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Asked to breast feed in a separate room

(76 Posts)
Smellyfeet123 Mon 01-Dec-14 23:40:37

Hello, this is my first ever post, I considered posting on Aibu but didn't really want a bf debate (and was also a little scared- ha!) but I feel I was treated badly today, but dh thinks it's not a big deal- what do you think?
Whilst out today, I was a little early for an eye appointment in a store. There is a separate waiting corridor, I said I was a little early, could I just go through to the waiting area and feed my baby before my appointment.
The lady actually said "bottle or breast?" �� when I replied breast, she shook her head, made an uncomfortable sort of squeak and said I couldn't feed but she would show me to a separate room. When I asked why she said other customers had complained before and since then Breast feeding was not allowed in the waiting corridor.
I was a little gob smacked, she was very friendly and took me to an empty eye room and shut the door.
I would have refused to go to the toilets to feed, but the room was comfortable and clean but I felt like a social lepa for wanting to feed my baby!
After my appointment I spoke to her again and told her I thought the whole thing was a bit ridiculous and upsetting and she agreed and she fb her own baby, but that's what they had to do.
I don't feel it's right to be asked to feed in isolation, but my dh thinks the room was comfy and I'm making a big deal out of it- surely it's the principle?
Opinions are very welcome please smile

LittleBairn Mon 01-Dec-14 23:43:00

Her actions were illegal. I would go to senior management and make a formal complaint.

BiscuitMillionaire Mon 01-Dec-14 23:43:27

Your right to bf in public places is protected by law, but this sounds like a bit of a grey area, as they showed you to a different room. I totally agree they're in the wrong, though. Who the hell is offended by bfing?

CheeseEqualsHappiness Mon 01-Dec-14 23:44:32

I think this is terrible - I don't think she should have asked in the first place and they should address the complainers and set them straight rather than the other way round. You are right to have said this was not on and is a big deal

LittleBairn Mon 01-Dec-14 23:44:45

And if it is company policy exposé them As someone who has regular eye appointments I would want to know the company so I could void them.

LittleBairn Mon 01-Dec-14 23:46:12

Even providing a different room is illegal because the OP can feed anywhere she likes.

VinoTime Mon 01-Dec-14 23:49:15

It doesn't matter whether you breast or bottle feed. It's a non-issue. She should never have asked you this.

Make a complaint, OP.

islandmama Mon 01-Dec-14 23:52:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FlyingByTheSeatof Mon 01-Dec-14 23:52:32

I would have been delighted to have been able to breast feed alone in a room and not in front of the public as for me it's a very private thing to breast feed. I hated breast feeding in public and would have welcomed the room.
I think yabu to expect that everyone from all generations should be ok with watching you.
I don't care what people think but the older generation who are very likely to be at an opticians, and others, would feel really uncomfortable having to sit next to you when there is an alternative. You should consider everyone in these situations and not just presume that just because it's a natural thing others will not feel awkward.
You were treated respectfully and offered a nice room. You are arrogant if you think otherwise.

DixieNormas Mon 01-Dec-14 23:53:08

You have the right by law to feed where ever you choose, they can offer you a private room if you would like one but not insist that you use it.

I'd put in a complaint, if other people don't like bf they can always sit in the spare room!

Smellyfeet123 Mon 01-Dec-14 23:54:36

Thanks for the speedy replies, I've already emailed a complaint asking if they are aware of the equality act 2010 regarding breast feeding and what is their policy regarding this, so will wait for their reply!
I knew it was wrong, but as she put me in a decent room, was doubting myself if it was worth making a fuss or not. She commented on what a good boy he'd been after, I said that's cus I've fed him and people would complain more about a screaming hungry baby than me discreetly feeding, she looked suitably shame faced!

DarylDixonsDarlin Mon 01-Dec-14 23:54:52

Am I the only person hoping the store is the high street opticians with a current thread on MN? grin

I'd have whipped my nork out right where I was at the front desk

I wonder if, when this kinda thing happens, they think they are doing mums (new ones especially) a favour, by providing a quiet private area...but it doesn't sound like it in this case confused

Thehedgehogsong Mon 01-Dec-14 23:55:13

Did you ask if it was OK for you to feed in the waiting room? Why ask? You can breastfeed anywhere you are entitled to be. I'd have been more forceful, but I know it can take time to build up confidence.

I always think of breastfeeding in public as a public service, you are helping people get over themselves by exposing them to it and normalising it grin

DarylDixonsDarlin Mon 01-Dec-14 23:58:25

And those saying OP is BU, it doesn't.matter what any of us think really - the law is clear that a woman can breastfeed anywhere that she herself is allowed to be

Smellyfeet123 Mon 01-Dec-14 23:58:26

I was treated respectfully by the lady, she was polite and the room was clean. However, it just felt wrong to be shut away when I really don't feel I'm doing anything wrong. I'm a very discreet feeder and very aware of not making others feel uncomfortable, but I know I can't really control that.
Interesting to hear others views though x

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Tue 02-Dec-14 00:00:47

It is clearly unlawful as per the Equality Act 2010 to insist a breastfeeding woman go in another room when she would otherwise have been allowed to sit with everyone else but for the breastfeeding.

If people are offended by a woman breastfeeding then they should go and sit in the other room where their issues can't upset anyone. Or they should cover up - perhaps with a paper bag for their head.

It is of course fine to offer a nice, clean room for a breastfeeding woman and a glass of water but insisting she hides away is not on.

LittleBairn Tue 02-Dec-14 00:01:37

No one made to go into another room to feed a baby is being treated respectfully.

Luckystar82 Tue 02-Dec-14 00:03:51

Quite appalled by this, totally illegal. Name and shame

steppemum Tue 02-Dec-14 00:05:43

well it is interesting, if she had smiled and said of course, we do have a separate room which is more comfortable if you would like to use it? Then you would have felt as if they had laid on good facilities (because a room with a decent chair is going to be more comfortable than a hard chair in a corridor)

Please complain, it is only by protesting that things change.

EmbarrassedPossessed Tue 02-Dec-14 00:06:40

You weren't treated respectfully, though. She had no right to ask how you were feeding your baby, and no right to tell you to go to a different room. If you were using a bottle to feed your baby then she would not have had a problem, so she discriminated against you based on your feeding method. This is contrary to the Equalities Act as you have rightly mentioned.

Next time, don't ask if you are allowed to feed your baby, as you know that you are allowed to by law.

As for "Some people find knockers on display uncomfortable"... well it's extremely unlikely that anyone would have seen much of a breast on display, and even if they had then the simple solution is for them not to look, rather than to discriminate against a breastfeeding mother.

Smellyfeet123 Tue 02-Dec-14 00:06:51

Hedge hog- I'm actually a confidant feeder, this is my 2nd baby and I've fed all over the place! This is the first time I've ever had an issue which is why I think it caught me off guard.
I would never normally ask to feed, but I couldn't get to the waiting room without going to the counter first. If I'd already started feeding and was asked if stop, I wouldn't be happy, but to be asked to go into a room before i started felt both unreasonable and reasonable at the same time! What would they have said if there were no free rooms? X

weebairn Tue 02-Dec-14 08:54:31

I want to know which company this is.

Smellyfeet I sympathise, I am a confident bf and have fed absolutely everywhere, but when faced with such polite disapproval I'm not sure what I would have done…!

BTW I totally disagree that the older generation don't like seeing breastfeeding - I've never had anything but little smiles from old ladies and gents. I think it's our mothers generation that weren't so exposed to it. Also agree that you really don't have to bloody look and a baby's food comes before someone's right to not see something - they can look away!

LastOneDancing Tue 02-Dec-14 09:07:53

hmm 'Knockers on display' - that's one way to make feeding a baby sound really crass.

Glad you've raised it with them OP. It's great to offer an alternative but someone is unaware of the legislation, either the assistant or the management.

lighteningmcmama Tue 02-Dec-14 09:16:18

Personally I think providing you a separate room was a nice thing to do. But she was rude about it. I feed anywhere and everywhere but I use a nursing cover. I would be complaining about the rudeness not the provision of a different room. But I know this goes against the grain of MN, and the law.

50ShadesofNope Tue 02-Dec-14 09:30:32

Providing a breastfeeding mother with a separate room is only nice when it's what she wants.

If she doesn't feel comfortable in the waiting room then it's great to have somewhere comfortable she can go if there's the space in the building.

Giving her no option and insisting she must go elsewhere because "they've had customer complaints" is breaking the law. I'm not sure why this is is such a difficult concept for stores...

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