A mother and her breastfed infant are refused entry to a hair salon in Ireland

breastfed infant hair salon

A mother of five from Ireland was shocked to be turned away from a hair salon when she brought her breastfed infant with her.

On 1 July Claudine Vavasseur spoke out about an incident with Oslo hairdressers in Dublin, Ireland. She claimed they refused her entry and cancelled her appointment when she brought her breastfed child with her. Speaking out on Twitter the Mother showed her dismay and disgust at the treatment. She tweeted: “Shocked to have been refused entry for my breastfeeding infant at Oslo Ranelagh today, breastfeeding is normal and breastfed infants need to be with their mothers, we have a long way to go to support mothers/normalise breastfeeding.”

Claudine, who is a Consultant Neonatologist and Paediatrician, added that she was going to the hair salon for a simple wash and blow dry: “I’m a busy mom of 5 the wash was over due ! The appointment was made more with hygiene than vanity in mind.”

Outpouring of support

The outpouring of support for Claudine was clear, with countless people replying in outrage and supporting Claudine’s right to breastfeed in a hair salon should she wish to do so. Many of her supporters were quick to explain how she was protected by law to breastfeed in public.

Sue Jameson IBCLC commented: “Why does this continue to happen? There is legislation to protect breastfeeding dyads. Who in Oslo thought it was a good idea to exclude????”

A fellow breastfeeding mother Jennifer Cimerman added: “As a customer of @OsloBeauty I am very disappointed to read this! Mothers have the absolute right to breastfeed their babies anywhere & I’m shocked to think why Oslo wouldn’t support this. I’ll be taking my business elsewhere I think as I will soon be a breastfeeding mother again”

What the hair salon said

For their part the hair salon said they will look to review their policies but that their reason for refusing Claudine and her breastfed child was a matter of health and safety. In reply to Claudine’s tweet they wrote: “Company policy is that we don’t allow children on the premises for health/safety & insurance purposes. OSLO is pro breastfeeding & clearly this would not apply to breast fed babies where safe to do so. We will review policies & staff training to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”

However, their reasoning did not go over well, with commentators quick to point out that they have children regularly on their premises for haircuts. Gabrielle Socol said: “Disappointing attitude, even more disappointing response. So, they don’t allow children but are ok to allow children if they’re customers. No h&s issues just bad, unhelpful management.”

Claudine also added that: “unfortunately a manager called me to reiterate that my breast feeding infant is not welcome @Oslo branches as part of their no child policy. While my other child has been a paying customer this is unacceptable.”

More support for breastfeeding mothers is needed

Aoife, a midwife and family friend of Claudine’s took to her public account on Instagram to call for better support for mothers when breastfeeding in public.

She said: “Yesterday, a beautiful breastfeeding mother, that I personally know, was denied entry into her South Dublin hairdressers because of her breastfeeding baby💔. Yep you read that right. This mother’s hair appointment was cancelled on the spot as there is a strict no baby policy, despite mum informing them that baby was simply present due to baby needing to breastfeed.🤱baby=❌appointment. Instead of undermining and shattering the confidence of breastfeeding mothers, we as a society need to be creating support systems that make it easier for mamas to feed whenever, wherever.🤱is a public health imperative that we all must protect.

This incident comes just days after a young breastfeeding mother was reprimanded for breastfeeding her baby daughter in a Sainsbury’s supermarket carpark in Wales.

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