Store tells woman she can't breastfeed in dressing room

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by QUITA CULPEPPER / KVUE News and photojournalist KENNETH NULL

kvue.com

Posted on January 16, 2014 at 9:17 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 16 at 10:58 PM

AUSTIN -- A Central Texas mother's experience at Victoria's Secret is sparking a nationwide push after she was told she couldn't breastfeed her baby inside a dressing room.

Ashley Clawson never dreamed a trip to Victoria's Secret at the Domain with her 4-month-old son, Beckett, would turn into a unforgettable story.
 
"When I got to the counter, my son started getting fussy, started crying, so as I finished the transaction I asked if I could nurse my son in her fitting room before I left," Clawson said. "She said, 'No, you can't nurse your son in my fitting room. But you can walk outside and go down this alley where no one usually goes. No one will see you there.'"

Clawson said she couldn't believe what she'd heard.

"I felt hopeless in that moment, when she said no. I just didn't expect that," Clawson said.

She ended up feeding Beckett inside a mall bathroom stall.

Clawson filed two complaints with Victoria's Secret. She said it's incredible the store that focuses on women's bodies wasn't more understanding, especially to a nursing mom.

"If you think of it in its natural state, it's meant to nurse your children. That's why it's there," Clawson said. "And you'd think Victoria's Secret would understand that."

According to a statement the company sent KVUE, it's a clear violation of the corporate policy. It says in part: "We take this issue very seriously. We have a longstanding policy permitting mothers to nurse their children in our stores and we are sorry that it was not followed in this case."

"Victoria's Secret might need to put more emphasis on that aspect of their training when they're training their employees, just so there's not another instance like this," Clawson said.

The store manager called Clawson today to apologize and offered to send her a $150 gift certificate in the mail.

Victoria's Secret also said it's making sure all its associates understand that mothers are welcome to breastfeed in their stores.

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