AIBU to feel sad about being asked to stop beastfeeding in a restaurant because the restaurant is attatched to an old people's home.

(76 Posts)
honeytea Fri 22-Mar-13 18:54:10

There is a restaurant which is inside the building of an old people's home, both the home and the restaurant are owned and run by the local authority, many people from the local community use the restaurant as it is open to the public.

I went for lunch with a friend today, it was lovely, about 60-70% of the customers were residents of the old people's home, the other 30-40% were just local people and people that work in the nearby local authority buildings. We had so many ovely comments, lots of the older customers came up and had a little chat with the babies and gave us some advice and told us how many grand children they had, one lady even came and asked if she could hold my friend's baby so my friend could eat her lunch.

When we had finished we went and sat in some chairs out of the way and (breast) fed our babies (they are 3 and 4 months) one older lady came up and said how lovely it was to see them feeding like that and asked if she could look at DS feeding, I moved my arm a little so she could see his adorable sleepy little face whilst he fed.

When we had finished and were packing up to go (boobs away, babies fed and asleep) a woman came and said to us "It's lovely that you come here but next time if you want to feed could you tell us and we can put you in a private room so you don't offend anyone"

I feel really sad about this, I feel very sad to think I may have offended people, I wonder if the older members of my own family take offence when I feed DS. AIBU to feel worried that I have offended people? Maybe I should just ask the older members of my family if they mind.

We live in a place where the community is very mixed, for example I was in a baby massage class (run by the local authority again) and an old lady came and sat in and just said she was just there to watch, she just loved babies and her grandkids were grownup now.

MajaBiene Fri 22-Mar-13 18:55:46

YABU, you haven't offended anyone and the woman who spoke to you was acting illegally.

Call the local authority and make a complaint.

WaitingForMe Fri 22-Mar-13 18:57:53

Please complain as MajaBiene says.

TigerseyeMum Fri 22-Mar-13 19:00:13

No you are not being unreasonable, the person spoke out of turn.

Did you ask if a specific complaint had been made because you seemed to have got only positive feedback?

And what a shame that 'old people' (whoever they are - old age spans a good 50 years) are excluded from
Natural normal family life by well-meaning do-good ers intent on protecting them from being offended. For this reason alone I'd raise it with the local authority - its a patronising attitude towards older people never mind offensive to mothers.

tiredlady Fri 22-Mar-13 19:02:38

You shouldn't feel sad. You should feel pissed off and angry.
You were feeding your baby ffs not running around topless waving your boobs in pensioners' faces.
Being old is no excuse for being thick.
My mum and my in laws are in their 70s and 80s. They don't have any problem whatsoever with women breast feeding

Smartiepants79 Fri 22-Mar-13 19:02:51

Who exactly did she think you'd offended?
Personally I'd ignore and just go again and do exactly what you did last time.
It is illegal to stop you.

foslady Fri 22-Mar-13 19:03:32

Another YABU - you should be angry and offended - complain!!!!

Yup - complain. It sounds like a lovely place with the exception of one person...

CartedOff Fri 22-Mar-13 19:06:44

Madness. The elderly aren't some foreign species that are all offended by something like that, they're people just like you and me with a variety of opinions and feelings. There's absolutely no reason for that woman to assume that they would be offended by a mother feeding her child.

stormforce10 Fri 22-Mar-13 19:07:18

Yes complain. The staff broke the law. My DD is 7 and my DS is 7 months and I've noticed a really different and far more positive attitude to breastfeeding this time round.

honeytea Fri 22-Mar-13 19:07:40

I wonder if maybe there had been a complaint.

I don't live in the UK but I live in Sweden where you would think breastfeeding would be protected by law but it isn't.

I was pretty shaken, I never expected to have negative bf reactions.

KurriKurri Fri 22-Mar-13 19:08:43

I don't think the old people actually complained did they? - Most of the older people I know wouldn't bat an eyelid at anyone breast feeding, old people are not weird and bonkers in general. It sounds as if this officious woman took it upon herself to be rude.
I would also complain.

(I shouldn't say it because this is a serious thread, but the typo in your title made me smile - I felt like I was beastfeeding sometimes grin

SnotMeReally Fri 22-Mar-13 19:09:11

While it's great that they would offer you a private space to BF in if you requested it, it's not great what they did - you should be able to Bf anywhere so long as you are not stripping off and shouting look at me folks!

anotheryearolder Fri 22-Mar-13 19:09:52

Beastfeeding grin that sums up DS perfectly!

I doubt that they were offended just she is narrowminded

b4bunnies Fri 22-Mar-13 19:10:46

i doubt if you've offended any of the elderly people. many of them/us are very sensible!

Booyhoo Fri 22-Mar-13 19:10:55

i think people have odd ideas about what other people might be offended about. surely older people are more likely to have grown up with babies being breastfed than bottle fed and so would be less likely to be offended by it?

honeytea Fri 22-Mar-13 19:12:33

Oh gosh, I hadn't even noticed that! I'm not even on my phone so I can't blame predictive txt! My DS is a bit of a beast, he's on the 98th centile and when he is hungry he headbuts my shoulder so hard he gave himself a nosebleed yesterday.

OxfordBags Fri 22-Mar-13 19:15:33

The point is, none of the customers complained. Sounds like she was using them as an excuse to push her discomfort onto you. Whenever I've Bfed in public, I've found older people to be the least judgey; old men because they've seen it all before and hey, it's a flash of breast, and old ladies can get positively teary-eyed watching and you can sometimes see the memories unfolding behind their eyes. I've had a coupleof old women very politely ask me if they can watch/have a look, and then they've sat and talked a out how Bfing was the best time in their lives, stuff like that. Older people usually love to see babies eating, be that Bfing, FFing, or gumming on a spoon of purée.

OP, don't worry about having inadvertently offended older members of your own family, etc. For a start, if they were offended, then that was up to them to tell you, plus it'd still not mean you should not do it. This really sounds like this one woman has issues around it, or was being a jobsworth. Don't feel that everyone feels the same way as this silly woman. You and your child go on enjoying that Bfing smile

exoticfruits Fri 22-Mar-13 19:16:34

I would write and complain. The old people won't be offended- it is unfair for someone to decide they will be.

AwkwardSquad Fri 22-Mar-13 19:17:20

Complain. The manager needs a refresher in the Equality Act 2010. See, diversity courses aren't a waste of money - this is what they are for.

Sounds like just one person with a bad attitude - ignore, ignore, ignore!

INeedThatForkOff Fri 22-Mar-13 19:19:07

YANBU to feel sad, especially as you made an elderly woman very happy by allowing her to watch your DS feed. I think it must be sad enough to be reminded that the days of motherhood are long gone without misguided fools shielding you from the pleasure of sharing in a new mum's enjoyment of her baby. How depressing.

ubik Fri 22-Mar-13 19:22:34

OP - I'm sorry you had this experience. I love watching babies being fed too, it is lovely to see them so content. That lady must have really appreciated you being there. I would make a phone call and just explain what happened, see what they say.

And.. ahem..I know this not the point of the thread but 'OLD AGE SPANS A GOOD 50 YEARS??'

I am near 40 and am not yet approaching 'old age' am i?

apatchylass Fri 22-Mar-13 19:23:27

YANBU to feel sad, but I would ignore her and continue to feed in public. BF-ing is the most natural thing in the world and breasts should not be treated as smutty indecent objects that the public can't handle.

PopeBenedictsP45 Fri 22-Mar-13 19:27:19

Perhaps the woman who approached you was over thinking a bit and perhaps a bit officious and thought she'd pre-empt any perceived offense? From what you've said it sounds like you were a bit of a hit there!

I wouldn't necessarily complain but I'd go back and do a repeat performance and when and if the woman approached I'd ask very nicely what she found to be so offensive about feeding a little baby.

exoticfruits Fri 22-Mar-13 19:29:42

The phone call is a good idea. My mother and PIL are elderly - I bfed in front of them all. They would be annoyed if someone was spouting ridiculous nonsense in their name.

Where do you live? If you live in Scotland you are allowed to breastfeed ANYWHERE you like, no one is allowed to prevent you, or ask you to stop.

Sallyingforth Fri 22-Mar-13 19:33:33

Breastfeeding is a normal, natural activity. If anyone complains about it then it it they who are in the wrong and should move into a private room.

BewitchedBotheredandBewildered Fri 22-Mar-13 19:34:33

Yes, it sounds like the woman was covering her arse in some way, quite possibly not offended herself but following some rule to the letter rather than interpreting the spirit of it.
Agree with the others, go back and repeat. If anyone challenges you, challenge them back.
You sound very lovely thanks

Oh, and if someone is offended, just tell them to stop looking. If you don't like it, don't look!

exoticfruits Fri 22-Mar-13 19:35:23

Same in England.

GloriaPritchett Fri 22-Mar-13 19:37:27

I am only going on personal experience, but my poor old granddad got terribly embarrassed when women fed their babies. It's all very well saying that there's nothing to be embarrassed about, but, well, it's hard to change things when you're in your 80s!

exoticfruits Fri 22-Mar-13 19:41:21

My FIL is 90yrs now. I bfed in front of him- we saw them a lot and I wasn't going out of the room! I never asked him- he was fine. If they have gone a lifetime without changing , then now is the time! They can move further away if they don't like it. ( I bet they were fine anyway)

honeytea Fri 22-Mar-13 19:45:57

My grandparents are very pro nudity, they have no problems with breastfeeding or general nudity at all. I go and visit my dp's grandparents at least once a week and we stay for the afternoon, I feed DS without leaving the room. DP's grandparents allways make me commit to the next time I am going to visit so I think that would suggest I don't offend them.

PlasticLentilWeaver Fri 22-Mar-13 19:58:02

I don't know about Sweden but in the UK, most of the positive feedback and support that I received was from 'older' people. I can't imagine it would be so different in Sweden and I would certainly enquire as to whether there had been a complaint.

I guess its a bit trickier if there's no legal protection, but if you weren't flashing the flesh and no complaint was made, I can't see why you should have to go somewhere private.

INeedThatForkOff Fri 22-Mar-13 20:01:12

Well my 83 yo granddad is also embarrassed around breastfeeding ... so he can leave the room if he chooses to. I think the needs of a baby trump the sensibilities of an old man.

exoticfruits Fri 22-Mar-13 20:04:09

Older people are often far more encouraging. I once felt a bit shy bfeeding on the train and the elderly lady told me not to worry, she bfed on an early morning commuter train going into London in 1948, and all the men retreated behind their newspapers!

GloriaPritchett Fri 22-Mar-13 20:06:14

And what if that 83 year old man is in a wheelchair and struggling to walk? And, if like my granddad, he doesn't get out much.

A mum with a baby can move. She doesn't have to, but in some circumstances it's not really the end of the world if she does.

GloriaPritchett Fri 22-Mar-13 20:06:39

Sorry, he doesn't get out much, so he would like to enjoy the time that he does get out.

MajaBiene Fri 22-Mar-13 20:08:16

Can he not turn his wheelchair around, or look in another direction?

I am astonished there is no legal protection for BF in Sweden.

GloriaPritchett Fri 22-Mar-13 20:09:46

When he's sitting at a table in a restaurant?

(well, my granddad has actually died, but hypothetically).

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 22-Mar-13 20:11:20

Op breast feeding is protected in Sweden under your equality legislation, think its gender equality but not sure.

MajaBiene Fri 22-Mar-13 20:12:15

Yes, why ever not? If there is something he doesn't like in his eyeline then move.

GloriaPritchett Fri 22-Mar-13 20:14:09

If OP doesn't like him being embarrassed then she can also move, by that logic.

sherazade Fri 22-Mar-13 20:15:51

yabu to feel sad. I'd be enraged.

MajaBiene Fri 22-Mar-13 20:18:35

How about if your grandad doesn't like seeing gay couples, or people with learning disabilities, or those with facial abnormalities? Should they keep out of sight to spare his (hypothetical) embarassment too?

One person's embarassment should not prevent other people carrying out their perfectly legal, natural, necessary normal lives.

Shagmundfreud Fri 22-Mar-13 20:21:26

Well said Maja!

My 80 year old FIL used to kiss ds while I was breast feeding him, shock and ask whether I was going to offer both breasts or just one....! He is from Guyana though - a culture where breast feeding is utterly normal (or was when he was young anyway).

GloriaPritchett Fri 22-Mar-13 20:23:54

Overextension much?

Breastfeeding is an action, not a physical condition.

Sometimes we adjust our legal, natural, necessary, normal lives to spare other people's feelings.

honeytea Fri 22-Mar-13 20:43:00

I did feel sad that perhaps I had offended people, I can go to the coffee shop chain a little walk away and buy lunch there but maybe some of the older people there couldn't go out (it's very icy at the moment.)

I don't really know what the solution would be, the easiest thing to do would be just choose somewhere else to eat lunch, I don't feel confident putting DS under a blanket to feed him because I need to see what he is up to i think he'd think it was a big game if I started covering him up, I don't really want to ask for a room, it was purely chance that we had finished lunch when the babies needed feeding, what would I do if I was mid eating and had to leave my food to find a private room.

It is so strange that it was an issue because mums breastfeed in public anywhere here with no attempt to cover up.

TigerseyeMum Fri 22-Mar-13 20:44:03

ubik Yep according to the way some statistics (health, mainly) 39 and up falls into the 'old age' category.

The point is, children born today are likely to live into their 90s on average and more people live to over 100 so therefore the age span is approx 55-110 and containing several generations.

That's why saying 'the elderly' or 'older adults' is meaningless.

Mind boggling, two thirds of all people aged over 65 who ever lived are alive today. That is how much life expectancy has risen.

Svrider Fri 22-Mar-13 20:52:31

Ok so by that definition I'm old
I was bfing 3yo ago
I'm surprised I didn't offend myselfx
Op I would genuinely be surprised if old people either noticed or were offended

Btw my FIL would leave the room when I bf
Untill the football came on

GloriaPritchett Fri 22-Mar-13 20:54:13

Why should you not keep going there? Look how happy you made that lady. It's a free world to go where you like and to be offended when you like!

TigerseyeMum Fri 22-Mar-13 21:01:06

Lol I haven't started breast feeding yet so I am getting all catsbumface about it in advance. Just to prepare myself.

Jengnr Fri 22-Mar-13 21:01:17

Tell her anyone who is offended can sit in the private room instead. Your child will eat his dinner at the table like everyone else.

ubik Fri 22-Mar-13 21:01:39


FreyaSnow Fri 22-Mar-13 21:03:19

TEM, I breast fed my two until they were two. I have never had a negative comment from anyone. I've had lots of positive comments, particularly from elderly people. I think negative comments are rare.

MajaBiene Fri 22-Mar-13 21:04:50

Keep a blanket or shawl with you at all times, to drape over the head of anyone who finds it embarassing to watch you breastfeed.

WestieMamma Fri 22-Mar-13 21:32:17

I'm really surprised by this. Breastfeeding in public does not carry any stigma in Sweden (hence there being no specific law to protect it).

Weissdorn Fri 22-Mar-13 21:39:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Startail Fri 22-Mar-13 21:51:42

Official complaint to the manager

Startail Fri 22-Mar-13 21:52:32

Mind you I'd probably given her such a look she'd have fled.

Shallishanti Fri 22-Mar-13 21:54:35

I like your thinking MajaBiene grin
I really am astonished if it is true that Sweden has no protection for babies and mothers, maybe you should check it out OP.
And, it's especially sad if you felt uncomfortable at a place like that, it sounds fantastic allowing the elderly to mix naturally with the rest of the world!

GirlOutNumbered Fri 22-Mar-13 22:00:27

Funny actually, but the only place I have thought twice about breastfeeding was in our local pub on Sunday. It had about 5 old men sat at the bar, drinking and I felt uncomfortable for the first time ever. I turned myself around and my DH just stood up while I got a latch and got comfy.
Anyway, one of the old guys shouts something like ' arh the little uns getting some good nosh girl, good for he!'
No one batted an eyelid.

Weissdorn Fri 22-Mar-13 22:07:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SheepNoisesOff Fri 22-Mar-13 22:16:12

We have the same problem here in the Netherlands, there is no legal protection for breastfeeding, presumably because it has traditionally not been a big deal. Now more American attitudes are creeping in in all areas of life, and women are sometimes told to go and feed in the loos and that sort of thing - and we can be asked to leave cafes and restaurants for BFing! It almost never happens, but I have certainly heard of it happening here in Amsterdam. Of all places.

My experience having BF here there and everywhere in Amsterdam is that older people are far more likely to be much more comfortable with it, older women smile at me quite a lot and older men also have no issue with it whatsoever. I should think that the Swedes were pretty much the same as the Dutch in that regard. I really wouldn't worry about it. A lot of older people (not all of course, everybody is different!) really love being around babies and small children. And then probably going home for some peace and quiet wink

ConferencePear Fri 22-Mar-13 22:20:30

This is a piece of illogical madness. Does this stupid woman not realise that most of the old women present would have breast fed their babies as a matter of routine ?

WafflyVersatile Fri 22-Mar-13 22:22:19

To be charitable maybe the woman who came over (staff presumably) had misunderstood some directive about providing a private area if requested with BFing women having to go in the private area.

Or maybe someone did complain or she did think people would find it offensive. The attitude to BFing in public has changed quite dramatically in the last few years. It seems to have gotten a lot more common and I seem to remember more people being a bit discombobulated by it not many years ago. It's not that surprising that some people are behind the times.

WestieMamma Fri 22-Mar-13 22:26:10

Shallishanti Sweden doesn't have specific protection for breastfeeding mothers. Swedes would be astonished that other countries need to pass such laws. Keep in mind that at 3 months 75% of Swedish babies are still exclusively breastfed as opposed to 17% in the UK. Most of the time it really is a non-issue here, but there's always one numpty around to buck the trend.

OxfordBags Fri 22-Mar-13 22:27:02

People have a right to be embarrassed and offended. They just don't have a right to expect or demand that anyone do anything about it. Especially when the thing that's upset them is something totally normal and acceptable. The person who has the problem needs to deal with what's making them feel that way, not expect the world to revolve around pandering to their weirdness.

cory Fri 22-Mar-13 22:54:27

<casts mind around elderly Swedish relatives trying to find even one who would be offended by breastfeeding>


cory Fri 22-Mar-13 22:55:27

<casts mind around elderly Swedish relatives trying to find even one who would be offended by breastfeeding>


LadyBeagleEyes Fri 22-Mar-13 23:04:31

I think you've maybe exaggerated a little to make a BF point.
If not I apologise in advance.
Did you know there is a special BF/FF topic on here where your issues could be addressed?
And you could talk forever about it without cynical old cows like me not commenting?

INeedThatForkOff Sat 23-Mar-13 19:38:57

When he's sitting at a table in a restaurant?

Gloria, where would you like the BFing mother to move to in this scenario? I hope you're not suggesting the toilet.

And yes I did feed DS in a restaurant opposite my grandfather. It stopped DS crying and as a result DGF seemed to get over himself.

KatyPeril Sat 23-Mar-13 19:44:53

That's mental!

candyandyoga Sat 23-Mar-13 21:34:59

Complain complain! Silly woman saying that to you!

People who are offended by bf are idiots.

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