A new mum has said she “broke down and cried” after a restaurant asked her to leave the main room to breastfeed her baby.
Carla Francombe, 37, was feeding 6-month-old Archie in Italian restaurant La Porchetta in Islington, London, one Saturday lunchtime around six weeks ago when she was told by a member of staff that she would either have to “cover up” or go into the back room of the eatery.
The Londoner said she was horrified and made to feel as if she had done something wrong.
“I totally broke down and cried in the restaurant,” she told FEMAIL. “I felt like I must have done something embarrassing.”
Carla, who was having lunch with friends at the time, said she lifted her T-shirt to feed her son, and didn’t use a blanket to cover herself as she was facing the kitchen and only had a “centimetre of skin on show.”
However, it appears that a centimetre of skin was too much for one particular waiter to handle, as he swiftly informed her that the restaurant’s policy was for breastfeeding mothers to cover up completely or use the back room — because a man had once complained.
A spokeswoman for La Porchetta, which advertises itself as an “informal, family-owned chain,” told the Islington Tribune it “apologised unreservedly” for the incident.
“I am really disappointed, it is absolutely not our policy,” she added. “It is very unfortunate. We can only apologise to this lady. The manager will be disciplined.”
Since feeling humiliated in La Porchetta, Carla says she has struggled to feed Archie in public. “I felt like I never wanted to breastfeed in public again,” she said. “The only way this is going to get better is if people get used to doing it all the time.”
It’s crazy that barely a week goes by without another story of breastfeeding mothers being humiliated and discriminated against in public places making the news. Any chance we can send a group email to every business — large and small — in the U.K. with a reminder that women are legally allowed to breastfeed anywhere.
Just what is it about this that’s so difficult to understand?