Stoke & Staffordshire

Breastfeeding mother told to use pub toilet

Lauren Noakes and Zion Image copyright Lauren Noakes
Image caption Lauren Noakes said she was too embarrassed to complain so left the pub

A breastfeeding mother said she was asked to "cover up" and feed her nine-week-old son in a pub toilet.

Lauren Noakes, 22, said "there was nobody around" at the Sneyd Arms in Stoke-on-Trent when she was approached by a member of staff.

She was eating dinner with her sister and one-year-old son, Mickel, whilst breastfeeding Zion.

The pub apologised for the "ill-advised decision" that it said was against its policy.

Ms Noakes, from Cannock, Staffordshire, said: "If you go to a beach you'll see a topless woman, but if you're breastfeeding it makes it ungraceful - but it's more graceful than a topless woman."

Rosalind Bragg from Maternity Action said it has been illegal for businesses to prohibit a mother from breastfeeding for five years.

More reaction to the story

Image copyright Lauren Noakes
Image caption Ms Noakes was dining with her sons Mickel, one, and nine-week-old Zion

Ms Noakes said: "Mickel's one, so I had to put him in the high chair and feed him. I had to feed myself. And Zion woke up and wanted a feed at the same time."

The mother of two was then approached by a member of staff who said "can you cover up and go in the disabled toilet" because "breastfeeding isn't good around other customers".

Ms Noakes said she was close to tears: "I stopped breastfeeding. Mickel was still moaning so I left my dinner and we just went.

"I'm not the kind of person to complain. I don't feel confident doing it [breastfeeding] anyway so I was really embarrassed."

Ms Bragg is calling for the government to raise more awareness: "Businesses clearly are not aware of their legal obligation."

The pub released a statement saying: "We would like to apologise for the ill-advised decision taken.

"The team member was trying to accommodate another guest's request, however this is against our policy to provide a welcoming and comfortable experience for breastfeeding mothers, and therefore shouldn't have happened."

Ms Noakes said she was a regular at the pub but "will not go back at all" regardless of the apology.

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