03/31/2015 09:06 EDT | Updated 05/31/2015 05:59 EDT

Yellowknife woman breastfeeding at The Bay told to 'go to Sears'

One of Canada's largest retail chains has apologized to a woman from Yellowknife who was told to go to a competitor's store if she wanted to breastfeed her baby daughter.

Tina Bohnet says she was shopping at The Bay store in the West Edmonton Mall when she asked a sales clerk whether she could breastfeed her four-month-old daughter, Harlow, in an empty change room.

"We were told no, that's not what the fitting rooms are for," says Bohnet, "and we could go to Sears.

"I was really shocked, just kind of gobsmacked actually. I never expected her to say no or send me to another store."

Bohnet says she left the store and fed Harlow on a bench in the middle of the mall. Her husband took a photo, which was shared several times on Facebook and Twitter.

"We've seen all kinds of stories in the news, breastfeeding moms being shamed or asked to leave places," Bohnet told CBC News. "I never expected it to happen to us, [in] this day in age, in a store like Hudson's Bay.

"I wasn't expecting it. Breast feeding isn't radical or sexual, it's the most natural way you can feed your baby."

The Bay heard about Bohnet's story through social media and apologized. In a statement it told the CBC the "isolated comment does not at all reflect the position of The Bay. Many of our customers are mothers who shop with their children, and we value their patronage."