A breastfeeding mum and her baby.
A breastfeeding mum and her baby. Picasa

Breastfeeding mum told "cover up or leave" at Kmart store

ONE of Australia's largest retailers is facing a torrent of fury after a young mother breastfeeding her child was told to either cover herself or leave the Queensland store.

The mum, who was not named by the Cairns Post, said she was confronted by a male staff member on Saturday who told her it was against Kmart's policy to allow breastfeeding in the store.

She was told it was "offensive" to other shoppers.

The staff member said it was against company policy to allow breastfeeding in the store.

The woman took to social media to spread the word of Kmart's policy, which is now facing a mass protest at its Smithfield store in Cairns.

A second woman witnessed the conversation, and supported the mother's the retelling on social media.

"The young woman who was breast feeding her child, she had a green cotton wrap draped over her shoulder and no breasts were visible," she said.

"When told discrimination was against the law, he advised us that we were more than welcome to make a complaint to his superiors."

Discriminating against a breastfeeding woman is illegal under both state and national laws.

Despite its increased acceptance, women still face some discrimination and judgement when feeding their children in public.

Since 2010, 14 cases of discrimination on the grounds of breastfeeding have been upheld by the Anti Discrimination Commission Queensland.

A Kmart representative apologised for the incident, and said it would not happen again.

"We absolutely do not discourage women from breastfeeding in any of our Kmart stores, and we sincerely apologise for what has occurred.

Even after the apologies, another local mother has called for a "flashmob" style protest.

"We just want to draw attention to the fact that there still is this discrimination against women breastfeeding in public," she said.

"We want to make a point, and make a stand."

Under the national Sex Discrimination Act, it's illegal to discriminate against a person in any way for breastfeeding.

Under Queensland law, breastfeeding is considered a "protected attribute", making it illegal to discriminate on the basis of breastfeeding.

News Corp Australia


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