Breastfeeding bullies – Equality is for me, not you.

Breasfeeding equality via Toby & Roo:: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

The most natural thing in the world is breastfeeding, and I wholly support it, but am I the only one who gets upset by women who feel they should be given special and unnecessary treatment, just because they breastfeed?

I was recently asked by a friend when am I going to challenge breastfeeding on my blog. And my first thought was, ‘Um, I’m a massive advocate for supporting breastfeeding, what the hell kind of a question is that?!” I think that must have registered on my face, because she immediately clarified what she meant, and it is in fact something I want to challenge because it boils my blood.

My friend is a manager in a local high street store, which is one of the market leaders for expectant parents and baby products. A week or so ago she was approached by a lady who asked her if there was anywhere for her to feed her toddler. A perfectly normal, rational question. She immediately directed the customer to the back of the store which has a lovely, quiet room for Mums to go and feed in private or change their baby in a clean and comforting environment. Let me be clear, this is not a scruffy room. The room is clean, with slightly dimmed lighting to provide a calming atmosphere and has seating that is both comfortable and supportive for mum to feed on. There are also complimentary breast pads, wipes and nappies in the room. If every store had this type of room, our breastfeeding equality demands would be well on their well to being met, I’ve fed in here and been more than happy.

Yet the woman came back to the very front the store, with her husband in tow, to “confront” my friend. The woman, who incidentally kept her nursing bra unlatched and top lifted without the child latched, came to my friend to demand a feeding area on the shop floor. Her argument was that her daughter was uncomfortable in the small room and she felt it was more appropriate to be able to feed her out in the open. To credit my friend, she immediately asked her to wait for a second while she went to get her a chair from the staff room that would be comfortable for her. This store is a big supporter of breastfeeding mums, and had just finished a breastfeeding week campaign with a vast array of health visitors, breastfeeding specialists, breastfeeding support groups and many others hosting a stall at the front of the shop.

The woman sneered at this suggestion, with the dutiful husband smirking in the background, like some ridiculous cheerleader supporting his wife’s latest attack. The woman demanded to know why there wasn’t a feeding area in the middle of the shop floor, and pointed to the area which contained the boxed pushchairs for pushchair promotions, and suggested that this would be an ideal place. The attitude was that, by not having an area where women could sit and breastfeed in a very public manner, the store was doing nothing to normalise breastfeeding. It was hiding the women away as if they were doing something wrong. Again, the lady was offered a seat, on the shop floor, but insisted it wasn’t the point. My friend calmly explained that it wasn’t possible for the store to do so because they have a designated amount of floor space that has to be for sales, the same as they had a designated amount for stock storage, staff rooms, office space and so on. It also isn’t possible to put a feeding/seating area on the shop floor for health and safety reasons as they wouldn’t be able to that with heavy car seats, pushchairs and other objects being taken past it would be a concern the mothers, or worse the infants/toddlers/children, could be knocked into. Furthermore, it isn’t the best idea to have the only possible feeding area in the middle of the shop floor because generally women prefer somewhere quiet to enjoy that bond with their baby, not to mention the fact that surrounded by toys that are beeping, flashing and generally being enticing to any child above the age of the 3 months to about 6 years, is most likely to end up with a mother who has very sore nipples as a result of a quickly detaching baby and a baby who is still hungry!

To me, what the hell did this woman want? She wanted a fight. She wanted a reaction. She wanted my friend to say something “wrong” so that she could flaunt the Equality Act in her face and say, you are in big trouble.

The Equality Act is there to protect breastfeeding mums and their rights. It is there to ensure that no woman has to be made to feel degraded, disgusting or ashamed that she is nurturing and providing for her child in a most wonderful and natural way. It is there to ensure that employers, store owners and the general public respect breastfeeding mums. It isn’t there to be used as a weapon to intimidate others, something that so few women do, but the impact of their abhorrent behaviour has far reaching consequences that damage the campaign to normalise breastfeeding. It isn’t there to help you pick an argument with someone who wants to enable breastfeeding mothers and support them. It isn’t there for bullies to give breastfeeding mamas like me a bad name.

To those of you who think that this is ok, it’s a perfectly acceptable way to behave, you are the very reason that breastfeeding is not treated as it should be. Did you see the bottle feeding mum demanding to know why she was discriminated against because she didn’t have a designated area on the shop floor to feed but had to go to a clean, comfortable room if she wanted to sit, or she would have to walk, browse and feed (something I’ve seen many a breastfeeding mum do in this shop)? NO. Do you expect a baby food stand in the middle of the store with a mini baby cafe? NO.

So why would you expect one for breastfeeding?

Equality is just that. Equal. It isn’t one-upmanship, it isn’t using laws designed to protect to intimidate or bully. It’s about respecting a range of choices and treating them equally. Don’t expect equality if you aren’t prepared to offer it.

I’d love to know your thoughts on this matter, does it boil your blood too? If you disagree then please tell me! I’d love to hear form you all!

Harriet x


  1. Avatar
    October 18, 2018 / 9:48 am

    Thank you for this article. I totally agree that this womea was looking for a fight.

    Unfortunately for me, my sister (who is a social justice warrior on all kinds of issues) decided to become a breastfeeding ‘advocate’ when she had a baby. This consisted of picking fights when breastfeeding in public with all sorts of people, all of which were totally unnecessary. I stopped going out with my sister in public because I wanted to avoid the stress and embarrassment of the public fights, and my sister ranting about how normal breastfeeding is, and that the culture should ‘get over it’.

    The problem was my sisters entitled behaviour, and not breastfeeding. Of course this is the behaviour of a minority of breastfeeding mothers, but this is how breastfeeding is becoming linked in the minds of the public whenever they see a public fight.

    It has sensitized me to the extent that when I am being seated in a café, I will avoid the seat next to the mother sitting with her infant, because I don’t know if she is a well balanced person who just wants to feed her child, or if she is like my sister who will try and make a fight in an attempt to change the attitudes of the culture here in the UK.

    These fights are changing the culture alright, into an entitled aggressive hostile environment. None of this is good for the babies who need to be fed.

    Thank you for a well balanced article. A small minority of breastfeeding women are really hurting the breastfeeding cause by being confrontational just to make a public point.

  2. Avatar June 29, 2014 / 8:06 am

    This is a fab article… When I read the intro on MUMbler I was a bit confused but upon reading I totally agree with your comparison points with ff families and baby food cafés…. Brings it all into perspective! If she was unhappy with the room, she could have gone elsewhere- a branch outside, a nearby cafe, or worn a fb friendly sling even! She could have lodged her grievance in a slightly more civil way as well, but… I wonder what kind of a day / week / month this bf mama was having though… Though I can’t say I’ve ever blown up over bf rights, I know that shop staff have borne the brunt of my bad mood after a particularly hellish teething phase…. And had to take in my wild woman appearance too. I’m sure i must have seemed totally unreasonable, militant, mentally ill…?! All to my utter embarrassment later when I’ve had a couple of hours sleep and a shower! I’m not excusing that type of behaviour, but there are usually two sides to the story in these incidents!

  3. Avatar
    June 28, 2014 / 10:04 pm

    Hi all. I am currently a breast feeding mum. It’s something I really struggled with at the beginning as I didn’t like feeding in public so I loved these private rooms whilst shopping. Anyway my little girl is now 11 weeks old and I now feed whenever and wherever required.

    This article was interesting and something I’ve thought wrong in a lot of situations. I think it’s referred to as positive discrimination (although I maybe wrong). By treating someone in a way which is better because of their situation you are still discriminating. This is what this woman expected. I think you are right Harriet this woman is rude and wanted an argument.

    Breast feeding shouldn’t even be an issue that is mentioned it should just be the norm then maybe people like myself would feel comfortable just doing it.

    • Harriet June 28, 2014 / 10:15 pm

      Thanks for the comment Stevie. Positive discrimination is this case would have been sending the woman to the private breastfeeding room and then not giving her the option of a chair when she requested one (I think). The fact that she was given so many options and specifically asked for a place to feed, makes it seem like she wanted to sit down or have a separate place.

      You’re exactly right, that is what she wanted, and not what she got – she was out to cause a stir and to no avail. This is the kind of impact I’m talking about when you say if this didn’t happen, breast-feeding would be more ‘normal’ and new breastfeeders would’t feel so uneasy.

      A minority spoiling it for the majority, but an issue that as breastfeeders we all need to be saying, sorry, this isn’t ok, take your self righteous attitude and leave breastfeeding out of it.

      Thanks again for the comment 🙂 x

  4. Avatar
    June 28, 2014 / 10:03 pm

    I am a breastfeeding mum and accept that if you are going to go out you have to expect to feed in places that are not of your own preferable conditions (whether it be quiet, loud, hot, cold, a certain chair et). This is life and the beauty of breastfeeding is that you can be so adaptable to circumstances and conditions. It’s much easier than trying to get a bottle warmed (my first was on bottles). If a women can’t accept having to adapt to different places they should stay at home at feed times. Also it’s up to the individual about how discrete or not she wants to be. I am a very confident feeder of a 9 month old but don’t think I’ve ever shown my full breast to anyone in public. It wouldn’t bother me but I just find there are ways around it and my babies head is never under cover. I also have a 2 year old to look after at the same time. If your going to do it just get on with it and don’t worry what other people think.

    • Harriet June 28, 2014 / 10:11 pm

      That is exactly how I feel Natalie – just get on with it! Breastfeeding is just a form of feeding and there is no reason the lady couldn’t have fed walking (something bottle and breast feeders do in that store) or just sat at the side of the store. There is no reason not to just get on with it, but making a scene for nothing is detrimental to normalising breastfeeding.

      Thanks for the comment 🙂 x

  5. Avatar
    June 28, 2014 / 8:39 pm

    At least she was offered a place to feed! I was buying breastfeeding supplies at boots and asked the cashier if there was anywhere I could feed my baby and she said no. I was like, are you sure? I even spoke to the manager and asked if there was anywhere I could feed my baby and was told again I couldn’t do it in the store and it was no longer store policy to provide a feeding room. (It was a new, large store). I went and cried in m&s changing room. Funnily though, I later bf in the same boots store at the pharmacy, I don’t understand why they didnt offer those seats to me. I complained and got £25 voucher! But couldn’t believe I was treated like that in a shop with a mother and baby club!

    • Harriet June 28, 2014 / 10:07 pm

      Wow that is such a shame Emma! You see that is what is so frustrating about this – the manager may well just turn around and say, ‘ Well the feeding room causes issues and people complain, I can’t be doing with the aggro, how about I just get more stock and scrap it’. A minority spoil it for the majority. Thanks for the comment x

  6. Avatar
    June 26, 2014 / 6:59 pm

    I think – to each her own. I also think the expletive you have is the exception rather than the rule. I actually know women whose babies won’t nurse in a quiet room. My own, when she was an infant, wouldn’t nurse in a noisy room. Now she will nurse anywhere. I am pretty sure you weren’t in the room with the woman, so maybe ….just maybe …..your blood reached the boiling point a bit prematurely. I expected a different tone from a “massive” advocate of breastfeeding such as yourself.

    • Avatar
      June 26, 2014 / 7:01 pm

      I meant to say example, not expletive

    • Harriet June 26, 2014 / 8:56 pm

      Thanks for the comment Helen.

      I’m not sure what tone you would expect, personally I believe what my friend has said to be true, I see no reason for her to make it up, so I have gone off my feelings and the way I perceive the situation. I don’t think that makes me any less of a ‘massive’ advocate, and I think that my blood is justified in it’s boil on this occasion.

      Not unlike many of the other breastfeeding mums who have commented on the post or via the various forums this has been shared in.

  7. Avatar
    June 26, 2014 / 1:14 pm

    I totally agree. It’s women like this that make people think us nursing mamas just want to flaunt our breasts whenever we get the chance. I nursed uncovered in public all the time. However if nice nursing rooms were provided with comfy chairs and quiet, you bet your sweet behind I’m going to use it. It’s obvious to me she just want a confrontation. I’m sure she could have found some sort of chair on the floor out in open just as she wanted to nurse her kid. Yeah there wasn’t a designated spot for nursing on the floor,but no told her she HAD to use the nursing room. She was simply told where it was. If she didn’t like it,she was free to find somewhere else on her own. Not a big deal but she certainly made it one. Drama queen.

  8. Avatar
    Sarah Jayne
    June 26, 2014 / 12:53 pm

    Also, can I ask if you think a man would be exposing himself if he were to stand in a shop with his nipples showing, either going about his business or being confrontational? I suspect you wouldn’t give it a second thought.

    • Harriet June 26, 2014 / 1:57 pm

      Actually most stores have a blanket no top, no entry policy irrespective of sex (this is the UK I’m talking about) as do most restaurants. I know I don’t want to see a topless man any more than a topless woman, and I trust that as you don’t know me personally, you aren’t in the position to make that judgement about my preferences for societal views. A totally moot point, and not really important to the question or issue at hand.

      The issue isn’t regarding exposure, I may have raised it with a few comments so I’m happy to answer it with my viewpoint on the topic, but the issue is regarding breastfeeders who believe they have a right to almost attack another human and try to intimidate them, just to get a public rise.

  9. Avatar
    Sarah Jayne
    June 26, 2014 / 12:46 pm

    The woman sounds as though she was rude regardless of whether she breastfeeds, bottle feeds or feeds her child marmite sandwiches. However you have made many assumptions about a situation where you were not present.

    It is pretty clear to me that anyone who says ‘I am supportive of breastfeeding, BUT’ is probably not wholly supportive of breastfeeding or indeed the many issues surrounding women’s rights.

    Equality does not mean the same.

    • Harriet June 26, 2014 / 1:53 pm

      I think thats quite offensive Sarah Jayne, anyone who says I’m supportive of breastfeeding BUT is not necessarily not a supporter of breastfeeding but is perhaps (like in my case) not a supporter of using breastfeeding as a weapon. A sentiment that seems to be supported by the majority.

      Equality doesn’t mean the same, but it means equal opportunities for all. This woman had equal opportunity, she had legs to walk and feed, the offer of a feeding room to feed, the option of her car, the floor, a seat on the shop floor… all to feed in exactly the same way the bottle feeding mums in the store had those same opportunities.

      Thanks for your comment, it’s greatly appreciated. H x

  10. Avatar
    Kirsty Cleaver
    June 26, 2014 / 12:41 pm

    A woman should be able to go topless if she chooses whether she breast feeds or not, breast are not innately sexual it’s just our society that has made it that way. It should be perfectly acceptable for a woman to speak to another person with her breast on show but I guess that’s another discussion. I just felt that you undermined what you had said by criticising her for “exposing ” herself . I do think that the main reason why breastfeeding isn’t seen as normal is this obsession with the female breast.

    • Harriet June 26, 2014 / 1:50 pm

      You are right Kirsty, that is a totally different argument and one that I disagree with, but as you said different argument.

      I realise you may feel that way, but it wasn’t my intention, perhaps trying to include too many arguments into one.

      I think you are probably right that the main reason against breastfeeding is the obsession with breasts as a sexual object, but I feel that this does nothing to help breastfeeders promote naturalisation.

  11. Avatar
    Kirsty Cleaver
    June 26, 2014 / 11:36 am

    I don’t like your response to previous comments by saying ” she wanted right to expose herself unnecessarily”. That’s a really nasty thing to think and say. That’s a big concern for a lot of breastfeeding woman and it shouldn’t be a consideration, you also made comment that woman has her boobs exposed when child not latched on so think you may have problem with this. It seems like you just wanted to say something negative about breastfeeding bullies so latched onto this.
    Seems like lady was being silly and rude but very unusual , most mum’s don’t act that way.
    Free the nipple !

    • Harriet June 26, 2014 / 12:04 pm

      Hi Kirsty, absolutely agree that the woman was being silly and rude, but from the feedback I have had from others, it doesn’t seem this is so strange after all. A lot of other breastfeeders seem to agree that this is a concern.

      I find the comment that I wanted to say something negative about breastfeeders a bit strange when I am one, I hope it didn’t come across that way to most people. It also seems a bit unbalanced to say I wanted to say something against breastfeeding bullies, when I’m anti any kind of bully, especially one like this who undermines what I hold dear.

      It is the mere fact that this woman is undermining the normalisation of breastfeeding that bugs me, and to be clear, yes free the nipple, but there is a difference (always has been and forever will be) between freeing the nipple to feed and freeing the nipple to talk to someone when a child is not latched, preparing to latch or even within the vicinity to latch. Walking up to a shop assistant with your nipple out isn’t freeing the nipple, it’s exhibitionism. It’s also possible that she hadn’t meant to walk up to the shop owner and have a conversation with her nipple still exposed and the child next to her, it’s possible she was tired and forgot, possible that she hadn’t clipped the top back up, but it’s not possible to think that is ok behaviour if it’s intentional. I think this inflames the attitudes that women who breastfeed are exhibitionists, it give credence to the awful people out there who shame breastfeeders, it is in no way helpful.

      I also want to reiterate again, and I’ve said it in the comments above, this isn’t a post that implies or suggests most mums behave this way. They don’t (I hope) and I never did myself, however it is the way that some behave and as someone who feels so strongly about normalising breastfeeding I see these totally unnecessary political statements as a fundamental problem in the process of getting breastfeeding back to normalisation. It was normal once and hopefully will be again, but surely anyone would think this behaviour is as detrimental as the people who think breastfeeding is something it isn’t.

      Thank you for your comment, I appreciate your sentiment and I hope that clarifies that I am with you 100% – free the nipple, but to feed, not to chat. 🙂 x

  12. Avatar
    June 25, 2014 / 10:33 pm

    I completely agree! It’s no wonder some people have a problem with breastfeeding mums when some people seem to use it as an excuse for an argument! Some people just love a fight. I’m a breastfeeding mum and there is nothing better than when somewhere provides a nice comfortable room out of the way!

    • Harriet June 26, 2014 / 8:16 am

      Thanks Amy, I felt the same too, I wanted somewhere quiet to feed Toby (incidentally I did with my bottle fed son too) but if the lady didn’t then she had the same options as any one else. She was offered a chair, and had the option of using her legs a walking and feeding. Thanks for the comment 🙂 x

  13. Avatar
    Eleanor Blair
    June 25, 2014 / 10:19 pm

    Well I can see why this particular rude woman would be irritating, but that means this particular rude woman was irritating, it doesn’t mean breastfeeding advocates are in general rude or irritating. And I think to make this a blog post about breastfeeding rather than a blog post about rudeness is an interesting choice.

    • Harriet June 26, 2014 / 8:22 am

      Hi Eleanor, thanks for the comment.

      I do think that this is a relevant post to breastfeeding and not just rudeness in general because the point I am trying to get across is that women like this (who are just rude, you are quite right) have a detrimental impact on all of the hard work that other people (breastfeeders, peer supporters, formula feeders and all in between and around) to normalise breastfeeding. What if the store manager were to have a meeting with her seniors and be asked ‘Do you have any additional space for another load of stock?’, is it so hard to believe that with women like this she could think, ‘Well the feeding room causes more issues and people don’t appreciate it, yeah, I’ll scrap that and have more stock’. I don’t feel that it is and that impacts everyone.

      Not only that, but why would anyone feel the need to make a political statement about something that is normal? They wouldn’t – furthering the divide between normal and breastfeeding. It is normal. Treat it as such and don’t use the equality laws others have worked so hard to forge to gain a bit of self importance.

      Just my views, but thank you again for yours – I can see your point, and totally agree this women (thankfully) is more a minority than anything else. x

  14. Avatar
    June 25, 2014 / 10:16 pm

    This is what i put when someone shared on one of our bf groups on facebook:

    That bf woman in the article is a pile of poop. if the store sold ie baby shoes yes there wld be seating in the middle of the shop floor that she cld use, this store obviously did not and thus providing a room at least is good. the woman sounds like she wanted to bf in public for that sake alone to prove a point rather than just to feed her child so to speak and be a pain about it. obviously my littly is almost a year but stil small therefore if nowhere to sit of needing to be fed when somewhere ie tesco i will just feed her walking along. if it was literally a toddler that can communicate/understand better then that toddler shoould understand to wait if needed if the mum was so pompous she has to do it in public.

    • Harriet June 26, 2014 / 8:24 am

      Thanks for the comment Laura, I totally agree. It does appear to be a ‘I want to be controversial, that’s it’ attitude. If she genuinely did want to feed her toddler in public then many have said that they plonk themselves down on the floor, out of the way and get on with it. Why couldn’t she do that. I can guarantee if she had the only thing that would have been said is ‘Let me get you a chair, you shouldn’t have to sit on the floor’. It is the spectacle that’s unwanted and unwarranted. x

  15. Avatar
    Emma Ashworth
    June 25, 2014 / 9:57 pm

    “Breastfeeding bullies”?? What a horrible title. This women has been described as acting in a rude and aggressive way. Maybe she did, maybe she didn’t. We weren’t there. But a “breastfeeding bully”? NO. She was Just Being Rude (apparently).

    Women are still being vilified for breastfeeding in cafes and restaurants. Women are still being vilified for formula feeding in cafes and restaurants. The people doing the vilifying are being “bullies”. They are not being “breastfeeding” or “formula feeding” bullies. They are just being nasty and they do not represent a group of people who feed their babies using one method, the other or a mixture of both.

    In the same way, someone acting in a way which makes another person uncomfortable does not make her a “breastfeeding bully”. It makes her rude. Or aggressive. Or perhaps even a bully. It no more makes her a “breastfeeding bully” than it makes her a “blonde bully” or a “woman bully” or a “two legged person bully”. The alleged aggression may have been based around her wish to breastfeed in public, but her aggression has nothing to do with her breastfeeding. It’s just aggression.

    • Harriet June 26, 2014 / 8:33 am

      I quite agree Emma, it does sound like a horrible title, and if you choose to read into that way without really reading the meaning behind it I can see how it could create that impression.

      I do, however, stand by the fact that she is a breastfeeding bully. She is using her breastfeeding to bully. She may well be a blond, two legged, female, breastfeeding bully, but the fact remains that she is a breastfeeding bully. The reason I feel so strongly about that is because of how she is implying that by being a breastfeeder she has a right to have a seating area on the shop floor, a right to expose herself unnecessarily and is essentially going against everything that I believe the standard breastfeeding mama would want – which is evident from the majority of the comments.

      Please don’t misunderstand me, if a woman was formula feeding and came up to a manager to demand a bottle warmer or microwave because there is a feeding room and she had a right to it (which in a similar way to the breastfeeding mum – she doesn’t) but was trying to intimate because the store should bow down to her want to feed her because its a baby store, I would argue she was a formula feeding bully.

      At the end of the day the woman is only a very small minority (I never implied she was anything else) but she impacts breastfeeding and attitudes towards it as a whole. How can we normalise something if people are trying to make political statements about it? How can we continue to lessen the attitude that breastfeeders are ‘just exhibitionists’ if we have women like this creating a scene. It is detrimental to our equality and is unfair and wrong.

      That was the point to the article, however I can see your point that she is just an aggressive woman. Thanks for the comment. x

      • Harriet June 26, 2014 / 12:33 pm

        Just to clarify again (it has been raised in a separate comment) the ‘expose herself unnecessarily part in my reply is referring to standing and having a conversation with her nipple exposed without the intention to feed her child at that time. Certainly not to feeding in public, that is feeding not exposure, but standing and having a conversation with another adult without the intention to feed in the immediate future is exposure.

        Just to be clear that is what is meant!

        • Avatar
          Emma Ashworth
          June 27, 2014 / 6:34 pm

          Semantics, semantics, really. She was breastfeeding, and she was reported to be acting in a bullying way. To put the two words together undrmines NIP through perpetuating the phrase. Therefore, as a self professed BF/NIP advocate, you might want to consider this in the future.

          Do women acting in this way give fuel to the fire of anti-NIP people? Sure. So, best to just ignore it and move on rather than blogging about it, no?

          Unless your point is to say, “ladies, remember that while you may not intend to, you are representing a group in the eyes of the public, therefore be aware of this and if you can, be nice”. Which is fine, but perhaps a differently toned blog post, without the Daily Fail-esque headline.

  16. Avatar
    Sarah Smith
    June 25, 2014 / 9:56 pm

    Brilliant! At least she wasn’t moved to the toilet like I was while shopping. Can’t wait to see what others think. I am a big supporter of breastfeeding and would have been more than happy with a dedicated feeding room

    • Harriet June 26, 2014 / 8:35 am

      Thanks Sarah, you are so right. Anyone with an ounce of sense would be cheering behind her had she been offered a toilet to sit on, but she wasn’t, she was offered a private room for the comfort of her and her baby, or a seat on the shop floor.

      There is always one to spoil it for the majority, but I do think it’s an important issue to discuss. x

  17. Avatar
    June 25, 2014 / 9:22 pm

    Completely agree with this! I am passionate about bfing and happily bfed my baby when and where he needed it until he was a bit over 2.5yrs. It is nice when there is somewhere comfortable to sit and feed your baby/toddler, but I don’t consider it to be my “right” to have a designated area, especially not one with a neon light and arrow above it pointing out what I’m doing so I can sit and polish my halo in full view of everyone. It’s my right to feed my child and not be made to feel that I shouldn’t be doing. Any extra help and support in that is a bonus! 🙂

    • Harriet June 26, 2014 / 8:36 am

      I do love your comment Leila, ‘polish my halo’ has really made me smile! As a mother who fed a toddler I’m sure you could also agree that they would be distracted on a shop floor, I know my 9 month old was distracted by anything! Thanks for the comment 🙂 x

  18. Avatar
    June 25, 2014 / 9:01 pm


    There is so much wrong with this article. First you suggest that women don’t want to breastfeed in the middle of everything because it’s such a sacred bond (hahahaha) and then you suggest that women who breastfeed SHOULD be treated equal. Well does equal not mean that they can breastfeed their kiddo wherever bottle feeding would be acceptable?

    No, I don’t expect special treatment for breastfeeding. It’s a nice luxury to have a place to sit down and nurse, but it’s not a requirement.

    But I do expect people to say if I ask if there is an area to do it peacefully that “you are welcome to breastfeed anywhere, although we don’t have a special place, feed your baby where you need to.”

    Just like bottle fed babies.

    When a baby is hungry and wants to eat, toys are not going to distract them from that hunger. So your worry about the Mom’s nipples is as silly as worrying about a bottle fed babies bottle going bad by the time they finish because of toys. It’s dumb.

    • Harriet June 26, 2014 / 8:47 am

      Firstly, thanks for your comment Jules. I value your opinion on the matter, I also totally disagree with most of it!

      I am really sad for you that you didn’t feel that you had a sacred bond when you were feeding ( I was going off personal experience and I did) it was something that I loved. I also felt that way about bottle feeding my eldest, and for both babies I feel that I would have been delighted to have a feeding room. Let me just clarify as well that this was a feeding room, not a breastfeeding room, I believe there is a bottle warmer in the room too, and if not there is hot running water to heat a bottle.

      I do agree that a woman should choose where to feed a baby, but I don’t agree that she should be able to cause a scene in a shop because she didn’t walk in to find a cafe or seating area in the middle of a pushchair display. The options (and I would like to highlight option’S’) were more than most, bottle or breast would get. The women made a display of herself because she wanted tot piggyback off equality laws to create a bit of controversy, in my opinion it’s pretty obviously she was hoping to be asked to leave or given the old ‘but you might offend someone’… which she was never going to get. Furthermore, what was wrong with sitting down on the shop floor where she wasn’t likely to cause a health and safety issue (I’m 100% sure she would have been given a chair by a member of staff, but it’s something 1000’s of women do if there is no where else!) or even using her legs and walking while feeding, another thing that bottle feeders and breastfeeder have in common – legs.

      I also feel that your last comment is a little like the woman in the post, inflammatory and unnecessary. While I agree that a young baby is unlikely to be distracted, the child in question is a toddler and I’m going off personal experience and having been bitten by Toby at 9 months because his brother was playing with a rather noisy truck in a store, I can honestly say that my concerns about nipples are most definitely founded in truth. Although, I do feel a twinge of sadness for the bottle being nibbled on (because it reminds me of poor, dear nipple) I don’t really tend to worry about inanimate objects, that really would be silly, or dumb as you put it.

      Thank you for your comment, I do appreciate the opposite side and don’t expect everyone to agree with me. Thanks for giving me the alternative perspective. x

    • Avatar
      June 26, 2014 / 1:24 pm

      This woman was looking for a fight. She asked if there was a place to feed her kid and she was told where it was. No one told her she had to use it. She could have simply found a chair somewhere,anywhere on the floor and nurse her kid and no one would have said a word. She chose to make a scene because there wasn’t a designated area out in the open….which really would not be very practical anyway.

      • Harriet June 26, 2014 / 1:59 pm

        Thanks for the comment Casey, you are exactly right. Not practical or helpful to anyone. x

    • Avatar
      June 30, 2014 / 9:36 am

      Great article Harriet thank you. I have a 15 month old son who has always been bottle fed due to medical reasons meaning I was unable to breast feed. I fully support breast feeding and would have loved to breast feed had I been able to. I have never commented on the subject before but I see more and more articles and rants from breast feeding mothers about discrimination and I agree it sounds like this woman was looking for confrontation and a fight. The shops can’t win if they provide a lovely quiet room they get complaints that it isn’t public and if they don’t provide a special space they are vilified for that too. There seems to be a small group of very militant breast feeders who are indeed making life difficult for all the rest of the great mums out there who just get on with it whether they are breast or bottle feeding. Both breast and bottle have their own pros and cons and as a mum there are enough things which you are made to feel guilty about without having “breast is best” preached to you all the time, especially when for mums like me that choice has been taken away from you. As a bottle feeding mother I would always find a quiet spot to feed my son, yes I agree a bottle may make it easier to stop and feed but it still didn’t mean I would feed him anywhere and everywhere. I would much rather have enjoyed some quiet space and time in the room the store had kindly provided, you also bond when bottle feeding (something rarely mentioned) with great eye contact. Therefore I’d always rather have used the room than fed in the middle of a busy shop floor with all the distractions that involves. Please please ladies let’s all support each others’ decisions and the businesses who are doing their best to support breast feeding and not make life even more difficulty complaining over nothing and giving the anti “breastapo” supporters any ammunition!

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    Caroline Thompson
    June 25, 2014 / 8:48 pm

    Fantastic article, I too am intrigued to read peoples thoughts on this subject.

    • Harriet June 26, 2014 / 8:48 am

      I think the comments say a lot Caroline, I really wish you could have seen some in the Facebook forums, a lot of women have come across this behaviour, although it is not a majority thing! x

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