A Target breastfeeding baby and its mother felt the wrath of a man who spotted them in the store's cafe area, and others had to come to their rescue when he started "going crazy."
Jessie Maher, who resides in Canton, Connecticut, posted a video of the encounter on Monday, saying she was breastfeeding her child in the Target store in Torrington when he confronted her, said USA Today
"Because I'm feeding my baby, this man is going crazy," Maher told WTIC-TV
. "He was coming back, that's when he started screaming at me."
Maher said she was "horrified" by the man's reaction to her.
In her initial Facebook post and video
, which have since gone viral, Maher said the man called her breastfeeding "disgusting" and "nasty," while calling her a "whore." A female shopper walked up to defend Maher and later Target employees talked to man and led him out of the café.
The video has been viewed on Facebook more than 6.8 million times and shared more than 78,000 times.
Heather Santoro, a mother of a newborn who said she breastfed at Target before, told WTIC-TV that she reached a point where she carried a copy of the Connecticut state law with her that allows breastfeeding in the public and workplace.
"It's every breastfeeding mother's worst nightmare," Santoro told WTIC-TV about watching Maher's video. "You just don't want to have that conversation. Sir, get out of the pre-historic era. I've breastfed in there before so many times in the exact spot Jessie did."
In a second Facebook post on Tuesday, Maher said she was humbled by the stories she has heard from other women about their challenges to breastfeed their children.
"I have received several hundred (Facebook) messages in support of me and my right to breastfeed," Maher wrote on Facebook. "Mamas have opened up and told me their stories, they've said they stand by me, they understand what I went through because they too have been in public with a screaming baby...some run home and deal with the screaming baby, some hide in a bathroom, some sit down and cover up with a blanket, some sit in a hot car. This is all in fear of the reactions we get, whether it is a dirty look or the extreme situation that I endured yesterday."
The New York Daily News
said Target has a policy supporting breastfeeding in any area of the store, according to the store's handbook.
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