Breastfeeding at Target: Moms Stage National Demonstration

Alice Gomstyn
ABC News BlogsDecember 28, 2011

A nursing mother's upsetting experience at her local Target last month has led to what appear to be "nurse-in" demonstrations at Target stores nationwide.

Mothers from across the country have posted pictures of themselves nursing at Target stores - from Maryland to Minnesota - to a Facebook page used to organize the event. (A Target spokeswoman has confirmed that nursing mothers showed up at Target stores today but said the chain was still gathering information on the scale of the demonstrations.)

"I never knew that sitting in a Target and doing what's normal - which is feeding my baby - would result in all of this one day but I'm glad it did, " Michelle Hickman, the woman who inspired the event, told

Last month at a Webster, Texas Target store, Hickman began nursing her fussy, hungry infant son in the store's women's clothing section. Hickman, 35, said that eight Target employees eventually surrounded her and two asked her to move to a fitting room to finish nursing. The other employees, she said, rolled their eyes at her and gave her dirty looks.

Hickman said she tried explaining that Texas law allowed her to breastfeed in public, but the employees wouldn't listen. Hickman said she later called Target's corporate offices but was disatisfied with their response. She said the retailer has yet to apologize to her directly.

Target provided the following statement to ABC News Houston affiliate KTRK:

"As a family-oriented retailer, Target has a long-standing corporate policy that supports breastfeeding in our stores. We continually educate our team members in stores across the country on store policies to ensure all guests have a great experience. We worked with this guest directly to address her concerns and are sorry any inconvenience it has caused. Target is proud to support all mothers who breastfeed year-round, including today."

Hickman, who is calling for a national law to protect women's rights to breastfeed in public, said the nationwide demonstration was organized by fellow moms with whom she shared her experience. Her story was also publicized by the pro-breastfeeding group, Best for Babes, which later contacted Target about the incident. ( The response the group said it received from Target is posted here.)

Hickman participated at a nurse-in this morning at the same Target store where the November incident took place. She was joined by an estimated 50 other mothers.

"It felt great, it's nice to see us all just coming together," said Kelly Roth, 29, of Lake City, Texas, one of the organizers. "We shouldn't have to sit at home or in a bathroom to (nurse.) Babies shouldn't have to wait."

A nurse-in took place at Whole Foods supermarket stores last summer after a Utah mother complained of how employees treated her while she was nursing. Whole Foods later issued an apology and praised the nurse-in.