Woman claims department store refused to let her breastfeed

A Valley mother says a department store refused to let her breast feed her baby inside. Now she is speaking about her experience, and asking the company to change its practices.

- A Valley mother says a department store refused to let her breast feed her baby inside. Now she is speaking about her experience, and asking the company to change its practices.

Andrea O'Dowd said she was walking around Scottsdale Fashion Square on Thursday. She headed to the nearest department store dressing room to feed her baby, but she says her quest to feed her daughter ended in anger when the store turned her away.

Andrea O'Dowd is a first-time mother, but there is one first she could live without.

"I felt shamed, shamed that I needed to feed my daughter," said Andrea O'Dowd.

She says she walked into Barney's Department Store in Scottsdale, hoping to sit down and feed her hungry baby. She says she went into the restroom but did not find a chair.

"Would you sit on a toilet and eat your food? I don't want to sit on a toilet and feed her, and she shouldn't be exposed to that," said O'Dowd.

Then she says she asked a sales associate to open a dressing room so she could breastfeed 4-month-old Serena.

"She came back, and she said ultimately, we can't let you in the dressing room. I asked why that I just need to feed her, and she said it's just loss prevention," said O'Dowd.

O'Dowd offered to have her stroller checked before going in.

"I was kind of telling her how ridiculous, why can't I go in there, I was choking back my tears," she said.

O'Dowd left the store and filed a complaint with the mall and Barney's corporate headquarters. But she says she hasn't heard back.

Barney's did issue a statement as follows, "Barney's New York is reviewing our lactation policy and training protocol for all locations to ensure that we are adhering to best practices."

"I honestly just wanted justice for this situation, because I couldn't believe it, I'm glad I am speaking up for it," said O'Dowd.

FOX 10 asked Barney's for a copy of their lactation policy, but the store did not respond.

According to Arizona law, a mother may breastfeed her child in any location private or public where she is otherwise allowed to be.


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