A popular Gold Coast shopping centre has been forced to apologise after staff asked a mother to stop breastfeeding her baby near luxury stores.
Shannon Laverty was at Pacific Fair Shopping Centre looking for new maternity clothes when she stopped to feed her three-week-old son.
The mother-of-two was sitting near high end stores, such as Louis Vuitton and Gucci, when she was approached by the staff member and was asked to “feed somewhere else”.
"I sat down on the public lounge area in front of the concierge desk and when my son was latched on my breast, this woman came running over," Ms Laverty told ABC News.
"She said, 'Excuse me, you know there's a facility for that?'
"She added, 'For your information, there's a facility you can change the baby's nappy, there's also hot water and milk powder so you don't need to use your body'.
"My jaw just dropped, and I said, 'I'm fine here'."
Ms Laverty claims the woman then asked her to move away from the "high end" stores around her.
"She said, 'Well if you're not going to use the facility, I'm going to ask you to move on from here because, as you can see, there are stores like Louis Vuitton and Gucci, so you'll have to breastfeed somewhere else'," Ms Laverty said.
"And I just said, 'I'm fine here thanks,' and just smiled and kept breastfeeding. It took me three times of saying no for her to walk away."
Outrage of the incident led to an apology from Pacific Fair, who claimed it was a misunderstanding.
“We’re really sorry that we caused her any offence,” Pacific Fair General Manager Shain Beveridge told reporters.
“We can learn from her experience as well and just make the situation improve for others in the centre.”
The centre said the staff member was simply pointing out the facilities available, and wasn't trying to relocate the mum.
Ms Laverty hopes speaking out will help normalise breastfeeding.
“The conversation still needs to happen even though it’s 2021,” she told 7News.
Pacific Fair staff will receive training following the incident.
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