LONE TREE, Colo. -- Colorado has some of the most protective laws when it comes to a nursing mother breastfeeding.
But a popular women's clothing store denied a Brighton mother's request to nourish her child Monday.
The 25-year-old was shopping with her mom at the Express women's clothing store at Park Meadows Mall when her nursing son got hungry.
Her request for a fitting room ended with her leaving the store embarrassed.
"There's a stigma with breastfeeding. ‘You shouldn't be doing that in public. You should be covered,’" said Rissa, who didn’t want to use her last name.
But she knows it is her right to breastfeed her 14-month-old in any place she has a right to be. So she didn't expect any trouble while shopping with her mom at Express.
"He started to get hungry and fussing, and he knows sign language. So he signed ‘milk.’ He was getting frustrated and wanting it," Rissa said.
So she turned to nearly empty fitting rooms, but an employee said no.
"They are not for breastfeeding mothers. I asked her why. She said it's company policy," Rissa said.
A manager from the store later confirmed the policy.
The employee then directed the 25-year-old to a bathroom in the mall. Rissa told her that was illegal.
"You don't want to sit in a bathroom and smell the smells of bathroom while you feed your child," Rissa said.
The store had hit a sour note with her. She left humiliated and vowed to speak out about it.
"If you call them out on it that, this is not OK. I'm not OK with you treating me or my baby like that, and try to normalize breastfeeding, the more people will accept it," she said.
And now, she's just hoping the two employees are misinformed.
"They are a huge company. They should be able to get that information out to their employees. And they should have the resources to do that." Rissa said.
"We take this issue very seriously," Express said in a statement. "We are actively reaching out to [the customer], and we are taking actions to ensure all associates understand our policy that welcomes mothers to breastfeed in our stores.”
Colorado law allows breastfeeding in any place a mother is legally allowed to be.
State law also protects breastfeeding in the workplace. And the law allows nursing mothers to postpone jury service.AlertMe