Starbucks to provide emergency nappies in bid to become 'friendly place' for mothers

Baristas in more than 800 branches across the UK will also be trained to cope with breastfeeding mothers

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The Independent Online

Starbucks will be adding emergency nappies alongside its menu of lattes and mocchas from 3 March as it becomes the first high street store to join forces with the country’s largest parenting charity to provide “friendly places” for mums.

Baristas in more than 800 branches across the UK will also be trained to cope with breastfeeding mothers and offer to warm babies bottles as it commits to the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) charter. 

The charity say the scheme is the first of its kind and promises parents a welcoming environment to feed their child, whatever method they choose. 

Mothers are still often asked to stop breastfeeding their child in public places and a recent Public Health England poll showed many new mothers feel uncomfortable about doing, despite broad public support. The results showed more than a third shy away from breastfeeding in public, with 1 in 5 feeling others do not want them to see it happening.

Claridge’s hotel in London became the focus of protests just over a year ago after asking a woman to cover up while she was breastfeeding.

Mother-of-two Tori Chubb, 36, from Clapham, south London, said she hoped the scheme would especially benefit first-time mothers.

“I was very self-conscious when I was out with my daughter and I imagine many new mothers feel the same way,” she told the Independent. “It will be nice knowing there is somewhere everyone can go where they will be comfortable and the staff won’t be shocked seeing someone breastfeed. It will help those with toddlers as well – staff on hand putting young children into high chairs and things like that.” 

The NCT said it hoped more chains would be encouraged to follow Starbucks, support parents and reduce the stigma of breastfeeding in public. Their “parent friendly places” charter commits to ensuring a supportive environment for parents, particularly when it comes to feeding their child whether by breast, bottle or high chair – or a mix of all three.  

Qualified professionals from the NCT have designed and carried out a training programme for baristas while Starbucks stores will display the NCT Parent Friendly Places badge via a window sticker, alongside the charter. 

Dr Sarah McMullen, Head of Research and Quality at the NCT, said: “We know from our members, that many struggle with unwanted attention and comments on their feeding method whether it’s by breast, bottle or in a high chair, when out and about with their baby or child. 

“It’s important that parents feel reassured they have the support of staff and won’t be judged. We also know that it can be a challenge for establishments to understand and assist with the needs of parents with very young children.

“We believe this Charter will address the challenges parents face on the High Street and hope that other retailers will follow suit in becoming more parent-friendly.”

The coffee chain said it would improve information for parents about the location of babychanging facilities at Starbucks, or a nearest facility where these are available, and commit to improve store design with parents in mind.

Rhys Iley, vice president of operations for Starbucks EMEA, said: “We want all of our customers to have a good experience at Starbucks and we recognise that parents out on their own with very young children, sometimes for the first time, appreciate some support. 

“We hope parents of young children visiting our stores will let us know, there and then, if there is anything we can do to improve their experience. We welcome feedback as this is just the start of an evolving collaboration with NCT and its members.”