Breast is best but facilities are not

Mum and tot for breast feeding story.'Beverley and Shelby Dodds at Puddleducks nursery, Spalding ANL-140430-135652001
Mum and tot for breast feeding story.'Beverley and Shelby Dodds at Puddleducks nursery, Spalding ANL-140430-135652001
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The mother of a six-week-old baby whose only option was to breast-feed in Sainsbury’s disabled toilet has spoken of her shock and disgust.

Elaine Reith has raised issues with baby changing and feeding facilities in Spalding after noticing little change in the number of stores accommodating new mothers over the last decade.

Elaine said: “I was disgusted to find that there is no where for us mums to go to feed our children in town.

“In fact, I had my eldest son 12 years ago and there were only a couple of places to feed and change babies then. It has actually got worse.”

Elaine, who doesn’t feel comfortable feeding in public, once turned to Boots who offered a private room for mothers to feed and change their infants. But when Elaine arrived at the store with her new born last week she found the designated area has been turned into a pharmacist’s consultation room.

Reluctantly Elaine went to Sainsbury where she knew there was a baby changing toilet but said “there is nowhere to actually sit” and she was left standing uncomfortably with her hungry infant in the cubicle.

She said: “It was quite disgusting to be honest.”

Elaine’s call for change comes as one young mum in Kent has received a pay-out after being ordered to stop breast-feeding in public because others found it “offensive”.

Sophie Howes (27), a midwife, fed her hungry eight-month-old daughter Connie when she started getting restless during a day out swimming.

Sitting on the steps of the learner pool she was told to move because the lifeguard said she was “offended”.

Miss Howes offered to go to the side of the pool instead but the leisure centre manager ordered the mum to return to the changing rooms.

The equality act 2010 provides protection for mums wanting to breastfeed their children against those feelings expressed like this. Yet Elaine, who actually wants to feed in private, is struggling to find such facilities.

Elaine said: “What I’d like to see is somewhere that, if you are not comfortable feeding in public, you can go to feed your baby in comfort and with a chair.”

Elaine’s friends have found Costa Coffee is the only please to offer appropriate facilities.

Elaine said: “But what about all the other family friendly places in town? Wetherspoons for example has nothing.

“It’s shocking.”

Another of Elaine’s friends raised concerns about the lack of parent and child parking spaces at Sainsbury.

“With us currently experiencing a baby boom, and everywhere you look you can see mums with prams, isn’t it time Spalding improved and made it easier for nursing mothers to be out and about in 

“I’m quite disappointed things haven’t changed in 12 years. They’ve just got worse.

“Something needs to be done.”