from this movement is simple: “When you see a mother breastfeeding, you go ahead and ignore it.”
Ms. said the story helped raise awareness of the reality of breastfeeding mothers. Kote is definitely hoping. “It would be great if the Eaton Center now agreed to communicate very clearly that breastfeeding is right for them. The goal is not to be in conflict. I would be very happy if we could all work together to make this unfortunate event positive,” she continued.
The Eaton Center is owned by Ms. Gabriel Melo, Senior Public Affairs Adviser at Ivanhoe Cambridge. Kot was assured that the situation was an isolated incident. “Public breastfeeding is a right, we respect it and we promote it. Misunderstanding of the rule made by the security guard. She confirms that she has met with employees and the company that provides security to inform them of the situation.