They took over the mall's food court in protest after Luci White was told to nurse in a private area

By Julie Mazziotta
Updated December 01, 2020 09:29 PM

Dozens of moms organized a breastfeeding protest at an Australian mall after nursing mom Luci White was asked to leave the food court.

White says she was finishing up her lunch at Bendigo Marketplace, about 90 minutes outside Melbourne, when her 7-month-old son, Zaydd, started crying for milk. White started nursing him, but other patrons, an older man and a mom of two, started to complain.

“The older gentleman said: ‘You can’t do it in public, it’s inappropriate’ ” White tells the Bendigo Advertiser. “And the mum in her 30s said: ‘That is so rude with children around.’ ”

“I couldn’t believe it. Why would your child find it so weird to see a baby breastfeeding?

Soon a staff member approached White, and asked her to move to the mall’s “specialised feeding facility,” though breastfeeding in public is legal in Australia.

“I was really upset, mostly because once he was removed from my breast he became hysteric, and he was like that for 45 minutes, and it was really distressing for me,” White tells 7 News in Melbourne.

Her story went viral in the area when a friend posted about it in the Bendigo Moms Facebook group, calling for a protest.

From there, two more moms, Michelle Van Zyl and Samantha Purden came up with Boobs for Babies “in support of moms having the freedom to feed their babies (be it breast or bottle) whenever and wherever they need to and not be shamed or humiliated for doing so!!!”

“We’re not scared to feed in public, and we won’t be told to move along,” Van Zyl tells 7 News.

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Bendigo Marketplace has since apologized for the incident, saying in a statement Wednesday that they were “taking necessary steps to ensure all our staff and contractors are aware that we support a mother’s right to breastfeed her children at our centre whether in the parents’ room or in a location of their choice.”

“We regret that a member of our community experienced any discomfort or embarrassment while shopping with us and we apologise to the mother concerned.”

But dozens of moms came out for the Boobs for Babies protest Friday, filling up the Bendigo food court in support for White and all moms.

“I just really wanted to help support women who need to feed their babies in public,” one mom told 7 News.

“It is obviously disappointing that some women continue to face unnecessary negative comments when they are doing something that is the most natural thing of all,” added Jacinta Allan.