Tell Starbucks to Enact and Publicly Announce a National Corporate Policy that Mothers will Not be asked to Leave, Cover, Move, or Hide when Breastfeeding their Babies
Nursing in Public in the News
Starbucks has responded to the many letters they have received with a form letter. Perhaps you have received it.
We appreciate that Starbucks has taken the time to respond to customers and address the issue of breastfeeding in their stores. We are disappointed that they have missed an opportunity to be leaders in corporate policy supporting women’s choice to breastfeed.
Below is a copy of the text of their letter.
In blue and parenthesis are points we feel are important to add.
Dear (your name here):
Thank you for contacting the Starbucks Coffee Company.
Starbucks welcomes a broad and diverse group of customers to its stores, including nursing mothers. (Good, we support that.) In an isolated incident, a nursing mother in a Maryland Starbucks store was asked to cover up while breastfeeding her child. (Note: She was in fact asked to cover up or nurse in the bathroom. This letter left off the “nurse in the bathroom” part.) Maryland recently passed a specific law that prohibits any person from limiting or restricting a mother’s right to breastfeed in public. (Hooray, Maryland! This became law in May 2003.) This law applies to Maryland businesses. When we learned of the Maryland mother’s complaint, we quickly apologized for her negative experience. (The apology came two and a half weeks after the letter was written and it came after the nurse-in had been planned and publicly announced.) Additionally, to help us ensure compliance with the Maryland law, we sent a reminder to stores in the state reinforcing the law. We believe this is the best way to educate all of our Maryland store partners on the issue. (We are pleased that all stores in Maryland will be informed/reminded of the law. We applaud this effort and publicly thanked Starbucks for it at the nurse-in. Still, we believe Starbucks should institute a national policy regardless of local law.)
While Starbucks does not have a formal policy regarding mothers breastfeeding babies within our stores, we welcome nursing mothers in our stores. Starbucks complies with all applicable state and local laws regarding breastfeeding. (Again, we are glad that nursing mothers are “welcome”. However, without a policy, if a customer complains about a woman nursing, it falls under the Starbucks “complaint policy”, which means an employee may still ask nursing mothers to cover up or go to the bathroom to nurse. This can send a message that breastfeeding is “shameful” and should be hidden, thus discourage breastfeeding.)
Again, thank you for contacting Starbucks Coffee Company.
For more information on breastfeeding go to:
www.lalecheleague.org or www.breastfeeding.com
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