To bf on the shop floor when there's a feeding room?

(262 Posts)
TheFlumpFlan Thu 20-Mar-14 19:38:39

I think I was being the exact opposite of inconsiderate, friend thinks I was.

In short:

I was on a shopping trip from hell (4 kids wanting school bits) which was unproductive and I was heading back through the department store to the carpark when I saw they had a clarks shoe bit with a sale (empty). I plonked down, asked the assistant if she had ds1 and ds2 size shoes and started to feed whiney velcro baby in order to be heard rather than screamed over. I'm an experienced feeder (top up, other down) and can easily feed strolling around without flashing a nipple though I sat this time with my back to the main walkway. The assistant replied to my request with 'we have a feeding room', I smiled back and said I was fine and asked again for the shoes. She suggested I feed there and popped back, and gave directions, to which I said I knew it was two floors up, full of mothers who are trying to soothe tiny ones who don't need my lot staring at them/ being loud plus I was in a rush. She looked so grumpy getting bits out and affronted by me. I'm not particularly confrontational or particular about bf (I've ebf, mixed and ff equally loved children) but it got my back up a bit. I didn't flash her, was polite, as were the children (though I doubt they would have been stuffed into a small room with nowt to look at) and it was easier for all than listening to a screaming baby.

My sister, mum and friend all maintain it is unreasonable to publically feed unless you must, and stores provide a feeding room so people like me don't take up space feeding or put off others shopping. Yet even the dad on his own didn't look fussed when he came over (I think noone noticed). They say I may have put of business and it's just inconsiderate.

treas Thu 20-Mar-14 19:41:10

YABU - there was a feeding room provided, you had no reason to be to bloody minded

SylvanMuldoon Thu 20-Mar-14 19:43:44

Oh ffs no of course YANBU, you needed to feed your baby, why should you have to hide?! Bloody minded? Er, no.

AlpacaYourThings Thu 20-Mar-14 19:44:05

Put off business What an odd thing to say.

YANBU, it just seems odd that he made such a big deal over it.

MrsReacher85 Thu 20-Mar-14 19:44:59

Honestly I don't see an issue with it and would have done exactly the same with other DC there too. And you weren't just sat in the middle of the shop, you were sorting out the other kid's shoes at the same time. I doubt any other customers even noticed.

I see no reason for breast feeding to be hidden away and always treated feeding rooms as being there for your convenience, not other people's.

Gooseysgirl Thu 20-Mar-14 19:45:16

YANBU end of.

YANBU. It's not like you weren't shopping at the same time. I really don't understand the problem.

Catnuzzle Thu 20-Mar-14 19:45:20

YANBU. A feeding room is a facility to use if u want to not because someone else wants u too. I'd have done what u did.

TheEmpress Thu 20-Mar-14 19:45:30


Why should you shut yourself away? If you were in a situation that you would give a bottle, then you are in a situation that you can bf.

Woody31 Thu 20-Mar-14 19:46:01

Feed wherever you want, whenever is convenient for you and your other kids. I find feeding rooms cramped, dark and often pretty smelly and surely only need to be used by those that don't want to feed in public - unlike yourself.

DameFanny Thu 20-Mar-14 19:46:10

Yanbu - I assume the feeding room was either a cupboard with no facilities or a section of a loo? And of you can get the kids shoes fitted while feeding then why the hell not?

To anyone saying Yabu - why? Is there supposed to be something intrinsically offensive about feeding a baby?

Annunziata Thu 20-Mar-14 19:47:04

What a mountain over a molehill!

YANBU to feed where you were, but if baby was really screaming as much as you made out, people might have been put off and gone to a quiet shop.

petalsandstars Thu 20-Mar-14 19:48:10

Yanbu. I would have done exactly the same.

Princesspond Thu 20-Mar-14 19:48:12

Yanbu, you were discreet, makes me feel all radical people's negative opinions on bf

weaselish Thu 20-Mar-14 19:48:51

YANBU. Strange reaction from your family and the sales assistant. I would have done the same as you - like you said, if you're and experienced feeder it's easy to do without showing anything and it just looks like you're holding the baby.

SweetPeaPods Thu 20-Mar-14 19:49:00

YANBU- stick by your guns on this please. We really need it to be seen as the norm so stupid members of staff or public don't feel the need to get offended.

Doingakatereddy Thu 20-Mar-14 19:49:26

You went shoe shopping with 2 kids and a Velcro baby, managed to multi task feeding and organising shoe fitting?

I'd give you a bloody medal not a mouthful. Feed where you want. 'Put off business' my arse

ChaffinchOfDoom Thu 20-Mar-14 19:50:07

I would actually think about complaining to clarks, it does piss me off that she repeatedly asked you to leave;
you were buying shoes for 2 other dc so why wasn't she focussed on them? YANBU
they usually ignore me and just do the faff about with the sizer, go wandering off for shoes etc makes no difference and tbh feeding as you describe just looks like baby is being held anyway

you can feed where you want

BornFreeButinChains Thu 20-Mar-14 19:50:37

With the greatest respect who gives a shit what anyone says except the LAW.

I wish more people would just come out with the law when confronted...

It would be great to get to a place as a society that no one bats an eye lid at a woman feeding her baby!

fluffyraggies Thu 20-Mar-14 19:50:56

Feeding rooms are not like toilets - ie: the 'proper place to feed' like a loo is the proper place to go to the toilet.

A feeding room is provided as a courtesy by the shop in case anyone wants to use it while feeding.

You can feed where you like.

Well, if you had taken out a bottle and proceeded to feed, presumably the Assistant wouldnt have batted an eyelid, so she was damn rude to do so with BFing.

ShoeWhore Thu 20-Mar-14 19:51:06


I could understand if it was half term and the department was overrun with customers and you weren't actually buying anything. But you happened to be feeding your baby while being served. Absolutely fine.

I had no desire to flash my boobs around ever but I fed mine in all sorts of places. I do remember getting some slightly funny looks sitting in a display armchair at the bottom of an escalator in M&S though grin But you know, the boy was hungry and he wasn't keen on waiting!

eightandthreequarters Thu 20-Mar-14 19:51:29

YANBU to bf on the shop floor. YABU to expect every shop assistant to be utterly fine with it. So sit down and feed the baby, explain that you would like shoes for the DC, and she can either measure them up now while you feed or she can wait until you have fed the baby and then crack on. But either way, you feed the baby when and where you need to. She might not like it, but she needs to deal with it politely and professionally.

BornFreeButinChains Thu 20-Mar-14 19:51:47

Just saw it was Clarkes! They who manipulate us to buy their crap and expensive shoes....

I would write an utterly stinking letter to head office.

TheFlumpFlan Thu 20-Mar-14 19:52:50

ok, the majority are clear.

I'll be honest, the feeding room is pretty decent. It's more I feel awful going in there with a crowd disturbing new mothers and babies who really just don't need it when I'm just fine wherever. I remember the days of struggling to latch then praying for even a brief sleep.

ChaffinchOfDoom Thu 20-Mar-14 19:53:48

bornfree can you link to the real law to quote? grin
Im in England, and thought it wasn't actually in law that you caould feed wherever, it is the law in Scotland, bf mothers are protected there, I could be wrong, this is what Ive been told though

TheFlumpFlan Thu 20-Mar-14 19:53:55

I have no principles when it comes to saving a bit on school shoes and getting free of shopping hell so I bought their discounted shoes and ignored her. Rhino hide.

BlackeyedSusan Thu 20-Mar-14 19:54:11

I have fed outside the main entrance to asda, in a shoping centre, in the car, in restaurants, in the park (that was chilly) in shops, walkignn round the supermarket, in church, but never in front of fil.. confused

ZenNudist Thu 20-Mar-14 19:55:41

Yanbu in your shoes I'd want to kit out kids and get out not traipse around trying to get everyone into a feeding room.

Shop assistant clearly not used to bf babies, sometimes it's as much a comfort thing as a food thing and it's not always regular or planned.

Disappointing to be criticised by your own family!

Sid77 Thu 20-Mar-14 19:56:37

I always thought feeding rooms were for the benefit of the feeding mother, not the other customers. So if you, as a feeding mother, feel more comfortable feeding privately then you can. If you don't require such privacy then you don't have to use the feeding room. YANBU

NiaceGuidelines Thu 20-Mar-14 19:57:49

No YANBU. This really pisses me off actually. It is a covert way of saying 'we dont want you breastfeeding in public'

I was feeding my DS in IKEA whilst having lunch with a group of children and mums, and a member of staff came over and pointed out the feeding area. I told her I had seen the feeding area but didnt want to sit away from my family and am quite happy here. I then got a very defensive anxious reaction of ' oh no of course not, we just wanted to let you know its there' I was sitting beside it I could see it for myself.

John Lewis pisses me off too. They provide facilities but the feeding area is still in a dark corner next to the baby change and loos. Put some sofas in the cafe and put a sign up saying these seats are priority for BREASTFEEDING MOTHERS. Until they do that they are not, in my mind providing great facilities.

For me the question is, would I eat my lunch there. No? Then I'm not feeding my baby there. If people really gave a shit about supporting breast feeding mothers then they would provide comfy sofas in corners etc.

'Feeding Areas' are not supporting breastfeeding, they are giving the message that we need to hide away.

TheScience Thu 20-Mar-14 19:58:42

YANBU - I've not used a feeding room in my life and still managed to feed a baby adequately.

I certainly wouldn't leave what I was doing and go to another floor, with other children, to use one.

aermingers Thu 20-Mar-14 19:58:48

YANBU. If you had not been interested in purchasing and were sitting blocking up the shopfloor while paying customers couldn't get around you then you would have been unreasonable. But the fact that you were just giving a nip while you bought meant it should have been totally fine.

quietbatperson Thu 20-Mar-14 19:59:49

It's irrelevant that there is a feeding room. Your DCs needed shoes and the baby kicked off and you fed it whilst waiting for shoes to be fitted. She tried to get you to leave and refused to serve you because you were breastfeeding. Please write to Clarks and point out Section 17 (4) of the Equality Act 2010 and feel free to CC in the NCT and LLL while you're about it.

TheBody Thu 20-Mar-14 20:01:34

not for the first time today I feel mumsnetters inhabit another parallel universe.

I have bf all my kids anywhere and everywhere with no funny looks, no comments and no tutting ever heard.

also I have never heard or seen of anyone who buys their boys dresses. (whole other thread.) grin

where are these huffing tutting people? I really could have done with a huge row while I was hormonal.

op you should have pulled your baby off and squirted her face with breast milk, I inadvertently did just that to the back of a mans head on a flight, he was sat in front and dd pulled off suddenly and it spurted out like a sofa stream. so it's possible. try it,

failing that write and complain to Clark's head office.

your relations and friends are daft knobs too.

WilsonFrickett Thu 20-Mar-14 20:01:59

Oh FGS. You are legally entitled to feed where you like and I suggest someone who's business involves catering for parents should probably get behind the programme. Piece of nonsense, YANBU and I'd drop a note to their head office if you can be bothered.

Feeding rooms are there for the convenience of mothers - if you needed to get fractious older children out of there as quickly as possible then it's hardly convenient to make a detour to the feeding room, is it?

I'd've done the exact same as you!

ChaffinchOfDoom Thu 20-Mar-14 20:04:49

Pregnancy and maternity discrimination: non-work cases

This section has effect for the purposes of the application to the protected characteristic of pregnancy and maternity of—


Part 3 (services and public functions);


Part 4 (premises);


Part 6 (education);


Part 7 (associations).


A person (A) discriminates against a woman if A treats her unfavourably because of a pregnancy of hers.


A person (A) discriminates against a woman if, in the period of 26 weeks beginning with the day on which she gives birth, A treats her unfavourably because she has given birth.


The reference in subsection (3) to treating a woman unfavourably because she has given birth includes, in particular, a reference to treating her unfavourably because she is breast-feeding.

ooh it is in law - definition of 'being treated unfavourably'

definitely write to clarks H/O - their primary customers are mothers

ArtexMonkey Thu 20-Mar-14 20:11:22


I have never used a feeding room since the one and only time I went in one in Boots with newborn dd, and the stench of the fucking nappy bin nearly knocked me out. Tiny cupboard with a bin full of shitty nappies in it? Err no thanks. I went and sat on a chair in the pharmacy bit.

plumnc Thu 20-Mar-14 20:12:44

Apart from the fact that it is sad that people take offence seeing a baby eat, most feeding rooms are disgusting ie right next to changing mats and stinky nappy bins EEEEW!

NiaceGuidelines Thu 20-Mar-14 20:12:53

where are these huffing tutting people? I really could have done with a huge row while I was hormonal

You have to look quite hard for them thebody failing that, just misinterpret any gesture to mean they disapprove of your breastfeeding. They might just not like their coffee but it doesnt matter, the righteous indignation you feel is exactly the same.

NiaceGuidelines Thu 20-Mar-14 20:18:20

Actually, on a serious note, pe3rhaps we could start a Mumsnet campaign to get feeding rooms and baby change facilities out of the same space. It's wrong to expect a baby to eat in the same little space he and a whole load of other babies have had their bums changed. It's wrong to expect a mother to think that is acceptable. How on earth are we going to address the issue of shame, embarrassment and self consciousness that surrounds breastfeeding if women are expected to feed their babies in the same space that 'shit' is being dealt with. And this is being breast feeding friendly and providing facilities? Fuck off!!!! We have one of the lowest uptakes of breastfeeding in the western world for goodness sake. It isn't surprising.

fluffyraggies Thu 20-Mar-14 20:21:40

I am the least militant person on MN, i imagine. However i really feel like i would love to take part in a sort of 'MN mystery breast feed' survey, in which BFing mothers pop into a few well known shops local to them, breast feed discretely and then report back here on a thread with their experiences.

It would be interesting to see which establishments have failed to advise their staff of the law regarding BFing. The negative publicity might prompt change.

cardamomginger Thu 20-Mar-14 20:23:41



Agree fluffy. The rooms are there ifbyou need them not to be hidden away in!
Eight why should it matter to the member of staff that the mother was feeding. I assume the feeding child wasnt getring his or her shoes fitted in which case you would have a point

WorraLiberty Thu 20-Mar-14 20:38:19

Have you posted about this before OP?

It seems very familiar.

TheBody Thu 20-Mar-14 20:40:10

can't see the point in those rooms anyway?

the more people see bf the more people will see it as a normal way to feed a baby. as is ff too in my opinion.

I reiterate, any sour looks/words pull baby off and 'do the squirt' right in the face.

LemonBreeland Thu 20-Mar-14 20:44:06

YANBU! Feeding rooms are for your comfort should you nee it. It does not mean you have to go there.

And treas bloody minded? really? I thin it is quit obvious it was a lady trying to get through her shopping trip as quickly as possible. She had no need to make her other children bored whilst she fed a baby when ahe could easily do it while doing something else.

I would complain about the shop assistant. she needs some training.

LurcioLovesFrankie Thu 20-Mar-14 20:44:24

YANBU. That's all (others have covered the legal aspects up thread).

pianodoodle Thu 20-Mar-14 20:47:02

Of course YANBU they must assume you have all the time in the world and no where else to be.

A special trip to the feeding room means you have to go back to look at shoes afterwards and possibly be out later than intended etc... when you can do it all at the same time!

I wonder if you'd given a bottle to the baby would they have even mentioned the feeding room.

Shelby2010 Thu 20-Mar-14 20:47:52

YANBU I would have done exactly the same.

When DD1 was tiny I was very grateful for feeding rooms as I did feel self conscious, particularly if I was out on my own. With DD2 my main requirement is a cup of tea to drink at the same time.......

Wolfiefan Thu 20-Mar-14 20:49:42

Weird. You were feeding your baby. Why on earth would anyone object? Weird. Just weird.
Oh and YY to baby feeding spaces being rank. Often right next to an overflowing nappy bin or changing station where someone is deshitting their DC!

thank god as far as I can see only one idiot poster has said yabu. because you weren't. and whoever said the assistant wouldn't have batted an eyelid had you given your baby a bottle, i wholeheartedly agree with you. it's quite appalling actually.

BornFreeButinChains Thu 20-Mar-14 20:54:38

Its up to you to feed where you want and the staff member isnt aware of this - she is not trained and thinks you should be in there because that's what its for.

Therefore you need a stinking letter to clarkes. Its not her fault, its the training.

God, we have regressed to the blimmin' dark ages.

Of course YANBU!!!

Fantissue Thu 20-Mar-14 21:30:57

Playing Devil's Advocate, I would find it very hard to serve a customer who was feeding a child with a bowl and spoon so perhaps shop assistants find it hard to do their job to the required standard when they're being asked to deal with someone who is breastfeeding?

That said, it's hard to serve someone who is texting, talking on a phone, dealing with a child having a tantrum, etc. Where would you draw the line? But obviously this is a well rehearsed debate!

TheScience Thu 20-Mar-14 21:33:51

You can breast or bottle feed a child and still carry on a conversation with a shop assistant - why would you find them hard to serve?

Fantissue Thu 20-Mar-14 21:37:07

I personally find it distracting in the same way it's distracting if someone is texting while in a conversation or playing computer games while you're talking to them.

I don't find feeding a child disgusting or offensive but when someone is talking to me I find it easier if they're focussing on the conversation as much as they possibly can.

The same principle applies to lots of things people could do while talking to someone else.

but texting or playing gamws requireyou ti look away. Breastfeedinf does not. It also does not require attention in the way composing a text does

TheScience Thu 20-Mar-14 21:48:11

Have you actually seen someone feed a baby? It's not like you have to concentrate on it like you do on texting confused

I think someone working in a kids' shoe shop would have to be able to do their job even without having the customer's attention completely focussed on them.

Mim78 Thu 20-Mar-14 21:48:58


Fantissue Thu 20-Mar-14 21:52:33

StealthPolarBear, composing a message on MN also seems to require a some concentration.

ArtexMonkey Thu 20-Mar-14 21:52:43

Shop assistants fitting children's shoes don't have to 'deal with someone breastfeeding'. The mum is not the one who needed fitting for shoes. And even if she was, shoes go on your feet not your breasts.

ArtexMonkey Thu 20-Mar-14 21:55:53

I love it when there are typos in messages that are being snotty about typos smile <petty as fuck>

ShadowFall Thu 20-Mar-14 21:57:01


The feeding room's there for if you want to use it, not somewhere that you're obliged to use.

kungfupannda Thu 20-Mar-14 21:59:56


I used to feed DS2 in the sling because it meant I could carry on doing what I was doing before he needed feeding, rather than having to sit down somewhere and waste a whole load of time.

DS2 was permanently hungry, so if I'd taken myself to a feeding room every time he needed feeding, they'd have been charging me rent.

I got a woman tutting and huffing at me in soft play on my first solo outing with both DSs, despite there being absolutely nothing to see because of the sling, but other than that, no-one ever seemed mortally offended.

An elderly lady did once get an eyeful over the cheese in Sainsburys when she said 'ooh, let's have a look at the baby' and dived in before I could warn her, but she just looked startled, and then laughed and apologised.

Everything's been said,
Just adding my YANBU.

It does fantissue smile but that doesnt detract from my point. Texting while being served at a checkout is rude. Breastfeeding while being served is not.
do you jave anything to say about the content of what I wrote or just its delivery?

Fantissue Thu 20-Mar-14 22:03:20

No, I javen't wink

Fantissue Thu 20-Mar-14 22:04:16

And I didn't say it was rude, I said that some people, rightly or wrongly, find it distracting.

Ok. Id have expected you to either agree or disagree butfair eenough. Btw am on phone with incredibly small keys and for some teason it refuses to put a space after a word if it's at the end of a line. But feel free to correct any errors as it seems to make you feel better.

Ah so you did have a response. Thank you.

5madthings Thu 20-Mar-14 22:07:57

Yanbu I wpuld and have done the same, why traipse to a feedimg room if you dont want or need to, esp with other kdis in tow!

I woud be writimg to them to point out the law re bfeeding.

In fairness the assistant didnt do anything illegal.
lobe the fact she continued grumpily tho - putting off customers, exactly what she accised the op of doing!

Amy106 Thu 20-Mar-14 22:13:18

I just wanted to add my YANBU not one little bit.
You can use the feeding room if you want but you certainly don't have to.
Your choice. I would write and tell about your experiences.

MrsMook Thu 20-Mar-14 22:18:57

Sometimes a feeding room is a more convenient option, sometimes it isn't. Sometimes I've accepted IKEAs facility as it's suited the moment, other times I've favoured refreshments in the cafe and other times it's been easier to feed on the move in the sling.

YANBU to take the most practical option at the time, particularly as it was causing no hinderence to anyone else.

NewtRipley Thu 20-Mar-14 22:19:55


Feeding rooms are not for the comfort of other people, they are a choice for a bfeeder who wants to use them.

pinkr Thu 20-Mar-14 22:20:07

I was put off using a feeding room in a shopping centre recently as it was so isolated... Through two doors etc... and deserted. No way was I sitting there in a vulnerable position considering anyone could wander in. sitting duck for any pervert really.

Nennypops Thu 20-Mar-14 22:29:37

Not for the first time today I feel mumsnetters inhabit another parallel universe. I have bf all my kids anywhere and everywhere with no funny looks, no comments and no tutting ever heard.

where are these huffing tutting people?

Look at the comments under any Daily Mail story about bf and you'll find them. There seem to be an awful lot of Mail readers who are positively frightened of it, goodness knows why. Comments will inevitably include:

- people talking about bf in terms of people "flopping their baps out" or similar charmless terminology. They plainly haven't seen the act of bf, otherwise they'd know that there's no flopping involved, nor does anyone actually get their breasts out; they simply uncover the nipple and put the baby to it.

- a load more claiming that bf mothers only do it to be militant/lefty/ show off. Quite what is left wing about using breasts for their primary purpose, again goodness only knows.

- several going on about how they managed to organise their babies so that they conveniently fed before they went out and never had any trouble. Either they have very short memories or were of the leave-the-baby-to-cry persuasion.

- delicate little flowers who say they just find it offensive and they shouldn't be subjected to the horror. They never explain why they can't just look somewhere else.

- and the prizewinners: those who come up triumphantly with the line that "people claim it's natural, well so is defecating and urinating but you don't expect to do that in public do you?" It never occurs to them that eating and drinking are also natural

BerniceBroadside Fri 21-Mar-14 00:31:58

Feeding rooms are invariably rank, out of the way and only for women who WANT to use them. You did right staying put.

BerniceBroadside Fri 21-Mar-14 08:39:18

In fact the feeding area in mothercare was actually in the toilets. Fuck that. Why would you want to feed your baby three feet away from someone doing a poo?

MrsPixieMoo Fri 21-Mar-14 09:49:36

YANBU. Complain to Clark's and feed where you like. The law is on your side.

Mumof3xx Fri 21-Mar-14 09:53:13

I have never bf myself through choice but you wouldn't have put me off my shopping
I go shopping to buy things not gawp at other people

Idocrazythings Fri 21-Mar-14 09:55:55

Just another YANBU to add to your list... For reasons already mentioned

TrinityRhino Fri 21-Mar-14 10:00:37

YANBU times a billion

just pathetic that anyone feels they can be bothered by it or offended by it

Gileswithachainsaw Fri 21-Mar-14 10:03:27


Have no idea how anyone would have been remotely bothered or have even noticed.

Perhaps she should concentrate on serving customers than making a big deal out of nothing

juule Fri 21-Mar-14 10:07:54

Another YANBU from me. Once you had indicated that you were aware of the feeding room but didn't want to use it, then that should have been the end of it.

And shock at your family and friends thinking it would "put off others shopping.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Fri 21-Mar-14 10:08:20

YANBU and complain.

fluffyraggies Fri 21-Mar-14 10:13:45

blush - sad to admit that i do have to get (flop?) a whole 'bap' out. I would love love love to simply expertly expose a nipple and away we go - but i have big (uncooperative) boobs and seem to have to manhandle them a bit to feed sad

so i would use the feeding room
if i ever plucked up the courage to feed anywhere other than the car when out

zumm Fri 21-Mar-14 10:18:48

YADNBU - poor you. Well done for preserving though! Why the hell should you go into a smelly feeding room (they're usually smelly, let's face it, and hot, and windowless). Clearly we should all be ashamed. I'm mad on your behalf. (oh, didn't realise I felt so strongly ;) Yes, complain.

Misspixietrix Fri 21-Mar-14 10:19:57

Arf at you being bloody minded! grin. Were you fuck OP! Haha. You was feeding your baby. Not performing a strip act in the centre of mothercare. YDNBU!!

DuckandCat Fri 21-Mar-14 10:22:47


Shoe departments were one of my prime choices when feeding DD when out and about. (When not busy with people needing to try on shoes obv) Seats outside changing rooms was another.

I used 'feeding rooms' in the early days and not only would I have to trek to find them, they nearly always stank!

TrinityRhino Fri 21-Mar-14 10:28:07

I sat on the floor at the end of a clothes aisle of an Asda once to feed Gecko

An Asda worker stared walking towards me and I thought I was going to be in trouble but she just offered to get me a chair grin

SooticaTheWitchesCat Fri 21-Mar-14 10:31:58

YANBU, I used to feed my babies wherever and whenever they needed it. I have fed in shops, restaurants, on park benches and on the beach. Thankfully I never came across any narrow minded people who thought I shouldn't do it.

You carry on feeding your baby where you want to smile

Morgause Fri 21-Mar-14 10:32:15

I don't think YWBU to feed your baby but I do think YWBU to expect the assistant to serve you while you did so. Couldn't you have fed the baby then bought the shoes? Seems a bit bad mannered to me.

Ilikecakes Fri 21-Mar-14 10:39:47

YADNBU - what a flipping cheek in any case, but particularly when you were trying to buy two pairs of overpriced, overmarketed, overrated shoes.

Tweet them, reminding them of the law and suggesting that their staff perhaps be trained in this aspect of it. Nothing like airing a company's dirty laundry in public to gain a swift response…….

Ilikecakes Fri 21-Mar-14 10:41:37

Morgause, would it not have been slightly more ill-mannered to attempt the transaction with a screaming, hungry baby making its presence known? Would you have deemed it bad mannered too if she'd been bottle feeding the baby?

fluffyraggies Fri 21-Mar-14 10:48:04

Bad mannered? confused

I think any shop assistant who is that easily flustered is either very young, very unused to dealing with the public or in the wrong job.

Having spent years in retail serving the public i can assure you a woman breastfeeding while i served her wouldn't make me bat an eyelid.

(In fact i helped a woman try her wedding make up while she was feeding once. We just placed a muslin lightly over the baby's face to stop any powder falling on it and all was fine grin)

Whenever my DCs are getting shoes I tend to sit a little away from them and just nag them not to just say they like the ones with the toys in the heels. Could easily do that while breastfeeding. There's very little interaction between me and the assistant iyswim. The children are being served, not me.

Manchesterhistorygirl Fri 21-Mar-14 10:51:32

You are not being unreasonable! I used feeding rooms in the early days with both my dc because it was easier for my to get them to latch on in the quiet and our local mothercare used to put toys in for bigger children to play with, so that was always good.

Once I got into the swing of it then I fed everywhere! The strangest being the blue john cavern on the walk back up and on the cable cars at Drayton manor. smilegrin

Complain, complain, complain!

Morgause Fri 21-Mar-14 11:10:04

I would deem it equally bad mannered to bottle feed while the assistant was trying to serve. Feed the baby then ask for assistance.

TheScience Fri 21-Mar-14 11:14:55

How bizarre that anyone could be offended by someone feeding a hungry baby instead of focussing entirely on them. I mean, the shop assistant will be mostly measuring feet, going back and forth to the stockroom and fitting shoes - it's not like she's having an intense 1:1 with the mother who must have both hands free.

Would it also be bad manners to rock or soothe a baby while in a shop?

GandalfsBeard Fri 21-Mar-14 11:16:58

Yanbu! Feeding room or no feeding room, a woman should be able to feed her baby wherever and whenever she needs to. I imagine it would have been a major hassle to trudge to to feeding room with other Dcs in tow when you were perfectly capable of discreetly feeding where you were.
If people don't like it, tough. I really don't understand why some people are offended by a woman breast feeding her baby. It's the most natural thing in the world.


GandalfsBeard Fri 21-Mar-14 11:18:32

* To a feeding room! not to to!

pianodoodle Fri 21-Mar-14 11:19:10

Feed the baby then ask for assistance.

Why though when it's perfectly easy to do both? I don't see what inconvenience would be caused to the assistant?

fuckwittery Fri 21-Mar-14 11:21:25

I think you should call the shop and just politely point out what the assistant said and ask that she be educated in the right and appropriateness of a breast feeding mum to feed anywhere, and that a feeding room is for mums who require it not for shops to ask bf mums to leave. It would have been awful if she'd said that to a less confident mum having a bad day. I would have called her on it then and there.

fromparistoberlin73 Fri 21-Mar-14 11:23:22

I am going to get flamed to shit here BUT

breastfeeding covers are a lifesaver

reason being they are so bloody modest that noone cant get offended

wheather we like it or not, it does make people uncomfortable., they they say shit,. then the Mum gets (naturally) upset and comes on MN

I never had a comment or a word, as wore a black BF cover, and wear alot of black anyway

there are some fucking twats out there unfportunately, and BF covers can make life alot easier

I hate it that its such an issue in the UK. But until things change, why not make life easier for yourself???

Morgause Fri 21-Mar-14 11:23:32

It would be easy to do a lot of things but bad mannered, just my opinion.

TheKnightsThatSayNee Fri 21-Mar-14 11:29:21

Thank god you were a seasoned feeder and confident enough to ignore her. I've never been confident feeding in public and I would have been mortified!

Ilikecakes Fri 21-Mar-14 11:29:46

Feed the baby then ask for assistance? I'm always astounded at the knots people expect mothers to tie themselves up in for the apparent convenience of others. So Morgause, you think OP should have sat instore feeding her baby, whilst her multiple other children unshelved every rack in the store sat quietly and patiently, waiting for feed to be over, THEN the OP should have troubled the assistant to see if she might be able to size her DSs' feet, and then go through the rigmarole of trying on multiple pairs to see which might work? Purely to avoid possibly offending the sensibilities of numpties those around her? Would it not be better-mannered and a hell of a lot more efficient to be feeding baby whilst all of the other steps are going on, rather than taking up that much space in a store for much longer than is necessary.

Fail completely to see how feeding a baby by any method is bad manners in any scenario…….

blahblahblah2014 Fri 21-Mar-14 11:30:07

It's there shop and it's up to them what they find acceptable, not you. YABU as there was a feeding room available and you were asked not to BF in there store, taking up space and potentially affecting their business and passing trade. I personally wouldn't feel comfortable sitting next to someone feeding whilst trying on shoes etc and neither would most people. And if you were feeding in the kids section i wouldn't want my kids sitting on the same bench either, if only for the fact that they could bump you or something.

fromparistoberlin73 Fri 21-Mar-14 11:33:25

I agree

we are so hung up on MN that the rights of the BF mothers are SACROSANCT . and that if it makes someone uncomfortable, then they are a Nestle loving, BF hating cxxt

I was also very upset for that lady who got flamed on facebook.

But this shop assistant was at WORK, and if she did not feel comfortable in her professional environment , well that is deserving of some consideration. Ops attitude is very much "fuck you shop assistant, my rights and my baby come first"


blah have you heard of sex discrimination?

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Fri 21-Mar-14 11:34:34

It's there shop and it's up to them what they find acceptable, not you

Actually, I think you'll find that shops need to obey the law...

WilsonFrickett Fri 21-Mar-14 11:34:35

Oh do one blahblah. She was shopping, not 'taking up space' and I wouldn't give a shiny shit if I was sitting next to a BF mother and nor would most of the people I know. If your kids can't sit on a bench without bumping into someone, maybe they're the ones who should stay home rather than taking up that valuable space and affecting all that passing trade?

the assistant should be able to put her uncomfortableness aside to provide a servie to the public.

Morgause Fri 21-Mar-14 11:37:12

Yes, that's what I think, Ilikecakes

When I was buying shoes for my DCs my attention was always entirely on them. In the same position I would have fed the baby first then given the other DCs and the assistant my complete attention.

fromparistoberlin73 Fri 21-Mar-14 11:39:11

This attitude is so strange

Of course the shop assistant was BU, she should have turned the other cheek

but so was OP! she knew shop assistance felt uncomfortable, and basically ignored her!

both muppets IMVHO

but I sense the lactivists are having a frisky friday and I am a minority view

But surely the one key person here is the baby.
The baby needed feeding.
Everyone else was an adult and could put their own sensibilities aside.
Presumably the mother would have preferred to feed at home on the sofa with a cup of tea and the TV on. But the baby needed feeding then and as a grown up you deal with minor inconveniences to allow a child to be fed.

TheRealAmandaClarke Fri 21-Mar-14 11:41:58

The reason a law has needed to be passed about feeding babies in public is because there are still plenty of stuffy, ignorant, narrow minded misogynistic idiots around who consider it revolting/ disgusting/ rude/ impolite/ bloody minded to breastfeed and especially to do so in public.
Breastfeeding is absolutely best for mothers and babies on the whole but really, it's still not fully accepted in the uk.
You were absolutely not being unreasonable.

And the shop assistant is paid to deal with the general public. She's expected to handle that some people are different from her own narrow minded view of the world. Unless she is being abused or threatened, I don't think she has any right to dictate who stays and who goes in a shop that is providing a service.
Incidentally service to many babies' bigger brothers and sisters!

NeedsAsockamnesty Fri 21-Mar-14 11:45:31

Blah, are your kids so out of control that they can not sit nicely on a bench even for a few minutes?

Onsera3 Fri 21-Mar-14 11:45:34

YANBU. The feeding room is there if you want it but you're not obliged to use it.

Silly sales assistant. I'd complain.

OhNoGeorge Fri 21-Mar-14 11:48:19

I am bemused/ angry at so many attitudes on this thread. On Mumsnet of all places. It makes me so sad that people can't just accept it's just someone feeding a baby FFS. If it's not sunk in yet... THE LAW says (rightly) that women can breastfeed anywhere. It's not up to the shop, not up to individuals. YANBU of course.

NeedsAsockamnesty Fri 21-Mar-14 11:48:29


You have a legally protected right to do so, Any place that is open to the general public has to follow the law

TheRealAmandaClarke Fri 21-Mar-14 11:49:28

Why oh why oh why is the views that women who are breastfeeding should leave the room when their babies need to be fed?
It is completely unreasonable and discriminatory to make the suggestion.
It would have been ridiculous to have gone to the bloody feeding room at that point.

Onsera3 Fri 21-Mar-14 11:50:43

Oh my gosh blahblah how do you know what most people want or don't want? Your posts about bf are hilarious. Sounds like you have booby issues.

blahblahblah2014 Fri 21-Mar-14 11:51:08

I just think there is a time and place for everything, you are not allowed to eat or drink in a shoe shop and i don't think feeding the baby first or after would have been difficult. It's not normal to walk into a shoe shop and find that someone has set up camp there to feed there LO - I'd be a bit suprised myself, let alone people who have not BF in the past. There are lots of things that are legal, but if it makes other people uncomfortable or i feel it's inappropiate, then i am considerate. The law says i can sit outside and smoke like a chimmney if i wish to, but would i do that in a pub garden if i was sitting next to a chld, of course not. It's not about the law, it's about consideration. It's not Clarkes duty to provide a place for you to feed.

OhNoGeorge Fri 21-Mar-14 11:52:15

Basically Amanda we are meant to hide away out of sight for the what, 3-6 months where a baby needs pretty regular feeding. If I had taken this attitude on board I wouldn't have left the flipping feeding room between feeds/ changes, nip to the loo and grab a drink for yourself and you'd be heading straight back in there...

TheScience Fri 21-Mar-14 11:52:46

Lots of people feel uncomfortable with gay couples, or particular ethnic groups - if the shop assistant felt uncomfortable about a same sex couple holding hands for example, and told them there was a gay bar down the road where they could have done that, should they have respected her discomfort?

OhNoGeorge Fri 21-Mar-14 11:53:14

Oh yes BFing... Just like smoking.

blahblahblah2014 Fri 21-Mar-14 11:54:23

I was making a point about the law, please do not take it out of context

Gileswithachainsaw Fri 21-Mar-14 11:55:50

Consideration? Of what? 99% of normal people wouldn't even have noticed or been remotely bothered. It's a baby feeding underneath a top, u see nothing. It's not a live sex show or anything

But a child is not going to suffer from passive breastfeeding or be exposed to a habit that if they choose to copy will kill them in later life.

Safmellow Fri 21-Mar-14 11:56:26

FFS. YANBU. Cannot believe the attitudes of people about BF. Imagine if this was a conversation about a wheelchair user and people were whining 'but it made me feel uncomfortable', 'it took up too much space', 'so inconsiderate of other customers'.

Seriously, how did it happen that people got so hung up and prissy about boobs??

The more people that feed in public the better, it is the only way to normalize it in the eyes of Joe Public.

And no, I am not 'brestapo', 'the breast brigade' or 'lactivist'. I am just a normal mother who wants other mothers to be able to feed hungry babies in the way they choose without being discriminated against.

OhNoGeorge Fri 21-Mar-14 11:56:30

It's not out of context! How can you compare smoking next to someone, which is proven to cause harm, to breastfeeding next to someone, which doesn't? It's not the feeding woman's/ baby's problem if that person doesn't like it!

It is in context though. You think it's inapproprtiate to smoke around a child. So do I. You think it's inappropriate to breastfeed in front of other people. I wonder why.

Gileswithachainsaw Fri 21-Mar-14 11:57:10

Oh and it's less revealing than posters advertising underwear.

LurcioLovesFrankie Fri 21-Mar-14 11:57:16

I think Blah rather nicely illustrates why we need the law which protects women's right to breast feed without harassment, and hurrah for the existence of such a law!

Willabywallaby Fri 21-Mar-14 11:57:30


TheRealAmandaClarke Fri 21-Mar-14 11:58:10

Oh dfo.
Of course you allowed to feed a baby.
and no, proprietors a not entitled to dictate what they feel uncomfortable about and ask ppl to leave.. Wtf?
What would happen if someone felt uncomfortable about serving a gay couple in mothercare? Think it through.

K8Middleton Fri 21-Mar-14 11:58:43

Of course yanbu. It is indirect sex discrimination and covered by Equality Act 2010.

It is only a problem for people who think breastfeeding is anything less than normal and unremarkable. And those people are as stupid as those who think black people, gay people or any other normal people are not normal.

For those people may I suggest the following if breastfeeding offends:

1. Looking away.
2. Fucking off somewhere else.
3. Covering up... your own head with a paper bag.

ElleBellyBeeblebrox Fri 21-Mar-14 11:59:39

I've never used a feeding room, and always fed wherever I've had to, public or not. Attitudes to breastfeeding in this country need to change and part of that is about people seeing it as the natural, normal, essential part of life that it is. Why should it be hidden away as if it's something to be ashamed of?

blahblahblah2014 Fri 21-Mar-14 11:59:47

It's not out of context! How can you compare smoking next to someone, which is proven to cause harm, to breastfeeding next to someone, which doesn't? It's not the feeding woman's/ baby's problem if that person doesn't like it!

The point was that i was perfectly within my legal right to do so, but wouldn't out of consideration. The fact I used smioking as an example is irrelevant.

Most women are very discreet but believe me when i tell you some are very much not!

TheScience Fri 21-Mar-14 11:59:57

I honestly would not find it at all weird to walk into the Clarks children's section and see someone breastfeeding or bottle feeding a baby, or indeed giving snacks to a baby/toddler in a pushchair.

Whenever I have been there it has been full of kids and you are usually waiting ages to be seen - not surprising a baby can't wait to be fed.

FabBakerGirl Fri 21-Mar-14 12:00:50

A woman should feed her baby wherever she wants within sensible reason. Don't do it sat on the check out belt or on a zebra crossing.

There was a piece in the paper yesterday moaning about the Mass Feed done the other day. Poor delicate "journalist" couldn't cope with seeing a small amount of a bare breast hmm.

TheScience Fri 21-Mar-14 12:01:04

What difference does it make if the woman isn't "discreet", whatever that means? You might risk seeing a nipple if you look at her breasts? Just don't look if you are scared of nipples confused

blahblahblah2014 Fri 21-Mar-14 12:01:35

But i guess like many things once covered by law you get the "i can do what i want where i want" brigade who want to showcase their rights

Most women are very discreet but believe me when i tell you some are very much not!"

Oh no, did you see a female nipple????

blahblahblah2014 Fri 21-Mar-14 12:02:41

or indeed giving snacks to a baby/toddler in a pushchair

They have, lilke most stores, a no food or drinks in store policy

just saying

TheScience Fri 21-Mar-14 12:03:22

I've never seen anyone being asked to leave a shop because their toddler is eating a rice cake.

blahblahblah2014 Fri 21-Mar-14 12:04:03

Who wants to see someones nipple when they are trying to buy a pair of shoes?

I think in this case it is perfectly valid. Because you're not doing what you WANT you're doing what your baby NEEDS.
If I wander around without my top on and someone is offended I'd consider covering up, sure. But if that top is pulled up to feed my child then, sorry, but their hurt feelings (at lack of milk) overcome a grown adult with a fit of the vapors.

blahblahblah2014 Fri 21-Mar-14 12:05:16

There are signs on the doors of most retailers clearly stating this

I honestly can't say I'd care. I wouldn't seek out Clark's-with-the-nipples, neither would I particularly avoid one where I might accidentally glimpse another part of the human body.

Gileswithachainsaw Fri 21-Mar-14 12:05:34

Aren't u looking at shoes when your shoe shopping? If there's that lousy a selection that a woman's nipple stands out so badly I'd try a different store

CheesyBadger Fri 21-Mar-14 12:05:46

YANBU! Why on earth shouldn't you feed your baby wherever you want! I would be writing a letter of complaint, they had no right to do that

TheRealAmandaClarke Fri 21-Mar-14 12:06:02

Oh those wretched indiscreet breastfeeders.
Please refer to k8middleton's list.

LurcioLovesFrankie Fri 21-Mar-14 12:06:16

Blah: "But i guess like many things once covered by law you get the "i can do what i want where i want" brigade who want to showcase their rights"

Yes, well done blah, I think you're finally getting it. This is indeed precisely the point of the law. A woman with a hungry baby can feed her baby where she wants and is not forced to hide in a toilet cubicle. You don't have to watch. (Unless of course you're part of the "I'll look where I want" professionally offended brigade).

ElleBellyBeeblebrox Fri 21-Mar-14 12:06:49

I'd love to see nipples in shops if they were attached to breastfeeding mothers. We need more public breastfeeding to challenge people's ridiculous attitudes. Hooray for boobies!

TheScience Fri 21-Mar-14 12:07:41

Seriously, if you are worried about seeing nipples then just don't look at people's breasts?

This is harder in the summer as lots of men are very indiscreet.

TheRealAmandaClarke Fri 21-Mar-14 12:09:26

blablabla great name btw
I can only imagine you are being obtuse and enjoy trying to get a rise out of ppl. A bit like Katie Hopkins might for example.
Every point you have made on this matter sounds like the opinion of an ignorant misogynist.

TheRealAmandaClarke Fri 21-Mar-14 12:12:44

And narrow minded attitudes are the precursor for the so called "lactivists" type movement.
I feel like taking my 13 mo bf baby to buy shoes now.

K8Middleton Fri 21-Mar-14 12:13:16

Here, for anyone worried about seeing someone breastfeeding. You need one of these.

Onsera3 Fri 21-Mar-14 12:14:48

I feel sorry for blah because it sounds like her and her family have a real problem with having to see breasts. It must be very restrictive. Summer holidays to the continent would be out- might be exposed to breasts at beaches. In fact, I've seen nipples in shower gel adverts on tv and pharmacy windows in Paris so I think they must have to avoid France full stop. Plus the newsagents here would be a minefield- all those men's mags. People sometimes read The Sun on public transport so that could be risky. And now not even a shoe shop is safe!

GandalfsBeard Fri 21-Mar-14 12:16:35

For those people may I suggest the following if breastfeeding offends:

1. Looking away.
2. Fucking off somewhere else.
3. Covering up... your own head with a paper bag.

grin grin

Yonineedaminute Fri 21-Mar-14 12:18:48

I really do not understand why people get so frothy about breastfeeding in public. It's just feeding a child, seriously what is the problem? Why are people so uncomfortable with it? I can kind of understand not wanting to feed in front of certain men you know (I never wanted to feed in front of fil or my friends DHs). But if its just strangers in the shops why would anyone give a crap?

And I am about as far from the 'breastapo' as you can get - hated breastfeeding and ff from fairly early on both times...

fromparistoberlin73 Fri 21-Mar-14 12:19:15

"Basically Amanda we are meant to hide away out of sight for the what, 3-6 months

Thats just bullshit!!!!

there is a huge difference between feeding in a park/cafe/bench to feeding inside a commercial establishment

NaturalBaby Fri 21-Mar-14 12:20:35

Yanbu. If you can bottle feed a baby while buying shoes then why the hell can't you breast feed a baby while buying shoes?

UserNameDenied Fri 21-Mar-14 12:21:10

Are you sure she was grumpy about the bf though confused Might she just have thought you looked uncomfortable and was a little put out that you dismissed her suggestion. More that she was being bossy rather than she was disapproving of you BF???

pianodoodle Fri 21-Mar-14 12:21:46

It's there shop and it's up to them what they find acceptable

Hahaha! It's actually not.

I'd love to know why everyone else needs to be shown consideration. Consideration for what, exactly?

LurcioLovesFrankie Fri 21-Mar-14 12:22:44

"there is a huge difference between feeding in a park/cafe/bench to feeding inside a commercial establishment"

Not in law, there isn't. After all, there was a case recently (went all the way to the supreme court IIRC) where a couple running a B&B were successfully prosecuted for refusing a double room to a gay couple. You cannot legally say "my personal preferences and prejudices as proprietor/employee outweigh the law of the land, take your custom elsewhere."

tiktok Fri 21-Mar-14 12:28:32

Did the assistant seriously expect you to troop along to the 'feeding room' with four other children? Or would she have babysat while you left them there in the shop?

The feeding rooms are for women who would find it easier or more comfortable or convenient to feed in....they're not there for any other reason, are they?

Why is staying with one's other kids and continuing to select shoes while the baby is feeding 'showcasing your rights'? (blah's term)?

There are plenty of things in life that could offend other people. I have a relative in her 90s who was very uncomfortable being tended to by a black nurse when she was in hospital recently. She knew she couldn't say anything about it, so she kept quiet, apart from mumbling and moaning to me. I think she also recognised she was being unreasonable. I certainly told her so! Perhaps blah might think her discomfort should have been pandered to, and another nurse made to look after her instead?

Doctorbrownbear Fri 21-Mar-14 12:30:20

This post is trying to be provocotive... I do not believe that you would not be allowed to bf where ever you want and perhaps the shop assistant was telling you about the room in case you wabted to go there. Do you need an ego stroke or something? Good on you for bf'ing now just go away and do it (wherever you please).

well she was allowed brown. Ultimately the assistant served her. Which is why I pointed out further down/up thread that the assistant hadn't actually done anything wrong as such, just rude and very poor customer service.

K8Middleton Fri 21-Mar-14 12:32:58

It's bloody difficult to buy children's shoes two floors up, away from the err, children's shoes!

FabBakerGirl Fri 21-Mar-14 12:35:19

It seems so much worse that it is some women moaning about this. I would be interested in what a man would be saying.

I was made to feel really uncomfortable by a Sainsbury's café manager when my PFB was 9 weeks old and was left shaking angryangry.

drivenfromdistraction Fri 21-Mar-14 12:35:21

YANBU and it's against the law to try and make you go somewhere else to bf, so the assistant was clearly BU.

I bf all over the place and no-one raised any issues, so I don't think most normal people have a problem with it (or not enough of one to make a fuss about it). There's just no big deal to latching a baby on while you do something else. Particularly if you have several DC, it's just a part of the process of general living - and a brilliant way to shut up a noisy baby when you're trying to get something done for the other DC.

lol at tiktok
"Oh that's so kind. I'll leave them with you, would you bring me a black coffee while I relax and feed? There's a budget of £38 per pair and don't let them choose the ones with the toys in the soles. Cheers!"

K8Middleton Fri 21-Mar-14 12:37:37

Do you need an ego stroke or something? Good on you for bf'ing now just go away and do it

That's a pretty shitty thing to say. Why type that?

FabBakerGirl Fri 21-Mar-14 12:41:29

Blah - your right not to have to see a nipple for a nano second and or a babies right to eat. When you meet a baby who can understand some delicate little flowers can't cope with seeing a small body part and they have to wait to feed, let me know. You won't suffer at all from seeing a nipple, a baby will not be happy at being forced to wait to feed when he/she is hungry.

pianodoodle Fri 21-Mar-14 12:44:37

I think some people get the impression that feeding rooms were designed for their convenience not for the mother's.

fluffyraggies Fri 21-Mar-14 12:45:00

One day this debate will be viewed with amusement and amazement.

I sincerely hope that when my DD is grown up she'll be astonished to learn that when she was a baby there were still some people around who thought that breast feeding was distasteful, something men and children (!? the irony) shouldn't be subjected to, and honestly thought it was ok to expect BFing mothers to respect that. And that they were militant and trouble making if they did not.

Some posts here honestly put me in mind of some of our older generations views on 'darkies', for eg. and of the disabled, or those with MH issues.

Caitlin17 Fri 21-Mar-14 12:47:32

Re "it's their shop" it is actually. Shops can decide who they let in or not. The OP was buying shoes but she'd be on very thin ice if she'd just decided Clarks was the nearest and most convenient place.

As for the assistant telling the OP about the feeding room , I'd have assumed she was trying to be helpful.

pianodoodle Fri 21-Mar-14 12:48:36

fluffyraggies I really hope you're right!

Caitlin17 Fri 21-Mar-14 12:48:54

Sorry meant "the nearest place with no intention of buying anything"

It may be their shop, but if they discriminate, ie if they refused to serve the OP, they would have broken the law.
Tutting and being grumpy is not against the law. Pretty stupid customer service though.

LurcioLovesFrankie Fri 21-Mar-14 12:51:13

"Re "it's their shop" it is actually. Shops can decide who they let in or not."

Aaahhh (bangs head repeatedly on desk). No they can't. Not if it would be discriminatory to do so. A BNP shopkeeper cannot refuse to serve non-white customers. A homophobic B&B owner cannot refuse to let a room to a gay couple (that one, as I pointed out up thread, went all the way to the supreme court - the gay couple won). It is illegal to harass a woman for breast feeding.

caruthers Fri 21-Mar-14 12:53:37

Breastfeeding in public (In fact anywhere where mothers want to or feel comfortable to) needs to be encouraged and other peoples 'Feelings' should not be taken into account.

However there will be tut tutters and the odd ogler that's going to be par for the course isn't it?

parttimer79 Fri 21-Mar-14 12:55:07

Blahblah she was not taking up space feeding she was buying shoes and feeding. I believe they call it multitasking, in your case like thinking and breathing, more difficult than it looks no?

I personally think it should be illegal to breastfeed while holding up a bank with a sawn off shotgun.

caruthers Fri 21-Mar-14 12:57:53

I personally think it should be illegal to breastfeed while holding up a bank with a sawn off shotgun

I too hate people that do that.

Just who do they think they are?

fluffyraggies Fri 21-Mar-14 13:02:00

I wonder how long it will take for it to become properly socially unacceptable to voice views like this? ''Shops can let in who they like'', for eg. about breast feeding.

Can you imagine, in a debate here about race discrimination, how many posters would really feeling comfortable posting ''well ..... shops can serve who they like .......''. hmm Not many i recon.

Caitlin17 Fri 21-Mar-14 13:05:39

They can't refuse a service. If OP wanted to buy shoes and feed they can't throw her out. If she had no intention of buying shoes they could ask her to leave.

AnythingNotEverything Fri 21-Mar-14 13:07:04

If you can see a nipple when a mum is breastfeeding (or even latching or preparing to feed), you're definitely looking too hard.

Have some manners.

OP, YANBU. In fact I think you're a superhero for school shoe shopping with a small baby in tow. I salute you!

Caitlin17 Fri 21-Mar-14 13:08:19

And shops can and do ban people. That is legal. It's got nothing to do with this subject but shops can in extreme cases get interdicts against known shoplifters.

But they can't ban people for reasons that come down to discrimination!
We know shops can ban individuals, and they are well within their rights to. What they can't do is ban "all the gays".

pianodoodle Fri 21-Mar-14 13:12:02

There's no law that says I must be discreet.

The fact that I am discreet is consideration enough for those who feel entitled to it.

K8Middleton Fri 21-Mar-14 13:14:26

And shops can and do ban people. That is legal.

Not if it is because the person possesses a protected characteristic as outlined in Equality Act 2010. In this case there are two protected characteristics: directly pregnancy/maternity and indirectly sex (since only women can breastfeed).

OhGood Fri 21-Mar-14 13:14:41

Feed your baby wherever and whenever you want.

Lemonfairydust Fri 21-Mar-14 13:16:29

YADNBU. It's not the staff's job to dictate to you where you should feed your child. I would of asked her how she intended for you to look at the shoes and make a purchase if you had to go two floors up to the feeding room.

K8Middleton Fri 21-Mar-14 13:18:09

Eugh. I hate all this "discreet" business. It's just a euphemism for being a bit of a bigot isn't it?

I do not believe, in all the history of the world, a woman has ever pushed her breasts in anyone's face while breastfeeding, or climbed onto someone's lap, or taken both boobs out at once in public, or shouted "look at meeeeeeee!" with a loud hailer while feeding... or done anything really "indiscreet".

I hate "discrete" breastfeeding even more [pedant]

Caitlin17 Fri 21-Mar-14 13:18:31

My point is Clarke is a shop which sells shoes. The OP was buying shoes and feeding . Fine. No problem.Had she had no intention of buying shoes then suggesting she used the feeding room is not refusing service. Some of the posts here are suggesting bf anywhere is fine always.

drivenfromdistraction Fri 21-Mar-14 13:21:01

Haha KB. I was about to say that I have always fed discretely - i.e. one breast at a time.

I think you read between the lines. Anywhere you would normally have the right to be. The issue is the lack of intention to buy shoes. The breastfeeding is completely irrelevant to your argument.

FabBakerGirl Fri 21-Mar-14 13:25:31

Are we really such a breast/child/people hating country that shop staff would refuse a woman a seat in their shop because her baby needs a feed but she isn't buying?

I think it would be mean (and utterly stupid for a shop like Clarks) but I don't think it'd be illegal.

LoveBeingCantThinkOfAName Fri 21-Mar-14 13:37:40

It was the assistants issue, you were not in the wrong.

K8Middleton Fri 21-Mar-14 13:41:09

Oh I'd move someone on if they were in the way, breastfeeding or not!

But then I'm equal ops me grin

That said, for the price of children's shoes I think they should provide all shoppers with a cup of tea, a bun and use of the loo. It's a bloody awful business.

pianodoodle Fri 21-Mar-14 13:45:05

Bloody hell if I only went into shops where I could afford to buy something my strolls into town would be severely limited.

All I'd ever get to look at would be tat grin

TrinityRhino Fri 21-Mar-14 13:53:02

blah, your comment about you not wanting to sit next to someone feeding.

thats fine for you to be so crazily offended

but don't say 'and neither would most people'

because thats bollocks

WilsonFrickett Fri 21-Mar-14 13:55:19

TBH for the price of children's shoes at Clarks I'd expect a lovely, comfy bed for some lying down feeding and a unicorn to bring me a cup of tea while I was doing it...

Nennypops Fri 21-Mar-14 14:08:29

Blah: They have, lilke most stores, a no food or drinks in store policy

just saying

Really? Because I was swigging from a bottle of water as I waited last time I was in Clarke's but nobody turned a hair.

When shops do have that policy, it is directed against the sort of food and drinks that may cause a mess if spilt, or that smell. Clearly neither applies to breastfeeding, and I can't seriously see anyone chucking someone out for bottlefeeding a baby either.

Caitlin, people don't just go into shops to buy: they also go to look. Any shop that tries to prevent that will go out of business very quickly. If you were to go into Clarke's and wander around with a breastfeeding baby they wouldn't be entitled to chuck you out. If you blatantly went in solely to feed, they could, but again do you seriously think they would if you weren't taking up much space? After all, in a couple of year's time that baby and any siblings will need shoes, do they really want to alienate his mother and all her friends from the local mother and baby group, nursery, playgroup, MN etc etc?

FabBakerGirl Fri 21-Mar-14 14:08:45

I have only bought my child shops in Clarks once and they were badly fitted. I got a voucher refund hmm which I took to an independent shop and she swopped the voucher for a pair of shoes that fit. Not allowed really. Good customer service. Only shop we go in and I must spend £800-1000 in there per year on my children's shoes.

SugarMiceInTheRain Fri 21-Mar-14 14:18:34

YANBU, I walked around Boots this morning BFing my 5 week old. Traipsing 2 floors up with other children in tow would be far more hassle and probably by the time you got there your LO would be inconsolable.

Amiawake Fri 21-Mar-14 14:22:45

Nothing to add except YANBU at all, in any way. I bf my 12 week old when he requires it wherever we happen to be.

NeedsAsockamnesty Fri 21-Mar-14 15:12:59


Given that you have a cock (the one you were talking about waving around in the street on the last breast feeding thread) and you have a husband and children,

Would you be quite so comfortable with a shop delaying your service or refusing to serve you based only on that as you are about it being due to breast feeding?

Jenijena Fri 21-Mar-14 15:18:34

I fed in the nursery 'set' in ikea once. It was lovely smile

NeedsAsockamnesty Fri 21-Mar-14 15:29:55

I've done that in ikea as well, the only thing any staff member said to me was "she's so cute and tiny"

Oh God, every time there's something in the media about women exercising their right to not be harassed when breastfeeding in a public place my mum trots out this story about a woman she once knew who said she saw a woman in Kew Gardens who let her '3 or 4 year old' climb on her lap, lift up her jumper and start feeding from her bare breasts 'in front of everyone!'

To my mum this urban legend alleged incident that she heard about at least second-hand is proof that any BFing woman who stands up for herself against narrow-minded bigots is doing it because she is a complete exhibitionist.

I just don't understand people who get worked up about something they can't actually see, because, let's face it, the Clarks woman couldn't see the OP's bare breast, she could just see a baby having a cuddle, with its face partially covered by the woman's top. Just what is offensive, or distracting, about that?

Misspixietrix Fri 21-Mar-14 18:55:14

A no food or drinks policy! grin. Bloody kid! Should have just cried quietly for his food in case his mother whipped a fit out. Prudes.

Albertatata Fri 21-Mar-14 19:11:51


FreeWee Fri 21-Mar-14 21:35:28

Only read the first page but how the OP puts it is fine by me and totally makes sense. New mums who are nervous about feeding in public probably welcome feeding rooms. Mums of many who are happy to multi task with the older ones whilst feeding the youngest can crack on and do what suits them as far as I'm concerned. 4 biggies and youngie all crammed into a feeding room I totally get the OP's point and think she was being very considerate. There's a lot of bf bashing going on at the moment about a mother's right to do xyz versus a member of the public's right not to have to see her doing xyz. Pffff. Seriously. It's feeding a human being. Just crack on. The shop assistant was being helpful the first time she mentioned the feeding room and a pain the other times she hinted you'd be better off there.

Misspixietrix Sat 22-Mar-14 08:14:06

Can you imagine the alternate AIBU? I whipped a bottle out to feed young DC there and then. I thought about the feeding room but didn't think it would be a good idea with 4other DCs who wouldnt be so keen on patiently waiting and disturb the others quietly feeding. The Assistant pointed out there was a feeding room. gave reason above for not doing so. Family all think IWBU and I would have put others off their shopping if they saw me feeding with a bottle. Exactly. Never going to happen. It doesnt make the baby's food any less important just because it comes out of a boob!

TheRealAmandaClarke Sat 22-Mar-14 08:31:43

Well quite misspixietrix
Good point.

Misspixietrix Sat 22-Mar-14 08:37:40

Thanks therealamandaclarke I can totally see where OP is coming from. no chance of me having another DC now but if I did. I would have done exactly the same as OP. Because I know that Dd would have moaned she was bored and Ds would have been having a right good nose and asking lots of questions to mums who would just want to be left alone. I don't like looking at girls with their racks out on newspapers yet The Sun forced it on me the other week when it was on their front page instead of page 3. I have no problem in women using their rack for what it was intended to be used for in the first place. The amount of prudishness around breastfeeding never ceases to amuse me.

TheFlumpFlan Sat 22-Mar-14 10:41:58

I'm the OP, if anyones interested:

Personally I have no issue with not flashing as my boobs are nearly flat, how they make milk I don't know It doesn't give me more right to feed, but it made the reaction weirder. She saw a cuddle basically.

Sorry but I think breastfeeding covers are about as practical as burkas, in fact the ones I've seen draw quite a bit of attention to breastfeeding. Carrying another mound of fabric around is not my plan.

It was a clarks concession in a dept store.

I don't need a badge/ medal for bf some of my children as some feel I want. My motivation is mainly laziness and my own ease, not making a statement.

Misspixietrix Sat 22-Mar-14 10:48:25

Sorry but I think breastfeeding covers are as practical as burkas . OP in 3 2 1... duck! [grins].

FabBakerGirl Sat 22-Mar-14 14:16:57

I wish I had had MN when I had my PFB as I did feel uneasy when feeding my child when out. I was never sure if I was allowed after the supermarket manager told me I couldn't feed my newborn in the café. By the time I had baby 2 and baby 3 I learnt to latch them on without looking at anyone and how to cover as much as possible. I also cared less but it was a difficult time when I had PND and struggled generally.

ShadowFall Sat 22-Mar-14 14:22:48

I've never actually seen anyone use a nursing cover in real life, so I've just googled them.

I can't comment on the practicality of them, but they certainly look very conspicuous in the pictures I've just seen.

nicecupoftea2013 Sat 22-Mar-14 15:28:52

Clarks are a business and customers want to try on shoes before they buy and some customers like to sit down. They may not be against breastfeeding, just that they would prefer it if you used an alternative room supplied.

Would people post on AIBU, if it was the other way round? "I couldnt try shoes on because some woman was breastfeeding when there were other places for her?"

Gileswithachainsaw Sat 22-Mar-14 15:31:33

But she'd be sat there regardless as she was buying shoes

TheScience Sat 22-Mar-14 15:44:45

Exactly - the OP didn't just wander into a random shop and decide to breastfeed in the middle of it, she was there as a customer buying shoes.

YWNBU at all OP.

TheRealAmandaClarke Sat 22-Mar-14 16:58:21

Did you even read the op nicecupoftea?

fromparistoberlin73 Mon 24-Mar-14 08:39:30

Sorry but I think breastfeeding covers are about as practical as burkas

with DS1 I flummoxed around, failing to learn how to BF and got myself into a huge picklE. basically I was so bloody unconfortable about BF (and so crap at it!) that I was housebound for far longer than I should have been. I am also quite busty which did not help.

with DS2 I decided that something needed to change, so I got myself a simple black bebe a lait cover

all I can say is it changed my life. I wear alot of black anyway and I was able to travel around my city, and the EU feeling so much more confident

cafes, planes, waiting rooms, Ryanair queues, hospital wards, playgroups, large family get togethers

people are so so scathing, but my cover gave me an amount of freedom and confidence that was worth 10000 x the �35 I spent on it, and my child was BF exclusively for far longer

so please get that for some people , they are really cool

Purplepoodle Mon 24-Mar-14 10:41:41

Sorry haven't gone through the whole thread. I'm an experienced bf and have no problem feeding in public. I am aware that my bf could make other people uncomfortable so I wouldn't actively engage a shop assistant while bf but would have no problems sitting on a bench ect.

I used to get very uncomfortable around bf before I had children so I wouldn't force someone to interact with me while feeding.

drivenfromdistraction Mon 24-Mar-14 10:54:59

I wouldn't force someone to interact with me while feeding.

That's very squeamish noble of you Purplepoodle, but not very practical for OP who is in a shop with a squealing baby and several older children. OP needs to get the kids shoes bought. The baby needs to be fed. I think a shoe shop is a particularly easy situation as you're sitting down anyway. Don't know about OP, but I find that I am sitting in a shoe shop for ages when I have to get shoes for all DC. Getting the baby fed while I do it is purely practical. And the shop assistant is generally looking at the kids feet, not my chest. No-one's forcing her/him to do anything remotely unpleasant.

justasmallone Mon 24-Mar-14 10:58:35

Ofgs of course yanbu, actualky very considerate if you ask me. Sometimes its hard for people to understand if they havent been in that situation. (Mum if 4 here)

tulipsaredelicious Mon 24-Mar-14 11:05:02

Haven't read this thread but can guess where it's gone.



Sorry for the caps but I can't believe we're still having this conversation.

As for feeding covers - they're unneccessary but if some people prefer to use them and their LO doesn't object then fine. It's no one's business.

Our culture is so fucked up WRT boobs, the only thing to do is keep calm and carry on.

Oh, did I say?


Fusedog Mon 24-Mar-14 11:34:14

Confirms my view that a lot of this breast feeding this had become political

Why would you feed to the shop floor when a room has been provided

NeedsAsockamnesty Mon 24-Mar-14 11:37:55

Why should she fusedog?

The feeding room was two floors up from where she needed to be,she was trying to buy shoes.

If you think feeding a baby or buying shoes are political actions then you are part of the problem

Gileswithachainsaw Mon 24-Mar-14 11:41:44

Have u ever seen a feeding room? They are usually off the toilets or changing area and stink. Wouldn't feed a rat in one of those.

And why should she drag her kids up two floors?

TheScience Mon 24-Mar-14 11:43:56

Fusedog, did you not read the OP? She wanted to by shoes, not go to a different floor with several children to sit in a stinky room. How is that political?

KatnipEvergreen Mon 24-Mar-14 11:47:55

YANBU. May as well plug in and go for it, buying shoes for more than one child often takes longer than a feed anyway! It shouldn't bother anyone.

5madthings Mon 24-Mar-14 11:54:14

Bollocks was the op being political, she was buying shoes for her older children and whilst doing so her baby needed feeding so she fed the baby. Why should she trained up two floors with her other children in tow to go and feed the baby in what is likely to be a nappy changing room which they have stuck a chair in and then called it a feeding and changing room. Who wants to sit next to a stinking nappy bin to feed their baby.

tiktok Mon 24-Mar-14 11:59:06

Please explain, Fusedog. She had four other children with her. She was buying shoes for them. What is political about seeking the most convenient way of multi-tasking?

It's ok to say 'oops, silly me, I didn't read that bit. My stupid prejudices about bf women meeting their babies' needs got in the way of me making a thought-through response.'


zoemaguire Mon 24-Mar-14 11:59:57

Why would a woman breastfeeding stop somebody else buying shoes nicecupoftea? She wasn't barricading the store room...

NeedsAsockamnesty Mon 24-Mar-14 12:01:57

The other day I was with my littlest baby and her dad in Burger King I went to sit in the window because I'm fond of watching the world go by and he said " I know it's fashionable at the moment but is the window the best place to sit"

A lady overheard and much to my amusement said "it's not fashion it's just normal" then looked at me and smiled, I think she was a mumsnetter

Gileswithachainsaw Mon 24-Mar-14 12:04:48

I worked in catering/pubs for many years. Only once have I ever had a complaint about someone feeding their baby.

These "offended" people really do seem to be in the major minority and not remotely worth worrying about.

NeedsAsockamnesty Mon 24-Mar-14 12:06:38

How did you deal with the complaint giles?

Gileswithachainsaw Mon 24-Mar-14 12:08:01

Asked her if she'd eat her dinner in the toilet and that she's free to move tables just let me know the number so I can change the ticket.

Gileswithachainsaw Mon 24-Mar-14 12:12:12

She just walked off with a cats bum grin

oscarwilde Mon 24-Mar-14 12:41:31

Slightly off topic but I did have a fitting for a feeding bra while in labour.... the shop assistant did do a double take but the service was welcoming, helpful and pretty speedy grin

YANBU - and the attitude of your family is appalling My sister, mum and friend all maintain it is unreasonable to publically feed unless you must, and stores provide a feeding room so people like me don't take up space feeding or put off others shopping

Iggi101 Mon 24-Mar-14 12:52:16

I haven't rtft so apologies if this has already been said.
We need some prosections to happen to businesses who continue to try to prevent babies from receiving milk. This may make employers actually train their staff in how to deal with this situation (ie don't do anything!) and make them think twice about such harassment in the future.

MistressDeeCee Mon 24-Mar-14 13:00:23

Well - you had 4 children with you, you were shopping and needed to get bits done, and feeding room was 2 floors up. You'd have had to take your DCs with you into the feeding room, too. I felt tired just reading all that! So I dont personally think YWBU at all.

The weird attitude some have to breastefeeding in this country still surprises me. Makes it seem as if breasts are ok on page 3 of a newspaper, tv for instance, but using them for feeding is a dirty act that shouldnt be seen.

Im not British/didnt fully grow up so possibly thats why I have a different attitude to it in that, before I came here I didnt realise people even batted an eyelid at breastfeeding and that it can be viewed as unseemly..or even un-natural, that a woman would breastfeed in public. Im not saying whilst growing up new mums were breastfeeding publicly all over the place; but in the corner of a shop, at a cafe, at relatives homes when we were visiting do see it. Its perfectly normal, not even a debate.

Still, it is different here so that's that. But common sense should still prevail in terms of a woman accompanied by a baby & other DCs on a shopping trip. Id fully understand why she didnt want to traipse 2 floors up and jam into a feeding room with her brood. Do people complain when they see women breastfeeding publicly...?

SaveTheMockingBird Mon 24-Mar-14 13:25:21

Ofcourse YANBU. I would have done the same and probably have done very similar. I have breastfed in public a lot and never encountered any bad feeling from anyone. The shop assistant was being unreasonable.

Gwlondon Mon 24-Mar-14 13:41:18


Sorry but I think breastfeeding covers are about as practical as burkas, in fact the ones I've seen draw quite a bit of attention to breastfeeding. Carrying another mound of fabric around is not my plan.


I feel like that too about the nursing covers. But I can see how some people really want to be covered up. (After I mentioned it on a mumsnet thread and people responded about difficulties getting a latch etc) I could never get a scarf to stay in place.

I think we have such a long way to go until people are more relaxed about. I BF for years but still don't know where to look when my friends feed. I try and look away while they get their latch then look back after!!

Also there needs to be better designed and reasonably priced nursing clothes available. And more mums just doing it where and when they need to. Needs to be normalised.

Gwlondon Mon 24-Mar-14 13:46:13

That should have read "more better designed and reasonably priced nursing clothes....."

halfdrunktea Mon 24-Mar-14 15:05:49

Yanbu - the feeding room is there if you want it, but it is not the only place to feed. I would have done the same as the OP.

MistressDeeCee Thu 27-Mar-14 01:36:57

Feeding rooms & Childrens' clothes department should be on the ground floor of stores, so as to make it easy for parents. Its rubbish that they're shoved out of the way on higher floors of shops. Child-friendliness is selective to the point of being not child-friendly at all. Its paying lipservice, often begrudgingly it appears. A parents' money is the same as any other persons' money - so give them the convenience that others not encumbered by baby & buggy are afforded.

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