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Breastfeeding sit-in supports Montreal mother told to leave Eaton Centre

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Breastfeeding mothers gathered at Montreal's Eaton Centre Sunday to show their support for a woman told to leave the mall because she was feeding her infant son.

Dozens of parents showed up to take part in the sit-in.

"Just go about your day when you see a woman breastfeeding their child," said Valérie Laframboise, who organized the event. "They're not trying to seduce you, they're not trying to show their body. They're just trying to do one simple thing and it's feed their children."

Ivanhoé Cambridge, which owns the Eaton Centre, and property manager JLL noted they were both in support of the demonstration.

"Le Centre Eaton de Montréal encourages breastfeeding in all its common areas," said JLL Director Melyssa Houle when asked about the incident.

JLL notes the mall also offers private breastfeeding rooms "for those who prefer to breastfeed in a quieter place."

The demonstration comes after Isabelle Côté says a security guard told her last weekend she had to stop breastfeeding her four-month-old son Leopold or leave the premises.

"The security agent came to me and told me that I was not allowed to breastfeed at this specific place. I was not allowed to breastfeed in public," she told CTV News. "I asked her why and then she said, 'It's because it's a private act.' It's something that I should not be doing in public."

The former lawyer and current psychiatric resident at McGill University says she asked to speak to a supervisor, who reiterated the message: please stop, go to the breastfeeding room or leave.

"It's still complicated, right? Like when baby's hungry, he's hungry here and right now and then if you stop in the middle of his meal, he's going to be upset, he's going to cry and that's going to cause this whole crisis and I just didn't want that," Côté said, adding she was so intimidated by the security agents she gathered her things as quickly as she could and left.

A woman's right to breastfeed her child is protected by the Quebec and Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

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