The confusing reason why Walmart refused to print these photos of a woman and her baby

Lately, we’ve witnessed a lot of stories about breastfeeding —stories both on the positive and negative spectrum. While stores like Target have remodeled their breastfeeding policy in order to welcome mothers who breastfeed in the store, other environments are more hostile to the act. The most recent establishment that’s made a confusing decision concerning breastfeeding? Walmart.

Here’s what happened. The customer in question wasn’t breastfeeding in the store. Whitney Walters of Knoxville, Iowa had sent in a roll of pictures to be developed by Walmart’s photo lab. She was told there was a “problem with her order” and upon investigation, found that two pictures of her breastfeeding and one picture of her 6-year-old daughter Kairi (taken of her naked backside in a kiddie pool), had been deemed “inappropriate for printing,” because they violated store policy.

For the record, Walmart asks its customers not to upload content that is “…unlawful, harmful, threatening, harassing, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, invasive of another’s privacy, hateful or otherwise unsuitable as determined by” It’s kind of hard to imagine images of breastfeeding a child or a kindergarten-aged child in a kiddie pool violating any of these terms. But, in this case, Walmart exercised that last right and deemed these pictures “unsuitable” according to Walmart.

Walters wasn’t OK with Walmart’s decision not to print her pictures. “It’s a way of preserving memories for my children and part of the memories is their childhood and their babyhood, and then being breastfed is a part of who they are,” Walters explained to KCCI.

To make things even more confusing, there were other photos in the order that featured Walters breastfeeding that WERE printed, and the manager on hand could not explain to Walters why certain photos of her feeding her child were deemed acceptable while others apparently violated store policy. Hmmm.

Walters explained to KCCI how the photo lab’s decision and treatment made her feel as customer as well as a human mother. “It made me feel as though they were saying my pictures were sexual in nature and they’re not. They made me feel humiliated and violated because I chose to breastfeed my child,” Walters stated. “No woman should be told that nursing her child is sexual in a manner and that should be done privately or should not be taken photographs of.”

Many people of the Internet agreed, wondering why breastfeeding was considered to be rule-breaking.

We’re unsure why Walters’ photos were considered inappropriate —breastfeeding is a totally natural way to feed and bond with your baby. And wanting to document that bonding seems like a reasonable thing to do. Luckily, Walmart responded to Walters, stating that this decision was a mistake. According to KCCI, “Walmart said their company policy is not to print any photos that may be deemed sexual in nature. Again, later they said they recognized and apologized stating that was not the case here.” What a relief.


Target’s breastfeeding policy is awesome and we think other stores should take note

This woman has the best response for the stranger who Facebook-shamed her for breastfeeding

(Image via video, KCCI)

Filed Under