- One in four top British restaurants bans breastfeeding in public, according to a new survey -
Seven per cent of establishments questioned - which included a range of eating establishments across the nation from Italian, Spanish and Chinese restaurants to celebrity hotspots, cheap eateries, wine bars, country pubs and vegetarian restaurants – said they placed an outright ban on breastfeeding in their establishments. A mum who discreetly tried to breastfeed her baby at the table would be asked to stop or leave the restaurant.
Another 17 per cent of those polled said they wouldn’t allow it in public. They placed restrictions on breastfeeding that would prevent mothers from feeding their babies near other diners. Most of those would force mothers to breastfeed in the toilet, but the lobby was also offered as an alternative.
A further 15 per cent declared that breastfeeding was permitted if done discreetly. If mentioned when booking, you would be seated in a corner or alternatively asked to cover up while feeding. However, one restaurant from this group commented that they would ask you to stop breastfeeding if another customer complained.
The poll suggests just how far attitudes have to change in England and Wales since new legislation came in on 6 April 2008 that stipulates nursing mothers feeding babies up to a year old can no longer be told to leave public places. In Scotland, it has been an offence for any venue that normally admits children to ban breastfeeding since March 2005.
On the plus side, 61 per cent of eateries surveyed were perfectly happy with a woman to breastfeed her child in the restaurant. A staff member for celebrity favourite Scott’s in London’s Mayfair, said: “You can do it anywhere you please.” Likewise, a staff member for a popular Italian restaurant Sardo in the West End, London said, “Of course, you can breastfeed. Do some places actually have a problem with it at all?”
The telephone poll was conducted by Kamillosan Chamomile Ointment, which can help prevent and relieve the symptoms of sore nipples that can accompany breastfeeding.
Lucy Symons, spokeswoman for Kamillosan and registered doula, said: “It is ridiculous that in 2008, a mother cannot do one of the most natural acts and feed her baby in a restaurant while she eats. A baby is just as entitled to eat in a comfortable, clean environment as an adult, so it’s just not acceptable for his or her mum to be forced to feed in the toilet and this is no way to encourage a new mum to keep persevering with breastfeeding.”
“Breastfeeding is hard enough for new mums without worrying whether they will be allowed to feed their baby while meeting friends for lunch or be asked to leave like a criminal.”
“Many women think they will find breastfeeding easy, and then are disappointed when they discover it is more of a struggle than they thought.
“However, while Kamillosan Ointment can’t persuade the restaurants to drop the stigma, it can help new mums to continue to breastfeed.”
Notes to editors:
The list of eating establishments was taken from the Independent newspaper’s top 100 restaurant guide, published June 16th 2007.
Kamillosan Ointment costs £4.95 for 50g and is available from major Boots stores, ASDA, Tesco, Mothercare, leading independent pharmacies and from www.kamillosan.co.uk
Kamillosan Ointment wins a TIPS Award
During an independent trial Kamillosan ointment received a TIPS® Highly Commended Award with an overall score of 75 per cent. You can read the full review of this product and details of how testing was carried out on www.tipslimited.com
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