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Cafe Nero and breastfeeding

(17 Posts)
netguru2 Tue 09-Dec-14 14:13:09

I was a customer in our local store today twice. Once with a friend and then when we had been shopping for a while, I returned alone to feed my 7 month old baby.

It was 1:15pm and the store was busy. I was fortunate to secure a small sofa and sat with my baby to feed. There were two tub chairs in the group as well. After about 10 minutes, a man walked up to my table and proceeded to tie a collie dog to the table leg. I was surprised as I did not know that dogs were permitted there but content that he was going to sit in one of the tub chairs. He did not, instead he left to line up to get a coffee. The dog, tied at a low coffee table on a long leash tried to get at the baby. It did so in a playful not aggressive way but I was nevertheless scared that without the owner present there was nothing I could do. The owner was the other end of the shop in line and, given the amount of time I had waited on a busy lunchtime, would be at least 10 minutes. I had no choice but to get up and as there were no other suitable seats (with arms for breastfeeding) I had to stop feeding and move.

Another couple close to me were equally appalled and offered me a seat next to them but it was a standard high chair at a table and I'm no good at feeding on those I'm afraid. I packed up the baby and went to the line where I said to the man that I could not believe that he had tied his dog alone where it could harass a mother who was trying to feed a baby. Your staff without doubt heard, looked uncomfortable and then looked the other way. He said he would move the dog when he could. A member of staff walked over to the dog but simply petted it and left again. No-one said anything to me and I left - rather upset to be honest.

I realise that this incident was 90 per cent the fault of the other customer who should not have behaved as he did. However I was the one left with no choice but to leave the shop. It is impossible to explain how vulnerable you feel breastfeeding in public anyway and to be harassed by a dog who could harm the baby is simply unacceptable.

I don't know why I am as upset by this as I am but for some reason it has really got to me.

netguru2 Tue 09-Dec-14 14:14:09

I should add, the dog could reach my lap. I had to push it away three times.

magpieginglebells Tue 09-Dec-14 14:17:40

I agree the man was unreasonable to leave his dog unattended and the staff should have done something but I don't think it's a breastfeeding issue, as it would have been a problem breastfeeding or not, baby or not in my opinion.

netguru2 Tue 09-Dec-14 14:21:06

magpie - you are right although I am not that bothered by dogs normally. I guess I just feel that much more vulnerable at the moment and more need of support.

CorporateRockWhore Tue 09-Dec-14 14:26:50

You could have asked the man to move his dog before you packed up to leave though?

RainyLion Tue 09-Dec-14 14:28:48

I agree I don't see what this has to do with breast feeding. The man was unreasonable full stop but I can't see how you feeding had anything to do with it, sorry.

netguru2 Tue 09-Dec-14 14:33:35

I guess I felt it was suitable for a breastfeeding topic as if I hadn't have been feeding I would have been able to move to any other seat, would not have felt so vulnerable, would not have had a screaming baby when I got up to get away from the dog and would not have been so shocked that he thought it an appropriate course of action. I also would not have been so hormonally upset or fearful of confrontation.

That's me told though.

FunkyBoldRibena Tue 09-Dec-14 14:35:18

Dogs in cafes? Noooo - dogs should not be in cafes full stop.

MakeMeWarmThisWinter Tue 09-Dec-14 14:43:27

That's horrible, I would have been really upset too sad and the member of staff petting the dog and not saying anything to you was incredibly rude!

He was at fault mainly, but I'm surprised they allow dogs in at all.

Having said that, he probably didn't realise you were bf and you probably should have said something to him straight away, or called him or a staff member over before being confrontational about it. But I understand you were upset. thanks

squizita Tue 09-Dec-14 16:05:58

I don't think this is a bf issue as such (a sleeping or bottle feeding or mashed carrot eating infant could equally get nipped by even a playful dog) but it's utterly appalling of the man.
Having said that 10 years ago I would not be able to approach a strange dog myself. It's a surprisingly common fear. So even the most willing staff might not be able to help (I still would never try to take the leash of or move a strange dog: that could turn them from playful to defensive instantly). However they could have saved the man's space in line while he moved the dog!
It sounds like they lacked common sense!!
Does the branch manager know?

PotteringAlong Tue 09-Dec-14 16:07:39

Why do you need a chair with arms to breastfeed on?!

squizita Tue 09-Dec-14 18:11:40

Pottering did you mean to sound so rude? smile The poor OP doesnt sound comfortable feeding on little chairs, her body, her comfort, her choice. Different people feel comfortable in different positions to breastfeed. There shouldn't be a "right way" competition where the best can go hands free on water skis and those who need a cushion, comfy chair or scarf are less good.
It might seem like saying "experienced BFers can do it 'properly' and easily" but I (and my friends) found it slightly daunting and off putting.

I can't feed on a chair with arms! I prefer a soft long chair. And my baby kicks like mad if she can see shiny things so I use a scarf.
At home I wear a onesie and use a cushion on my lap.
This doesn't make me less good at breastfeeding.

fluffywhitekittens Tue 09-Dec-14 18:19:13

I had to take a cushion out with me to feed and wouldn't have been able to feed in a high backed standard chair either.
Unless it's a guide dog it shouldn't have been in a cafe.

isthisunfair1967 Tue 09-Dec-14 18:24:24

It's a dog in a cafe (where, unless it was an assistance dog, it shouldn't have been) it's not a breastfeeding issue.

Iggi999 Tue 09-Dec-14 18:24:59

He left the dog unsupervised near a small baby, surely not the best thing he could have thought to do. It wasn't a well behaved dog either (in terms of one that would know to lie down quietly until owner came back) so he was doubly to blame.

RainyLion Tue 09-Dec-14 19:02:23

dogs are allowed in cafe Nero by the way, so he wasn't breaking any rules for that. I often take my dog in (before having a toddler!) but she was kept firmly under a table. I wouldn't dream of letting her go and sniff at someone, breastfeeding or not.

CrawlyDreads Sun 21-Dec-14 13:12:07

Email Cafe Nero and complain about the staff\customer, it will all be on ccvt. At very least it is gross misconduct on part of the staff to not intervene in a situation in which a customer felt threatened. The customer with the dog should at least revive a warning if they are a regular.
I would never leave my dog unattended in public, even outside the local shop as I am aware that some people can feel easily threatened by dog for a lot of reasons. Its bad ownership.

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