Breastfeeding: your reaction

Esquires staff member Alex Harrison, left, and Manager Gemma Hanson, right, with customer Lisa Lofthouse and her baby Sarah-Ann.'120159
Esquires staff member Alex Harrison, left, and Manager Gemma Hanson, right, with customer Lisa Lofthouse and her baby Sarah-Ann.'120159

THE Evening News website has one of the highest ever numbers of story comments following an article about a breastfeeding mum being thrown out of a town centre cafe.

The story about 27-year-old Lisa Lofthouse, who was asked to leave Esquires in the Brunswick Centre when someone complained about her feeding four-week-old Sarah-Anne, has attracted more than 80 responses.

The issue has opened up a debate among readers – some of whom support breastfeeding in public places and some who are against it.

Since the incident, the cafe manager has apologised to Mrs Lofthouse and the owner, Steve Hall, promised to address staff training issues.

He said: “Staff should still be aware of company policy, especially when there’s a sign up telling them it a few feet away.”

Supportive web comments included one from markdrum, who said: “Absolute disgrace, whoever complained should be ashamed of themselves.

“This is the most natural thing in the world, if you don’t like it you should get up and leave, not complain and make the mother feel like a criminal.”

Yorkshire Cowboy said: “Mothers are, and always have been, free to breastfeed in public places.

“Breastfeeding mothers are also protected in law under the provision of goods, services and facilities section of the Sexual Discrimination Act when breastfeeding, whatever the age of the baby, in places such as cafes, restaurants, libraries, surgeries etc.”

TSbnp said: “This is an appalling way to treat a young mum who was, after all, only doing what is natural.”

Some web users were more critical and questioned the need to breastfeed in a cafe, asking if the mum could not go somewhere else.

Mrs Lofthouse responded by saying: “I was a paying customer. Not only had I paid for my coffee but after being asked to leave I had no choice but to buy my baby formula and a bottle to be able to feed her.

“There is only one room available to feed a baby in the Brunswick and it is also the baby changing room which, if you are a parent, you will know yourself that you could be stood out there for ages until you can get in to change a baby, let alone feed them.”

The Equality Act 2010 made it illegal for anyone to ask a breastfeeding woman to leave a public place such as a cafe, shop or public transport. Mums can contact peer support group Scarborough Breast Friends by emailing scarboroughbreastfriends@gmail.com