When Breastfeeding is not “Tolerated”

It pains me to have to write this in 2012 but apparently breastfeeding a new born baby is not “tolerated” in British Home Stores in Exeter.

Despite the fact that breastfeeding in public has been protected by law for over a year, instances such as these are still happening.

I have just returned from Baby Café where the Heath Workers relayed the sorry tale of the new mother who met a friend in town and went to the Café at British Home Stores.  When the mother began to feed her baby, she was approached by a member of the café staff who told her to leave as breastfeeding is “not tolerated” in BHS.

From all accounts, the mother was understandably upset, all the more so as this was her first experience of nursing a baby in public.

I freely admit that I have not spoken to the mother in question but I do trust the source of this tale, all the more so as the Health Worker in question has taken the time to write to both the local manager and Head Office, detailing the law and requesting better staff training.

I was very saddened to hear this story as only a few minutes earlier another mother and I had been congratulating ourselves on choosing to live in city that is so fantastic for families and how neither of us had ever received a negative comment when nursing in public.

Now, I am not interested in sparking a debate over who is given the harder time, formula or breast feeding parents and I am not going to rush off and organise a nurse in at BHS but I would call on the senior staff at BHS (both head office and in the Exeter branch) to ensure that they retrain all of their staff and bring them up to date on current laws.

 Alternatively, if BHS can categorically state this story is not true, I will be very happy indeed and will ensure that their pro-breastfeeding stance is publicised far and wide.

Feeding your baby when you are out and about is a normal part of raising a baby and parents should be treated exactly the same, no matter how they choose to feed their baby.

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