Mum told to face wall in The Mayflower to breastfeed baby
A MOTHER was left "embarrassed and indignant" after she was "discriminated" against in a town centre restaurant because she wanted to breastfeed her baby.
Claire Knowles, 28, says she was asked to move and sit facing the wall at The Mayflower restaurant in Clarence Street after she told staff she was going to feed her 11-week- old daughter Jessica.
Claire, who lives in Warrington and was visiting Cheltenham with her fiancé Gary, 41, said she was shocked by the September 28 incident, which took place at 6.30pm.
The Greater Manchester Police Special Constabulary Sergeant said: "We sat down at a table in the middle of the restaurant and ordered and the soups came and we ate those and then Jessica, who was in the push chair, woke up when the starters came out and I told the waitress I was going to feed the baby, out of courtesy.
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"She said 'just a minute' and me and my fiancé looked at each other and we could see her talking to the manager and there was a lot of nodding and shaking of heads going on. She came back and said 'maybe you would like to sit over here' and I said 'no, we are happy here' but she insisted and I said 'no' again and that I would like to eat with my fiancé. She then picked up our starters and drinks as my fiancé said he would move with me.
"So we went over to the other table that was at the back of the restaurant near to the toilet and when we got there she pulled out a chair that faced the wall and she said they had "had complaints before".
"I sat down and I was facing the wall with my back to the restaurant and the entrance. I fed Jessica and the waitress kind of left us alone and didn't come back to clean the plates."
She added: "We were made to feel like we had a dirty secret... we were both pretty embarrassed.
"We finished our meal in shock and indignation."
Claire said they complained to the restaurant's manager and paid the bill although she didn't feel like they should have to. She said: "We were made to feel like we were doing something wrong. We were moved to the corner specifically because I was breastfeeding.
"The manager said that if we ever came back that it wouldn't happen again, but we said that we were visitors to Cheltenham and that we definitely wouldn't be coming back." Chun Kong, owner of The Mayflower, said he apologised "unreservedly" for the incident. He said it was a "genuine misunderstanding".
He said: "I apologise for the misunderstanding and the misunderstanding of the choice of words used in the conversation between the customer and the member of staff."
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