BUSINESS

Walmart: Breasfeeding Photo Rejection Was A Mistake

05/14/2013 09:26 EDT | Updated 07/15/2013 05:12 EDT
Kayla Coughlan via Facebook

SPRUCE GROVE, Alta. — Walmart says it made a mistake when its photo lab staff at an Alberta store refused to print a photo of a mom nursing her son.

Kayla Andre's husband wanted to have a professional image of his wife breastfeeding their baby printed and framed as a Mother's Day present.

But Andre says her husband was denied the print because staff said it violated a policy against nudity.

Alex Roberton, a Walmart spokesman, said employees were wrong not to print the photo.

He says the company has sent all Canadian stores an addendum to their photo policy, clarifying what constitutes an inappropriate photo and what doesn't.

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Kirsten Goa with the Breastfeeding Action Committee of Edmonton, says breastfeeding is often misunderstood in society and mothers still face negativity over breastfeeding in public.

"I was both annoyed and not surprised because I've been dealing with incidents like this for more than a decade,'' Goa said.

"Censorship of breastfeeding both in terms of personal harassment, women covering up, women hiding in their houses, and their Facebook photos being deleted, all of that is happening all the time. That really intimidates a lot of people when they're nursing their babies.''

Andre said breastfeeding is a natural and normal part of being a mother.

"It's beautiful,'' Andre said.

She says staff at the Spruce Grove Walmart told her husband it was an inappropriate photo.

"He replied with, 'It's not nudity, it's my wife feeding our child.' And they said, 'well, if you look really closely, you can see a little bit of something there,''' she said.

"My photo has no sexual connotation at all and here it is getting denied.''

Walmart says employees at the Spruce Grove location have all been personally educated on which types of photos should and shouldn't be printed, Roberton said.

"On the extreme, it is photos of full nudity or pornographic images, these kinds of things that we wouldn't print.''

Roberton has also reached out to Andre.

He says the company's biggest customer base are mothers and expecting mothers and it's a priority for Walmart to ensure those customers feel comfortable breastfeeding in the store and having breastfeeding photos printed if they choose.

As for the photo, Andre's husband ended up having it printed at an independent lab and she received the print for Mother's Day.