Mum gets apology after being told she can't breastfeed in Porirua mall foodcourt

Mum gets apology after being told she can't breastfeed in Porirua mall foodcourt
Photo credit: Getty/ file

A Porirua shopping mall manager said she is "incredibly sorry" after a mother was told she couldn't breastfeed in its food court on Friday evening.

"We are really disappointed that this has happened, as it simply never should have," North City mall manager Holly Lynn said.

Deanna Quinn was with her sisters Dominique and Danielle in the North City food court, and was feeding her four-month old baby when the cleaning staff asked the group to leave as the food court had closed.

Danielle told the cleaners they would leave once her sister finished feeding her baby, at which point the first-time mum was told: "You can't feed your baby here, that's what the back room and the toilet is for."

The sisters then told the cleaner "where to go" and that it's "a mother's right to feed her baby when and where she wants to", according to Danielle's viral Facebook post about the incident.  

An argument then broke out with "heated words exchanged", and Danielle said the cleaner threatened to "slap my sister's mouth".

A few minutes later, a security guard approached and escorted the group off the grounds.

Danielle says the group were getting in their car when they were approached by cleaning staff again and told by one of them "she would fight my sister".

The cleaning contractor who employs the cleaner in question is investigating the incident, and further details were unable to be provided by the mall on Thursday.

Ms Lynn said: "We are really disappointed that this has happened, as it simply never should have and are incredibly sorry that this mother experienced this and the upset it has caused her and her family."

She met with the cleaning contractors and the family on Wednesday to discuss the incident and had "a really positive outcome".

"Breastfeeding is, and has always been welcomed and supported anywhere, anytime at North City and staff and contractors have always been aware of this. This has been reiterated again to them," Ms Lynn said.

"We design our seating areas throughout the centre to include chairs with backs for feeding comfort and also have a KiwiBubs club where we encourage our community to get together with their young babies in the centre...signs have also been put up to clarify what has always been our position of supporting breastfeeding anywhere, anytime in the centre."

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