Regarding Sleepers in Seattle…

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    I worked part time for Sleepers In Seattle for over 3 years. Never in that time did I, or anyone else who worked there, refuse a Mother to breast feed a baby. What we always did, and still do, was direct them to a quiet place in the back where neither they nor a potential customer would interact. Usually a recliner or a chair in a quiet area was/is provided. All they had or have to do “was talk to one of us first”. Yes we do have a “No eating or drinking” policy, but that does not mean we do not try to accommodate all who come into the store. The policy of Customer Service at Sleepers, is one of the reasons I went to work there in the first place. I applaud women who breast feed their children, either in private or public. What a wonderful start in life for parent/child bonding. I may be over 70 years old, but mutual respect for others still applies as far as I am concerned.




    a quiet corner with a recliner makes a lot of sense.. and i bet there are a lot of nursing mothers reading this who are very grateful to know that corner exists…

    i think in this issue as in so many others some people cross the line between rights and privileges..

    a quiet corner to nurse at Sleepers is a privilege.. not a right.

    When we demand in lieu of requesting.. we generate our own negative outcomes.

    Sometimes we are our own worst enemies. Common courtesy really does work to our advantage most of the time.



    My question is then Patnsky, why did NONE of the employees who were working there that day suggest those nice nursing accommodations to me. I hadn’t removed or shifted any article of clothing. Like I had stated in my first post, I hadn’t even placed my one year old on my lap. I merely sat down with a cloth in hand (SEE, I did have a cloth with me) and was approached immediately. I wouldn’t have minded moving. Even to the floor (as I had pointed out). Maybe his intentions were to keep the furniture clean and I understand that, but HIS EXPRESSIONS both verbally and physically were displaying utter disgust and disagreement with my breastfeeding in the store as a whole. Impressions are everything, especially in CUSTOMER SERVICE.

    I WAS thinking about telling him I “just needed any space” to nurse in after that, but he made me feel so alienated that I figured it was the wrong environment to do any business in FOR ME after that. Not saying that SIS doesn’t usually have good customer service or not. I haven’t said anything about their inventory, standards, etc. I just commented on my experience that day, with that employee.

    SO, if their employees are trained so well in customer service and SIS has let mothers nurse there, then why was this employee so harsh and rejecting to me and my baby? I am glad that at least the owner has acknowledged this problem via this blog and maybe she will be making this employee aware of SIS open door to breastfeeding moms. That is great of them!

    As far as HB 1596 is concerned:

    If you scroll down further on the bill you will see that it talks about discrimination includes not allowing the “patronage”, “presence”, etc.

    Fr. The Bill:

    “or the refusing or withholding from any person the admission,

    patronage, custom, presence, frequenting, dwelling, staying, or lodging”

    Also, the bill applies to “places of commerce.” THAT is not hard to defined. A LLL leader in this area attended the petitioning and signing of this bill and explained it at one of the meetings. I was not aware exactly when it went into affect, so thank you Jimmy G.

    Yesterday I contacted a local LLL leader to see if there was any grey areas around “places of commerce,” etc. Seems to come up that stores, restaurants, resorts, golf courses,etc. apply to this bill. She suggested that I offer SIS the international Breastfeeding sign to display on the side of their door that shows they are open to breastfeeding in their store. It is small and is internationally recognized. So if they are interested a LLL might contact them. This being said because they do have an open door policy on nursing I guess.

    BTW: I LOVE Georgia Blu and had forgotten about them originally that day, but that is where we ended up. You never need to buy anything there to nurse there, even though almost every time we end up walking out with a stuffed animal or something. Can’t say I could have walked out with a couch from SIS as easily.

    A quick note to Blubird and Jo B. My daughter is one years of age and LOVES parades, music, gatherings, etc.. There is NO WAY I am going to keep her from events like this or others like the ZOO, Aquarium, Parks, etc. because there are some busy areas or loud noises involved where it would be difficult to nurse. There are usually always quiet places somewhere to nurse and tend to here, even in the ruckus. It just took me longer to find one the day of the parade. And SPACING things out between feedings would be VERY HARD, since she eats at least every 2 hours when awake. Even more often when an infant (told you she was a snacker). So easily said for some, but not for most, as i’m sure you’ve seen other moms nursing out about town.

    i hope to be done with my replies, but appreciate all the thoughtful and not-thoughtful responses. there’s a lot to be learned here.



    Breastfeeding is a right. Sitting on the merchandise at Sleepers in Seattle is a privilege. When you want to breastfeed in a place where you don’t have a right to be, ask first. If a merchant doesn’t like the way you’re treating the merchandise, they have every right to ask you to leave, breastfeeding or not. The employee at Sleepers could have been more polite, but you were totally in the wrong.



    KBear, did you miss the part where I said I wasn’t breastfeeding at all yet. Not even shifting any clothing. I was doing NOTHING in the wrong. When he asked me what I was doing and I told him I “was going to bf” THEN he should have directed me to the proper spot in their store, not asked me to leave before I had done ANYTHING in the wrong. I had merely sat down a second. Maybe you missed that in all the writings.



    Ok everyone, why not admit this employee was rude and acting out of personal discomfort and not store policy. Particularly if I hadn’t even been breastfeeding or shifted any clothing at the time. I had a cloth with me and hadn’t sat my child down yet. If he had a hunch that bf was what I was GOING to do and when asked I told him that was the plan, THEN he should have followed the stores BF openness (if that is the case there) and pointed me to their chair they supposedly provide. THE END! I should have asked before sitting down, but didn’t. I normally would make it known I need a spot in somewhere other than a cafe, restaurant, etc., but the WHOLE store was empty and I assumed that placing myself in the back away from windows and other customers would be their preference. I had a cloth to protect from any drips, but had we not even begun, I see NO RIGHT in him or you asking me to dismiss myself from a store I had done NOTHING wrong in. Grow up people. Do you all have to be so caddy about a simple situation of bad customer service because of your discomfort of bf in public or not!?




    where is your responsibility in all of this?

    what i think we all missed was the part where you walked into the store, walked up to an employee of any kind and explained what you wanted to do and asked if there was an appropriate place to do it.

    You expected a business and their employees to take responsibility for making this all work for you … when and where you chose …when in fact it is your responsibility to make your child’s feeding work for your child and for you.

    It is a good thing that businesses are now required by law to allow you to breastfeed responsibly…

    but nothing will get that law repealed faster than abuse.

    The differences of opinion here have little to do with breastfeeding.

    I am not uncomfortable with breastfeeding in public.. with or without exposed breasts. I am uncomfortable with the lack of courtesy you displayed in the store and in this post and your willingness to badmouth a business that didn’t make your own lack of courtesy ok for you.



    Bad customer service? Junebug, you weren’t a customer.




    JoB did an excellent job of summarizing the feelings of the majority of folks who have commented on this thread.

    You have heard from the owner, and even one of the owner’s employees (patnsky), who even took the time to sign up for the blog just to be able to express her thoughts.

    Most everyone here, both male and female seem to have no issues with BF in public. The “issue” seems to be with YOU and how badly you feel you were treated by a store employee, who you could not even bother to consult with first.

    Hard a pill as it might be to swallow, I would seriously consider arranging a time when you can come by SIS and personally apologize to the owner for your actions.



    Take BF out of the mix for a moment…..

    Going into their store and just sitting down isnt right. Its not like a park bench – it’s their STORE…..I cant even imagine just going in and plopping myself down – unless perhaps I was about to faint and I’d probably still ASK.

    Why dont I just go in with my cellphone and laptop, pull up a couch and just start working all day???

    You assumed and owe them an apology. If you had simply asked BEFORE you assumed if it was okay to sit, and then BF, none of this likely would’ve happened.




    I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by all the snarky remarks in this thread — it’s breastfeeding, after all, right up there with domestic politics in terms of topics guaran-damn-teed to polarize people. But, honestly people: “Lay off the Mothering Magazine”? Can we try to have a little respect here?

    Finally, as a mom who has 8+ years of nursing under my belt (all kids combined), I have to say that it would be SO much easier for nursing moms AND businesses if nursing-friendly places would just display the internationally-known “Breastfeeding Welcome Here” symbol.

    It would definitely cut down on confusion for parents (“Can I nurse here, or not?”), and wouldn’t require that the onus of scouting out a place to feed be solely on the nursing mom. After all, we ALL benefit as a society if kids are breastfed!*

    (*Please let’s NOT get into a debate about the benefits of breastfeeding vs. using artificial milk — there’s NO confusion about the public health benefits of it.)

    Meryl, perhaps you would consider displaying this logo in a prominent place near your front door?



    If you know you are going some place with a fussy about BF in noisy-public child [a one year old is not an infant anymore] why not pump and use a bottle? They can move their heads all over the place eating from a bottle and eat at will.

    I was wondering if ,since you had a cloth in your hand when you sat down perhaps the salesman though you were planning to change a diaper and not BF.That would have been my first thought.Some people do think they can do that anywhere at all too.I’ve seen it.



    oddreality: Good suggestion, but not everyone uses a pump, and not all babies take bottles! My youngest never had a bottle, and I was thrilled not to have to pump with her.




    i haven’t nursed for a very long time.. when i did it was definately considered rude crude and socially unacceptable to do so in public… yet i managed.

    Now I have health issues that have to be taken into account if I am to do the things i want to do.

    It’s still my responsibility to make sure that if I go to an event, i know exactly where i can find a restroom, food and a place to lay down if i need them… and to not venture too far from those resources.

    I am lucky.. most of the time I only need to take care of myself.

    I can’t imagine venturing out into public with a child i was responsible for nursing without having a plan that accommodated my child’s needs… whatever those needs were.


    Red Beard

    Bah. Not even worth it.



    Glad to hear your side of the story Red Beard. Thanks for sharing.



    I was just flagged to the latest turn of events here by someone warning it has the stirrings of turning into a flame war. Said e-mail correspondent also noted it’s been an interesting discussion, and I agree, having been a nursing mom dealing with all these issues for a few years last decade. Since Meryl from Sleepers came in to join the discussion, I chose not to delete the thread then. But I’d like to ask that anyone who feels any need to add anything more now be civil about it because if not, I may have to kill the whole thing, which would be unfortunate.



    Wow, that is where I thought this was going. Of course you would make things seem different now that there is a big blog about your actions on saturday. I never knew this would get blown up so big, but it is hard to stop clarifying things because I am not one to like things to sit construed.

    I had explained the story quite clearly from the get-go and unfortunately that was erased or you could see that I quoted our conversation. I find it so funny that you say I was rude to you, for the only thing I did that was out of standard was to sit down without asking you first. Next time I definitely will and usually do.

    Like I said, I’ve rarely done that, but needed to feed her fast and without attention and you were standing with a group of employees when I walked in. I knew it would be fast, so I found a spot away from any eyes, far away from the windows, door, and front. This was in the back; i remember the couch.

    I NEVER had a bikini top on, nor did I start taking it down. Good way to make me sound trashy though. I had two shirts on actually and nothing was EVER exposed in your presence or anyone else’s. I like to wear a tank top under a shirt when nursing in public so I can cover my mid-line with the top shirt is lifted up. BUT, I hadn’t started nursing and my daughter was standing beside me until you walked up.

    You asked me what I was doing and kind of hostile-like to be honest. At the time I smiled at you in a friendly manner (if you’ll be honest about this) and said, “oh, we were going to nurse…is that ok?” You started rubbing your beard and snickering. “Ahaha, you said and started walking in circles continuing to rub your beard and laughing in a weird way like you were blown away.

    “That’s kind of awkward, don’t you think” you said.

    And at first, I really thought you meant FOR ME; for me to do it in public. I responded by saying, “oh, its no problem I have to do it in public all the time. I’ve done it in restaurants and stores before, don’t worry. Ironically I’ve actually done it in furniture stores before.” I told you how we were going to at the cafe next door, but they were filled and the streets were too distracting for my daughter. You replied, “We are SELLING this furniture.”

    I looked at you a bit stunned, bc. I didn’t know if you were implying that I shouldn’t BF on it because my milk was going to spill everywhere or because you didn’t want me sitting on it. YOu kept snickering (laughing under your hand) and rubbing your beard, still walking around and around.

    That is when I said, “No problem, we’ll find somewhere else.” I got my bag together (put cloth back in) while you walked away. When I headed out to leave passing your counter (from the back) you were standing by another male employee whispering and looking at me.

    I simple said to you, “Baby’s gotta eat somewhere, ” and walked on. I wasn’t rude nor ill-tempered. Your actions didn’t make me mad, just frustrated and a bit confused. I felt like you treated me really poorly and explained yourself very little.

    Why couldn’t you have told me you had a better spot for us to nurse. You never walked away until I said I was going to find another spot ( I like how now you are making it sound like you walked away bc. I was being rude, Nice card). Why didn’t you offer another spot in your store, like Meryl says you have?

    I never was rude to you or raised my voice, NOR said anything rude back to you at the time. I just replied to your statement about nursing being “awkward.” Had I understood that you meant for YOU or THE STORE, I would have asked you what you wanted me to do. I would have told you we would appreciate a spot on the floor in the back or ANYWHERE for that matter. It takes so little time and I had no intention for anyone to feel awkward.

    Turns out, you made me feel really alienated by asking me to leave. I didn’t know what I had done wrong and was VERY calm the whole time. Im not saying that to prove something to WS bloggers, but saying that honestly to YOU. I was VERY calm, patient, and polite. I couldn’t believe how strong you came across, especially because I had remained so calm and cheery (until I said “we will find another place then.”

    Frankly, you have to know you didn’t handle this situation well…even if I didn’t approach the counter on coming in. Sorry I didn’t just write a letter to your business. I had NO intention for this getting so out-of-hand. I merely wanted to vent to other moms and people about the discomforts of BF in public sometimes with businesses who make you feel unwelcome. To me that is discriminating.

    Glad to see you have so many friends that can log in and stick up for you, but it WAS just you and I that day,…so “your story” vs. “my story” is an unending game. I don’t wish to play this anymore. At least I can tell you how awful you reacted and how unprofessional I thought it was. I don’t really care how you personally feel about BF. I just think the impression you were giving me was not very welcoming or acceptable.

    Sorry you feel the need to bad mouth me on here because your store and position got criticized. You store was not directly, but your customer service was definitely. I would have never written a post had I known how negative and blown out of proportion people would be to the whole moral / point. As a BF mom I was not only pointing out how uncomfortable YOU made me feel, but how sad it is that we still have to deal with that in this society.

    I have merely strayed from the original post in following the replies of others. Have you not noticed how ALL OVER THE BOARD this forum has gotten!? We have BF mothers saying they “don’t like to see other moms bfing in public.” We have people saying that bf in public is not a right. We have library science majors looking into the confines of the law regarding BF in public. We have people discussing the need for Hooter Hiders or not. People who think BF offends the Food and Beverage Policy or not, etc.

    This forum has been ALL OVER the place. Frankly I am done with it, but don’t want to seem like I am leaving because I have been bullied out. It just isn’t what I am looking for anymore. I was looking to shed some light on the difficulties of BF in public at times and the lack of compassion by outsiders at times.

    It has left me totally depressed about the mindset of people representing WS via this blog (thank goodness this is just a small percentage of the people).

    Someone pointed out to me that I wrote a forum article (my first one here) under a section called “Rant or Rave.” She pointed out that most of you on here probably are attracted to this kind of debate bc. it allows you to vent your negative energies or why else would you be looking for things to rant about, etc. Never having written a rant before for any store, I guess I’ve learned my lesson to not write it here. People on here pick apart everything and it seems little good has come out of this. So much of this is not even discussing the original topic and I imagine that happens all the time on here now. That is probably why I strayed from my original post.

    OBVIOUSLY I have I have strayed from my orig post. There are 65 post in reply to it and they aren’t all staying on subject! My story is still the same, but my posts have definitely commented on a whole diversity of subjects regarding BF and public domain.

    I have run out of energy. This is a really negative forum in my opinion and I have already wasted a lot of time here. I have heard so many people say they dislike or don’t feel comfortable with Bf that it makes me feel sick to my stomach. Also, I feel like I have been to court and back, and all I did was to relayed an experience I had. I used as close to the exact words in the conversation I had on saturday so people could decide to feel whatever way they wanted to feel about it. It is not like I made up things.

    Those of you who feel like I shouldn’t have felt the way I did should have been fine with a difference of opinion. For those of you who think I shouldn’t have felt alienated or discriminated against, fine. That is your thought. But don’t attack me from every angle just because you are mad I vented my feelings of discomfort on here. I did not ask any of you to ban the store or treat this guy bad. I just had a really bad experience as a patron of a store (and yes, my family HAS bought something there before).

    You weren’t there, so know these comments are in regards to the way the salesman made me feel and by no way an advertisement for you to ban the store. I might have wanted to point out that discrimination towards BF in public is still prevalent, and it sucks. If that is not what this employee meant to display, then maybe he should have been more clear. He came across very discriminating to me, and that is that. We all have our opinions and that is simply mine. Now that we all know that a majority of you don’t agree with mine, CAN WE PLEASE DROP IT!? I don’t want to feel like I need to keep clarifying my actions or BFing rights.






    Just got your post Lowmanbeach. It has been a flamewar and I feel like the majority of flames are heading my way. As a mom and WSeattlite I have started thinking I might need to get off of here before I start receiving real hate-mail. I don’t want to have to start watching my back walking down California Ave, but I feel like there is some hate coming my way now.

    I’ve never spent so much time on my computer outside of work, but find a need to defend things and not leave pieces misconstrued here. I would like to have peace with this all and thought we would after Meryl got on.

    I don’t want to play “His story” vs “My store.” I just want to move on now. I would be happy continuing a forum about BF in public,etc…but feel like this one is getting hateful. I am not use to so much negativity and don’t really want to partake in this much negativity anymore. It is not good for anyone.

    I don’t really care if EVERYONE feels like I was wrong that day. ( I admitted immediately after pointed out, that i SHOULD HAVE asked the management out of courtesy first.) It is always so hard to judge a situation you are not a part of. I understand that. But I fear that this is giving BFing, LLL, and BF law a bad rap almost.

    I never planned on anything like this. I just needed to vent my awful experience originally, but now feel like I’m past venting and just in explaination-mode all the time. I want to stop explaining. I know how all of you feel now. It is not worth it to dissect this anymore.

    Please let me know what you think so we can move on from here. I don’t have time to keep up with this forum anymore, but don’t want to leave things hanging.

    It has been great to see the diversity of opinions revolving around BF in general…but maybe a bit depressing too. I am such a strong believer in BF rights, that I have felt obligated to stay on here. Maybe we could change this post to be less about SIS and me now that all these rants have been laid out and move towards a BF in public. Seems like an easier way for people to lay out their feelings.



    I don’t believe anyone is mad at you, and you have to realize that this is a public forum, and when you post something, some people will disagree with you.There is nothing in the world that says that you can only be the right person, and that everyone has to agree with you. No one is against breast feeding. Meryl, the owner, even posted, saying they do try to be BF friendly. The conversation that you just gave, that you say you had with the gentleman in question is not what you said on your original post.And do please remember, not all men are enlightened about BF. I mean, look at the comment that breasts are for pleasure. I have no idea if that person is male or female, but, they are partially right.Of course, they are. But it’s not their only function. Our society has put a stigma on female breasts; heaven forbid we show them in public. It reduces us to sexual objects, and I have a lot of problems with that. I also only have one real breast (yeah, I know, TMI – too bad – lol). So, I only get half the pleasure? Makes me feel a bit crappy, as I’m more than my breasts, frankly.

    Now, lowmanbeach is the OWNER of this blog…they are her rules, and they are easy to see.Were you right? were you wrong? at this point, does it matter? It became a good discussion, and I’m sorry you’re taking it so personally. In most situations, if we look back in retrospect, there is probably something all of us could do sometimes to make outcomes better. It didn’t work for you this time. It doesn’t make you a crummy person, and definitely not a crummy mom. It just didn’t work out. Remember, what happened shouldn’t be taken personally, as it was more about the other person than you. And, now, maybe he will get a little remedial training in how to be nicer, more gracious, when dealing with something like this. And you’ve learned something too..never assume anything. Ask questions first, so wrong assumptions never happen :). Now, we all need to stay cool…it’s gonna get hotter :)



    I don’t get you…you keep telling everyone else to drop it and move on from this…and yet you keep coming back to this particular thread. Not only to read what others have said, but to also post your looooooooooooooooong comments knowing that others are going to respond (troll alert). Are you under the assumption that by simply telling people on the internet of all places to stop talking about something that they will? And one of these times you’re going to once again take the time to come back to this specific thread and see that you got the last word and nobody posted any more replies? Choose your battles wisely.

    P.S. I look forward to your reply one of the many times you’re sure to come back to tell US to drop it.



    If you ask me this whole thread is tiresome – I agree with Lowery, Junebug DROP IT ALREADY what’s done is done and I for one would not want to see you BF’ing in the middle of a furniture store. While I support your right to BF, your “holier than thou” manner is annoying, do it in an unobtrusive manner so that everyone’s sensibilities are respected. Enough said folks!



    Guess I just wanted to see it get left off on a good foot. thanks JanS. I’ve realized a lot through this and you are right, maybe he did too. Goodnight to all!

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