A Perth mother claims she was left “humiliated, exposed and intimidated” after being escorted out of a shopping centre parents’ room while expressing milk for her baby.
Natalie Cramp was using the room at Lakeside Joondalup Shopping Centre – where she also works – to pump breast milk when another woman complained to security because she was there without a baby, Perth Now reports.
Mrs Cramp posted to the Perth Mums Facebook page about the incident on Tuesday, attracting more than 700 comments, most expressing outrage at the shopping centre’s actions.
“I’ve received the worst treatment today at Joondalup shops being harassed … and escorted out of the parents room,” Mrs Cramp wrote on the page.
“I just want to say mums pumping breast milk ARE just as entitled to be in the parents’ room as breastfeeding mums.
“I’m so angry, I hope no pumping mum has to go through this … I’m over dirty looks from judgy mums, just because my child isn’t there doesn’t mean I don’t have a reason to be there.
“I WILL NOT PUMP MY MILK IN A PUBLIC TOILET.”
On Wednesday, Lakeside Joondalup management posted a statement to its Facebook page apologising for “any hurt caused,” but denied the woman was escorted out of the parents’ room.
“The Lakeside Joondalup Shopping City parenting rooms are for the use of all parents, including mothers expressing milk,” the statement reads.
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“Our security yesterday attended the parent room to perform a welfare check after another customer raised concern about an unattended woman entering the room.
“Given customer safety is our top priority our security team respond to every call or complaint.
“At no time did security ask the mother to leave the room, nor was she escorted out.
“We apologised to the mother immediately, and reassured her that she is welcome to use the parenting room at any time.”
But many Facebook users were not satisfied with the apology.
“I can’t believe this has happened,” one woman wrote.
“As a mother that expresses at work I’m deeply saddened that this Mum was abused! Shame on the other mum that reported this and shame on Joodalup shopping centre for the way that they managed this!”
“Coming from someone who works in the centre (not for the centre) and has just come back to work after having my baby this is really hard to hear,” another woman wrote.
“I exclusively pumped for 3.5 months and I know how hard it can be. The fact that this poor mum has been through this experience whilst she is also having to deal with the fact she is away from her bub (which makes it harder to express successfully to begin with) is just appalling.”