Breastfeeding an 'offence against humanity'

Last updated 12:19 26/02/2013

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A Sydney cafe is facing a breastfeeding backlash after a nursing mother claims staff told her to stop and that the practice was ''disgusting'' and ''an offence to humanity''.

A nurse-in protest has been organised for lunchtime Tuesday (AEST) at Newtown's Satellite cafe after word of the weekend incident spread on Facebook.

The protest will follow a similar nurse-in at Martin Place in January, when about 100 nursing mothers gathered outside Channel Seven's studios in protest at comments by breakfast TV host, David Koch, who had said women should be ''more discreet and modest'' when breastfeeding in public places.

Regan Matthews said she was initially approached by an apologetic waiter and asked to stop breastfeeding her nine-month-old son while at the cafe on Saturday afternoon on the instruction of management.

''I immediately said 'No, that's illegal to ask me that' and he just said 'Oh, OK', and backed off,'' she said. The owner then approached Ms Matthews and told her she was using her manager's discretion to tell her to stop. ''She said 'It's offensive','' said Ms Matthews, who asked if any of about four other customers were offended. None said they were.

''So I was like, 'Look no one else is offended, what's the problem?'''

''And she said 'It is offensive' ... and as she was walking away from me she said over her shoulder 'It's an offence to humanity'.

''We were shocked and gathered up our things and walked out and she was muttering all the time and basically berating me from behind the counter in front of everyone.

''As I was walking out the door I said 'You haven't heard the end of this' And she went 'OK, good, bye'.''

In one of two apologies posted online, which were removed after a third apology was emailed to Ms Matthews, the cafe's owner said she deeply regretted the incident, and blamed a lack of awareness about the legal rights of breastfeeding mothers.

''We at Satellite are not mother-haters nor children-haters, however, when complaints are received on any matter, we do have a duty to act on them,'' it said.

The cafe's owner refused requests for comment.

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- Sydney Morning Herald

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