A New Hampshire Walmart refused to print photographs because it showed a breastfeeding mother.
A mother who hired a photographer to take photos of her breastfeeding her daughter says the local Walmart refused to print the images because they were “inappropriate.”
Iris Litterio met photographer Jennifer Luna in a New Hampshire mums’ group and hired her to commemorate her journey through nursing.
“Originally, I just wanted to make it six weeks, and my daughter and I ended up getting the hang of it and we’ve made it almost 15 months,” Litterio tells Yahoo Parenting.
“I wanted to celebrate that.”
Luna, a nursing mother herself, says she offers photo shoots with breastfeeding mums because she wants to capture the bond that nursing creates.
“You only have a few months, or maybe a few years, of your child’s life that you do this,” she tells Yahoo Parenting.
“You will never see this look in their eyes again, and that’s what I want to offer.”
But when Luna went to print the photos at Walmart, in order to use them for a poster to raise breastfeeding awareness at a local latch-on event, she had no luck.
After trying to print at a kiosk, Luna says she got the attention of an employee who she hoped would assist her with the machine.
“The printer was cutting off the sides of the collage, but the employee told me, ‘It doesn’t matter that they aren’t printing right, you cannot print them here, it’s against company policy because you can see nipple,’” Luna says.
“But that is not the case."
"The nipple is inside the child’s mouth; you can see a little bit of areola.”
Luna said she asked to speak with a store manager, and while she waited for the manager to arrive, the employee grabbed each of the photos, Luna had originally tried to print 30, from the printer before Luna could get to them.
“She was snatching them away to be sure I couldn’t get a hold of them,” she says.
When the manager did arrive, Luna says he was equally unhelpful.
“I tried to explain the pictures to him, but he said it didn’t matter my reasoning, the pictures were against company policy and that in the future I would have to take my business of this type elsewhere.”
The manager also referred to the photos as “inappropriate.”
Luna says she eventually had the pictures printed at Staples, where she encountered no issues.
Erin Hofmann, a Walmart spokesperson, says the retailer has since reached out to Luna and apologised for her experience.
“There was a newer associate who was operating under misinformation."
"We do have policies in place that prevent us from printing certain types of photographs, but breastfeeding does not fall under that category,” she tells Yahoo Parenting.
“We strive to provide a good customer experience, and unfortunately that didn’t happen here."
"We sincerely apologise for the customer’s experience. The policy has been clarified to the employees. We have tried to make it right.”
Luna says she received an apology from the store more than two weeks after the incident, and only after the story was covered on the local news.
When members of her local mums’ group originally lodged complaints on Walmart’s Facebook page, Luna says they were told that employees had the right to refuse to print any photos they deemed “obscene and indecent.”