In October 2011 a manager in Debenhams asked a mum Emily to stop breastfeeding, because “this is a public place”.
The mum explained to her that she wasn’t going anywhere until her baby was quite finished feeding, that it is against the law for her to ask me to stop or move, and for details to make a written complaint.
She then called in her manager, who also asked her to stop breastfeeding or move, as it was not an appropriate place for her to breastfeed my baby. Emily sat and finished the feed, then insisted she was given the address to send a complaint to before leaving.
Emily has arranged a Nurse in to celebrate breastfeeding on 15th October 2011 – her facebook page is here – https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=166794540075643
She says ‘I’ve invited anyone with little ones who they are breastfeeding, and anyone who might know others who are breastfeeding so please pass the invite on!’ Some mums who are no longer breastfeeding are considering taking teddies along to ‘breastfeed’.
Debenhams have apologised on their facebook page :
“We are very proud of the fact that we are supportive of breastfeeding mums at Debenhams. It appears, that with this isolated incident the staff in our Oxford store got our policy wrong. As a matter of urgency we are immediately reminding and reinforcing our breastfeeding stance with our staff. We have spoken to Emily and apologised to her and her family and do so again now. We appreciate all your comments and for bringing this matter to our attention.”
Debenhams have a good record of being breastfeeding friendly, with loads of stores across the country showing breastfeeding welcome signs so at least good as come out of bad and the Oxford store will join them.