Mothers told to breastfeed in toilet

01:23, Nov 25 2014
BREASTFEEDING
FEED IN TOILET: A British cafe wanted breastfeeding mums to nurse in its disabled toilet rather than at their table.

If there's one thing the owners of Tillings Cafe can be certain of, it is that the eatery won't win the award for Britain's best baby-friendly coffee shop any time soon.

The cafe in Surrey has come under fire for informing mothers they were expected to breastfeed in the "spacious disabled toilet" rather than at their table.

A laminated notice headed a "Polite notice for the comfort of customers" was on display at the coffee shop and it told breastfeeding mothers what was expected of them in no uncertain terms.

The note read: "We have baby changing facilities in our spacious disabled toilet.

"There is also a chair nearby which can be taken inside for mothers who are breastfeeding.

"We reserve the right to ask GROUPS of breastfeeding mothers to use this facility instead of feeding at the table."

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Local mothers called for the sign to be removed, saying the order to feed their babies in a toilet was a breach of their human rights.

Hayley Kenway has a seven-month-old baby and told Britain's Daily Mail she had fed her child at the cafe before without any problems.

"But after hearing about this I am disgusted that they have requested babies to be fed in the toilets," she told the newspaper.

"Asking any of their customers to feed in the toilet is a breach of human rights."

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Meanwhile in complaints on the cafe's Facebook page angry parents made their feelings known.

One particularly humorous "review" on the page reads:

"My frail grandma was unable to access the disabled toilet as it was constantly occupied by a gaggle of women attempting to breastfeed their children, whilst balancing fervently upon one other, as the establishment seemed to have provided only one chair. 

"However we did observe (from the constant stream of lactating women entering and exiting the toilet) that the room was most spacious inside. 

"In regards to the food and drink at the establishment, I have to confess the milk tasted very sour. No doubt on account of the establishment having little regard for the law and the rights of women."

The outrage caused by the sign lead to owner June Radford removing the notice and apologising for the "miscommunication"

"We have had many happy breastfeeding mums in our cafe in the three years we have been open and we continue to support breastfeeding," the cafe owner said in a statement.

"We have never and would never ask anyone to stop breastfeeding in the cafe, nor leave the cafe. We are a small independent family-owned business and we try to do our best to look after all of our customers.

"Being human we can make mistakes and if we have offended anyone in trying to establish an option for more private feeding facilities we can only apologise and ask for your help in telling us what we might do to support the breastfeeding cause."

Chair of the UK Association of Breastfeeding Mothers Emma Pickett said it was illegal to discriminate against breastfeeding mothers in Britain.

"Most people are now aware of the rules that breastfeeding mothers shouldn't be discriminated against," she told the Daily Mail.

"To say breastfeeding women should use a disabled toilet is unacceptable as it is unhygienic and what happens if a disabled person wants to use the toilet?

"Everyday breastfeeding mums meet up all over the UK with other mums and babies for at cafes so it is important they are catered for."

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