McDonald's may pride itself on its child-friendly image, but the fast-food chain has been rated the least friendly place in Britain for women to breastfeed.
Staff have told mothers to stop breastfeeding in outlets, or asked them to use a toilet cubicleto feed their babies, a survey by the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) has found.
Demelza Hall, a 27-year-old mother, said her experience in McDonald's in Leicester made her "feel that "it was still unacceptable, in this day and age, to breastfeed babies".
She went into the outlet with her six-month-old son Alexander, and eight-year-old daughter Jasmine. She asked a member of staff where she could feed her son. "I was told, 'You can breastfeed in the toilets.'
"When I explained I do not breastfeed in toilets because I would not eat my lunch in toilets, I was offered no alternative," she said.
Ms Hall then tried to find a quiet area in the restaurant. She said: "I am a very private person, . I had a muslin cloth covering me, but another woman gave me such disapproving looks that I felt wholly uncomfortable."
In contrast, Scandinavian furniture store Ikea was rated the friendliest place for mothers to breastfeed their children. Meanwhile, Asda, Tesco, Mothercare and Boots all received mixed responses.
In recognition of the dubious distinction of being rated the least friendly place for women to breastfeed, McDonald's have been awarded the Booby Prize by the NCT.
The comedienne Jo Brand, who is ambassador for the award, said: "It's ironic that McDonald's has been awarded the booby prize - breast milk is as 'fast-food' as it gets."Rosie Dodds, Policy Research Officer at the NCT, said: "McDonald's and most other large companies do have positive breastfeeding policies but what is important is for these policies to be implemented on the ground.
"We want all employers to provide their staff with information about their breastfeeding policies and full training on how to make breastfeeding mums feel comfortable."
The NCT survey found 79 per cent of mothers would back a law to protect a woman's right to breastfeed in public places, to bring the rest of the UK in line with Scotland.
A McDonald's spokesperson said: "We aim to create an atmosphere in which a breastfeeding mother may feel comfortable, and breastfeeding has always been allowed within the dining area."Reuse content