Oahu moms take stand to breastfeed in public

Moms Breastfeed in Target

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Jocelyn Sato is a proud mother of two.

“His name is Collin. He was born seven pounds, 13 ounces,” Sato said.

The McCully resident hadn’t breastfed baby Collin in public until recently. She had just finished shopping at Target when she decided to get a smoothie at the in-store cafe.

“So, I was sitting there debating while he was screaming and I thought, ‘I will just feed him here,’” Sato said.

Sato says she didn’t have a nursing cover with her and tried to position herself so nothing could be seen.

“To someone passing by, they would just see the back of his head,” Sato said. “This girl from Target comes up to me. She was like, ‘You have to leave. There are children and people eating here.’ And I was like, ‘He is eating too.’”

Sato packed up and went home.

“I was just embarrassed. I felt like I did something wrong,” Sato said.

She did a little research and found…

“Women are protected by Hawaii State Statute as well as federal laws protecting your right to breast feed anywhere you want,” said Lisa Kimura, executive director for Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies.

She went back to Target to talk to a manager.

“I was kinda just tossed around,” Sato said.

Target said in a written response, “Guests who choose to breastfeed in public areas of the store are welcome to do so without being made to feel uncomfortable. Additionally, we support the use of fitting rooms for women who wish to breastfeed their babies, even if others are waiting to use the fitting rooms.”

The store manager told KHON2 they have no record of any complaints and employees should not approach guests unless they pose a danger to the public.

“It’s just made me more educated. It doesn’t make me want to pursue anything with Target, it’s just I know my rights more now. So it’s like if I want to breastfeed, I can defend myself if someone comes up to me,” Sato said.

On Monday, close to 30 moms gathered at Target to hold a nurse-in protest.

All moms breastfed their babies in the Target store.

The store’s manger spoke to the mothers and said she was going to have a staff meeting to address the issue.

They also plan to have one-on-one meetings with employees to ensure breastfeeding laws are known.

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