Nursing moms upset with breastfeeding preferences at Target stores staged a "nurse-in" Wednesday at locations in Chicago and across the country.
Local moms say the demonstration is meant to raise awareness about controversies over nursing in public. This latest outcry, they say, stems from a recent incident in Texas.
Michelle Hickman, a Houston mother of four, apparently was nursing in a remote area of a Target store when staffers told her to move into a fitting room. There were so many employees confronting her, she said, that it was time to speak up.
"Basically I got harassed by a whole handful of women Target employees," she said.
Hickman complained to the corporate headquarters, and Target sided with her. Representatives said it has always been the store's policy to make women feel comfortable when breastfeeding.
"We kind of just refreshed our team members on our policy to make sure that any guests that come into the store aren't uncomfortable at all," said Chicago Target spokeswoman Ashley Krehoff.
So far more than 5,800 people joined a national Facebook group in support of the movement, and Hickman says about 150 stores in the U.S. participated in Wednesday's peaceful protest.
In Chicago, about a dozen moms met at the Target at 2656 N. Elston and began breastfeeding at 10 a.m. inside the Target Starbucks, with support from the store.
"If you've you ever heard a baby cry when their hungry, it's really unpleasant," said Cora Shaw, a Chicago mom. "And it's really unfair to them. He knows I've got food all the time and he wants it, so to hear him screaming and wanting food and me not giving it to him, he doesn't understand that."
The "nurse-in" lasted about a half hour.