Justice

Mom Had to Close Her Store for an Absurd Reason

November 8th 2016

By:
Laura Donovan

An Instagram photo of a woman breastfeeding under stressful circumstances at the office has spurred a conversation about better accommodating working moms.

New York resident Nicholas Rovazzini recently gained attention for posting a photo of his fiancée Katlyn Lenperle breastfeeding at Stewart's Shops, her place of employment, local station News10 ABC reported. Next to the image of his wife was a sign she put on the shop's doors telling customers she need a 15-minute break to breastfeed her child. Rovazzini wrote that his fiancée was forced to close down the store because no one was scheduled to work alongside her that morning, even though she previously told her manager that she needs someone to cover for her while she feeds her child.

"She's told him time and time again that she needs a second person on by at least 8 am so she can either pump or feed our son," Rovazzini wrote. "Not to mention even if she was to pump, there's no place for her to do so privately in the store nor is there a place for her to store her milk. This leaves her with the choice of breastfeeding in her car or the lobby. This is way out of hand and I'm sick of seeing my fiancée go through hell."

His photo received nearly 1,000 shares after he posted it on Facebook, where one commenter noted that poor breastfeeding habits can lead to mastitis, an often painful infection.

Facebook

Clogged milk ducts can lead to mastitis, according to the Mayo Clinic:

"If a breast doesn't completely empty at feedings, one of your milk ducts can become clogged, causing milk to back up, which leads to breast infection."

Company spokesperson Maria D'Amelia provided ATTN: with a statement expressing regret over the situation:

"At Stewart’s Shops we are greatly aware of the needs of new mothers. Providing proper arrangement for nursing mothers is something we have dealt with frequently and effectively. We currently employee over 3,500 women throughout our shops, and provide a maternity leave program for those enrolled in our Employee Stock Ownership Plan, as well as discounted daycare programs. Our Personnel Department and District Manager acted swiftly to address this situation as soon as it was brought to our attention. In this case, the partner was filling a shift she was not regularly scheduled to work, and a breakdown in communication led to her working alone for longer than intended. This is an unfortunate situation that we do regret. We have since met with the partner involved; the conversation remained positive and we feel this will be resolved. It appears to be an isolated incident."

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, companies with more than 50 employees are required by law to provide a “reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express the milk.” Employers are also supposed to provide “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.”

ATTN: has reached out to Rovazzini for comment and will update this piece if we hear back.