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News - Politics

Breastfeeding mother told to go to the toilets in Tesco

Patrice Newman claims she was then confronted by a member of staff in the supermarket in Romford, in Essex, last week

A new mother says she was left in tears after Tesco staff asked her to move to toilets to breastfeed.

Patrice Newman, 33, had been printing off photographs in the supermarket in Romford, in Essex, last week and sat down to feed her 11-week-old baby, Oscar.

The teacher claims she was then confronted by a member of staff who asked her to move into the baby changing area after other customers complained.

Patrice Newman says she was told to go to a baby changing room to breastfeed in Tesco

The new mother says she fears such attitudes are deterring mothers from breastfeeding

The mother-of-one, from Chapel Heath in Essex, said: 'I think the way that they handled it was insensitive. It's not easy for women to breastfeed.

'I got quite upset and embarrassed. I'm not someone who cries easily.

'I don't breastfeed with my whole breast out. Other women do that and that is fine, that is their choice but I personally want to be quite discreet.

'I had cloth draped over my breast and the baby's face. There wasn't anything to see anyway. Then my baby was distressed because I stopped feeding him.'

She compared discrimination against breastfeeding mothers to racism or sexism, and told of her fears such attitudes are forcing mothers to turn to bottle feeding.

Ms Newman said: 'I wasn't doing anything wrong. I asked the manager if she knew that it is illegal to ask me to move. It was just quite awkward.'

Oscar was re-admitted to hospital at three days old after being born a month premature and Ms Newman says she had been advised that breast milk helps premature infant

She added: 'The manager said she was sorry and offered me a free bunch of flowers but I said I wasn't going to accept something for free because what they said was wrong..

'I was really disappointed. It is a massive store. They are corporately promoting breastfeeding and this needs to be portrayed by staff members in store.'

Tesco said the member of staff was merely pointing out the changing facilities.

A spokesman said: 'Customers can breastfeed anywhere in our stores..

'In this instance, our colleague approached our customer to make her aware that we also offer the option of baby feeding facilities. We are sorry for any offence this may have caused.'

Tesco have a 'breastfeeding in public' section on their website which states: Breastfeeding in public can seem like a daunting task - but it doesn't have to be.' It suggests ways for mothers to breastfeed discreetly.

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