By Sophie Barnett
A new mother who was breastfeeding her four-week-old baby in a Sainsbury’s car park was told by a staff member it was “inappropriate”.
Beth Coles left the supermarket store in Kidderminster, Worcestershire, at around 8.30pm on Friday after her newborn daughter Rosie began to cry.
Her partner James stayed inside to finish off their food shop while the young mother went to breastfeed in their car.
Ms Coles said she was fully covered with a blanket and muslin and was breastfeeding Rosie when there was a knock at the window from a Sainsbury’s staff member.
The woman, who wasn’t wearing a name badge, then allegedly told Ms Coles it was “inappropriate” to be breastfeeding there.
The new mother, who suffers with postnatal depression and borderline personality disorder (BPD), told LBC the comment made her “so upset”.
“I’m in shock that Sainsbury’s haven’t responded but yet are claiming that they have apologised properly.
“It’s made me believe that I shouldn’t be leaving the house with my 4 week old even more than I did before just incase it happens again.”
At 8:30pm on Friday 24th of June My car was approached by a female member of staff & told to stop BF my 4week old because it’s inappropriate. Please read photos of my fb post on a safe page. Not used twitter before #breastfeedingmama #breastfeeding #breastfeedingawarness pic.twitter.com/qOYNGfcaaC— Beth Coles (@BethColes96) June 26, 2022
The 25-year-old said she was determined not to stop breastfeeding her baby but because she was so upset Rosie moved and stopped feeding.
She said she “hasn’t left the house” since the comment was made.
A number of people from breastfeeding groups, both on Twitter and Facebook, have written to Sainsbury’s on Ms Coles’ behalf to complain about how she was treated.
One woman, named Charlotte, who runs a breastfeeding group, said the incident “has really upset and knocked the confidence of a first time mother suffering with postnatal depression”.
She called on the supermarket to deal with the incident as soon as possible.
Hi @sainsburys, can you please ensure your staff at Kidderminster branch understand the laws around breastfeeding. At 8:30pm last night a female member of staff in uniform approached a breastfeeding mother in the car park of your store 1/2— Charlotte (@themilkrebel) June 26, 2022
A Sainsbury’s spokesperson told LBC they have apologised to Ms Coles for the “unacceptable” incident.
“We have apologised to Ms Coles for this unacceptable experience and we have reassured her that breastfeeding is very welcome in our stores,” the spokesperson said.
“We are investigating with the store and further training will be provided to our colleagues where necessary.”
It is entirely legal to breastfeed in public places anywhere in the UK.
According to the Equality Act of 2010, treating a woman unfavourably because she is breastfeeding a child of any age is considered sex discrimination.