An Austin, Texas, mom said she felt humiliated when, after spending $150 at a Victoria’s Secret store, she was told by an employee she couldn’t breastfeed her son in a fitting room but could, however, do so in the alley instead.
Ashley Clawson told KTBC-TV she asked the employee Monday if she might be able to use a private dressing room to nurse her 4-month-old and considers the refusal a violation of Texas law.
Ashley Clawson said she was "humiliated" when a Victoria's Secret employee suggested she breastfeed in an alley instead of in the store's fitting room. (Image source: KTBC-TV)
"[She] said 'no, you cannot nurse your son in our fitting room, but you can go outside to the alley and nurse him there. No one usually goes there,'" Clawson recounted of the incident to the news station.
Clawson didn't end up taking the Victoria's Secret employee up on her alley offer.
Afterward, she said she called her husband and, when she got home, took to social media.
"I have to blast Victoria's Secret at the Domain for telling me I wasn't aloud to nurse my very hungry, fussy son in their fitting room after I spent a fair amount in their store. She actually told me to go outside and walk down an alley where no one 'usually' goes and nurse him. Seriously?!? Lost a customer for sure," Clawson wrote on Facebook.
Image source: KTBC-TV
"The posters and everything are just women showing their breasts and obviously to Victoria's Secret, in my eyes, it's looked at as a play toy, not necessarily, a means for, you know, nursing your child, which is why we have breasts to begin with," Clawson told KTBC.
Watch KTBC-TV's report:
The mother filed complaints with the store and received an apology.
"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 said in a statement, according to KTBC. "We have apologized to Ms. Clawson, and we are taking actions to ensure all associates understand our policy that welcomes mothers to breastfeed in our stores."
Clawson said she hopes that other employees take note of this incident and take the opportunity to learn about the store's breastfeeding policy. (Image source: KTBC-TV)
Overall, Clawson said she "was humiliated by the whole thing."
According to Texas law, "a mother is entitled to breastfeed her baby in any location in which the mother is authorized to be."