Even with legislation that says businesses cannot discriminate against breastfeeding mothers, it’s still happening. The latest act happened in a Tesco store in Romfrod, Essex, UK. Breastfeeding mom, Patrice Newman, was told to go to the restroom toilets if she wanted to nurse her son, 11-week-old Oscar.
An employee told Patrice that she needed to go to the toilets to feed son. This follows an event that happened last week at the same store, when an employee asked her (while she was nursing) if she knew she was near the men’s toilets.
She believes that this attitude towards breastfeeding makes women embarrassed about nursing, and in some cases, stops them from nursing. She says she feels as violated as if they’d asked her to go somewhere else because of her skin color, and she thinks that the way the store handled it was completely insensitive as some women already find it difficult enough to nurse.
She says she was so embarrassed, she was moved to tears. She doesn’t nurse with her whole breast out, and works hard to be discreet as that is her comfort level. She was waiting for pictures to be printed, with her phone plugged in, and couldn’t easily move when the employee told her the manager directed her to move out of sight.
She stopped feeding her son so she could finish the picture printing, but that, of course, upset him, which made her even more upset. What’s ironic about all of this is that the store has a brand that is called “Tesco Loves Baby’ and promotes breastfeeding in public. She can’t believe the hypocrisy.
This is not the first time a Tesco store has had an issue discriminating against nursing mothers, so you’d think that they’d know better. Still, Patrice had to inform the manager that under the Equality Act of 2010, she was illegally asking her to move. The manager seemed to be sorry and even offered her flowers, but Patrice said that was awkward and not enough — they need to practice what they preach.
Tesco actually has a section about nursing in public on their website that encourages women to ‘be discreet when they are out and about.’ These discreet methods include tips for covering a mom’s breast/tummy and/or the baby.
Corporately, Tesco says that women can nurse anywhere in their stores, and claims that the store employee simply was offering Patrice an option.
Photo Credit: Mercury