A young mother was left in tears after she was banned from breastfeeding her baby in McDonald’s – and told to take the youngster into a public toilet.
Christine Wilson, 22, had gone into the fast-food restaurant in Coventry to eat when her seven-month-old son, Brooklyn, started to cry.
But she was ordered out by staff at the West Midlands branch who instead told her the only place she could breastfeed was in a shopping centre’s toilets.
Christine Wilson – pictured with Brooklyn and his father, James Richardson – said she felt humiliated and victimised after being told to go to the toilet and breastfeed
The 22-year-old claims she was told by staff that the only place she could go was the toilets in the shopping centre
Christine has blasted staff and says she felt ‘victimised’ by the incident which happened in the West Orchards Shopping Centre on March 29.
The carer, of Canley, Coventry, said: ‘I feel scared to go out on my own with little Brooklyn now – I’m a young mum and feel very vulnerable whenever I have to breastfeed in public.
‘Over the last few months, I’ve had really problems feeding in public. I’ve had all sorts of comments from passersby, telling me to cover up, calling me vile and saying I’m a bad mum.
‘It really affects your confidence, especially when it’s your first child. I was doing some shopping on the day in question, and wanted to go and have a bite to eat in McDonald’s.
‘As soon as I walked in, Brooklyn started crying his eyes out, he was desperate to be fed.
After going to speak to shopping mall staff, the young mother says she was once again told to go to the toilet and ‘be discreet’
‘I went up to a member of staff and asked where I could go to feed him. I was told the only place that I could go was the shopping centre toilets – it was horrific.
‘Who in their right mind is going to feed their young child on the toilet? It’s so unsanitary.
‘I went to the fifth floor to speak to management, and explained my situation to them. Again, the response was that I had to go to the toilets and be discreet about it.
‘I asked him how he would feel about eating food whilst sitting on the toilets, and he said that would be disgusting – even though that’s effectively what he was telling my son to do.
‘As I left the office, there was a woman on reception who was looking right at me, and started laughing.
‘The whole experience left me feeling incredibly embarrassed and victimised. In the end, I had to feed him on a spare table by the escalators, which was utterly humiliating.
Christine Wilson says she was anxious to feed Brooklyn when he started crying, but was faced with having to do so in a toilet
‘My confidence had been shattered in the first place, but to have to sit there as people went up and down, staring at me, was horrific.
‘I came home in a flood of tears, and had to finish feeding Brooklyn back at home.
‘I’ve not been back to the shopping centre since, and I can’t see why I would do. I take Brooklyn everywhere with me, so if there’s nowhere to feed him then it’s just going to make life a nightmare.
‘I find it baffling, because recently the shopping centre has been renovated. It’s 2018, so the fact that they haven’t thought of installing a discreet breastfeeding area is baffling.’
A spokesperson for McDonald’s said: ‘As a family restaurant we aim to create an atmosphere in which anyone breastfeeding feels comfortable, and customers are welcome to breastfeed in our dining areas.
‘If someone wants a more private area then we suggest that they speak to our team who will see what they can do to help.’
A spokesman for West Orchards said: ‘The lady managed to speak to the Duty Manager on the day who logged her complaint and explained the situation.
‘West Orchards indeed has a breastfeeding area, which is completely private and available to customers in the location of the ladies toilets on level 2.
‘As a centre, we welcome breastfeeding mums and have absolutely no issues with those who choose to breastfeed outside the dedicated area.
‘The centre offers a number of locations where a new mum can sit down and breastfeed her child.
‘However, the seating in a canteen belongs to each individual operator who has their own policies so it’s always best to check in advance.’