Breastfeeding mothers to stage protest outside Claridge's after woman was told to cover up

The hotel said it is not against breastfeeding as long as it is 'discreet'

Lamiat Sabin@LamiatSabin
Saturday 06 December 2014 10:22

Around 100 mothers are set to breastfeed outside Claridge’s today in protest of the Mayfair hotel telling a woman to cover up while she was nursing her baby.

Campaign group Free to Feed will be assembling outside the upmarket establishment at 2pm in a peaceful demonstration in support of mothers who choose to feed their babies in public.

Louise Burns, 35, was asked by staff to cover herself and her baby’s head with a large napkin to avoid “causing offence” to other diners, however Claridge's insists it “embraces” breastfeeding but has urged mothers to be “discreet”.

She was out with her 12-week-old daughter, mother and sister for a meal on Monday before she tweeted her feelings about being told to cover up.

The incident sparked debate as to whether it is acceptable to breastfeed in public with Ukip leader Nigel Farage being one of the political figures to wade in with their opinions.

While Downing Street stated that women should be allowed to nurse their babies in public, Farage said that he understood why some people would find it off-putting, while he claimed that he was fine with the idea himself.

When asked if women should be told to go to the toilet to breastfeed, Farage said on LBC radio: “Or perhaps sit in the corner, or whatever it might be – that’s up to Claridge’s.

“It’s not an issue that I get terribly hung up about, but I know particularly people of the older generation feel awkward and embarrassed by it.”

The hotel responsed to Ms Burns' tweets by saying that they did not intend to cause offence by the request.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said on his LBC show that people should “ease up and be a bit more relaxed” about breastfeeding outside the home.

In May, women took to Sports Direct stores to breastfeed en masse after a mother was asked to leave a branch in Nottingham. The nationwide protests were organised by Free to Feed founder Emily Slough, from Staffordshire, who was called a "tramp" on Facebook for feeding her baby while sat on a step in public.

The Equality Act - which came into force in 2010 - states that it is classed as sex discrimination to “treat a woman unfavourably because she is breastfeeding.”

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