There are a lot of reasons a trip to Ikea can be stressful—the cart-pushing crowds, the maze-like floor plans, the endless displays of desk lamps, kitchen setups and more. Add babies and toddlers to the mix and it might be your worst nightmare.
So when Florida mom Amanda McLaughlin needed to take a break to feed her five-month-old daughter, she found the nearest spot and hunkered down. At the same time, an announcement came over the store’s P.A. system: “Did you know Ikea has a baby care room located in the lobby on the first floor?” the recording began. “There is a changing table with a comfortable sitting area, a perfect place for that feeding.”
While some moms might have been relieved to hear of Ikea’s offering, McLaughlin couldn’t help but feel like the message was aimed directly at her. Although the store said that the recording was on a loop and played at random, McLaughlin found the timing a little convenient.
“I had just started to nurse [my daughter] and the music stopped and [the announcement] came on and it said nothing else but that nursing mothers have the bathroom available to them to go nurse privately,” she wrote on her Facebook page. “If you ask me, it sounded like just another way to tell me to go nurse privately without someone coming up to me to say it personally.”
In response to the incident, McLaughlin decided to hold what she referred to a Breastfeeding Awareness Nurse-In at the Ikea in Sunrise, Fla. The store welcomed the roughly 50 moms who showed up, reported CBS Miami, offering them breakfast and starting a dialogue with the women.
In addition to taking offense to the wording of the P.A. announcement—which McLaughlin and the others felt might discourage moms from breastfeeding in public (as is their right by law)—the women also pointed out that Ikea’s “baby care room” was little more than a chair in a restroom, right alongside a changing table and beneath a biohazard box.
“People don’t eat in bathrooms, neither should babies,” McLaughlin later shared on her Facebook page. Ultimately, McLaughlin says that moms should nurse their babies wherever they’re most comfortable, whether in public or private. “But don’t send her to a bathroom if you’re making an announcement that you have a feeding room,” she says.