Shamed for breastfeeding in public
Our blogger Fran got more than she bargained for when she discreetly fed her three-week old baby in a local cafe. She shares her story ...
On my first attempt at breastfeeding in public, I was asked to cover up by the owner of the cafe!
I’d arranged to meet a friend for coffee in a local cafe that I’ve been to several times before. It was bright and early so lovely and quiet and we were enjoying our coffees (and a bit of cake of course 😉) my 3-week old baby needed feeding so of course I did what I had to do. I always wear a vest top underneath whatever I’m wearing so I can remain discrete and pull one top up and the vest down whilst keeping as much flesh as possible covered.
Baby was feeding beautifully, and we were chatting away and then the owner of the cafe came
over and asked quietly if I could please cover up as the older gentleman in the corner was embarrassed. Well I was in shock and completely flustered, I didn’t know what to do. I tried searching in my bag for a Muslin to cover us up. I got upset, mainly because if the shock of this happening in this day and age. My friend I was with at the time explained she’s is now breastfeeding her second child and she’s never encountered this problem before.
I whispered to my friend if the chap was so embarrassed about it why doesn’t he move seats so he has his back to us rather than sideways on? A few minutes later he’d finished his drink so upped and left anyway. We then spoke to the owner and asked what his issue was, she then explained that he hadn’t said anything, but she could tell he looked embarrassed and that I need to remember it’s a generational thing? I’m not sure what she meant by that as surely in the older generation breastfeeding was the only way to feed your baby? Anyway, we paid up and promptly left.
After getting home it then dawned on me how out of order she was for asking me to cover up. I decided to sleep on it but the next day I wrote a polite but fair review on the cafe’s Facebook page. I politely explained what happened as I have above and also mentioned that I had visited this cafe several times before and never had an issue so it was a shock to be treated like this.
My review on the Facebook page attracted so many comments and messages of support and so many people in shock that this has happened and many people pointed out that it’s actually illegal to ask a woman to cover up or not breastfeed whilst in public. I couldn’t believe how much attention this subject was getting, I honestly didn’t mean for things to escalate as much as they did I just wanted to leave the review to be sure that no other new mums were left feeling as uncomfortable and embarrassed as I was. I was also contacted by a reporter for our local newspaper as they wanted to write an article on it. I was happy for them to do so but didn’t want my name mentioned in it as I didn’t want to cause any trouble for anyone.
Luckily the experience didn’t put me off and our breastfeeding journey continues to go well!