NewsCovering Kern County


Bakersfield mother allegedly shamed for breastfeeding inside Polo Ralph Lauren at Tejon outlets

Posted at 7:20 PM, Dec 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-09 22:20:31-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — There are many "first experiences" for women just embarking on the journey of motherhood -- the majority of them are filled with overwhelming joy, except for one particular instance.

For 19-year-old Kathryn Maroney, a new mother living in Bakersfield, breastfeeding has never been an issue, until Saturday.

Maroney alleges that she was shamed and yelled at while breastfeeding her seven-month-old son while shopping inside the Polo Ralph Lauren store at the Outlets at Tejon.

"She started to yell at me, telling me that I couldn't breast feed in there, that there were customers around and that it wasn’t right what I was doing," Maroney said.

According to the California legislature website, "a mother may breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, except the private home or residence of another, where the mother and the child are otherwise authorized to be present."

The Ralph Lauren Corporation provided a statement Monday, stating that they will retrain employees and investigate the matter.

we will be re-training staff because we understand the importance of providing an atmosphere where women feel comfortable nursing their children, whenever and where every they need to. We are also conducting an inquiry into this specific incident. Ralph Lauren does not tolerate discrimination of any kind, including against nursing mothers.
Ralph Lauren Corporation spokeswoman

The Outlets at Tejon also issued a statement, in part, apologizing to Maroney.

We're sorry that one of our guests had an unsettling experience recently. The Outlets at Tejon is a family-friendly center and cares about our guest's experience while on our property. The Outlets at Tejon understands that California law allows women to breastfeed their children in public places and we are completely supportive of that. We, however, have no control over what happens inside our tenant's spaces or over their employees.
Outlets at Tejon spokeswoman

Maroney told 23ABC News that a "nurse-in" is planned for Saturday inside the Polo Ralph Lauren store.

According to Maroney, dozens of mothers have planned to join her for the protest, where they are expected to breastfeed their children inside the store.