A mum from Kent was forced to stop breastfeeding her unwell baby in a Mothercare store, and her Facebook complaint about the incident has since gone viral.
Zoe Frangou’s complaint to the Mothercare UK Facebook page has received support from thousands of fellow parents after she was treated with disrespect because of trying to breastfeed in one of their stores.
Zoe, 29, explains that she was on a shopping trip with a friend, who also has a baby, when they decided to go into Mothercare in the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent with their children – who are three months and five months old.
Unfortunately, Zoe’s baby had been unwell, which she details in her post, ‘My baby was on antibiotics for an ear infection and had been asleep for over 5.5 hours and hadn’t fed in this time.’
Upon entering the store, Zoe asked the shop assistant where she would be able to breastfeed, remembering that Mothercare used to provide breastfeeding facilities.
‘I asked a member of staff (Susan) if there were any feeding/changing facilities. I was told by Susan ‘no, there is nothing like that here’.’
Zoe found a quiet space and ensured that she was discreet as possible to soothe her baby, ‘My baby started screaming and needed to feed. I found an empty area of the shop with some footstools and sat down to feed my baby. I was discrete, covered up and had my pram close to me.’
However, the mum describes how the shop assistant found where she was sitting and told her not to breastfeed, in an exchange that Zoe found upsetting.
I WAS TOLD I CANNOT BREASTFEED MY BABY IN YOUR STORE and your complaints department have done nothing but patronise me! I went into your Mothercare store in Bluewater on Friday afternoon on 2nd…
‘She marched over to me, stood right in front of me (in an intimidating way) while I was sitting down and said ‘you know you can’t breastfeed here’.’
‘She repeated ‘I said you can’t breastfeed here.’ I replied and said ‘sorry, are you really telling me that I am not allowed to breastfeed my baby here??’ Susan said ‘yes you can’t just breastfeed here because we are, er, moving things around’.’
Zoe pointed out that she could not see anything being moved around, and that if the shop was a dangerous environment to have a baby in her arms then the shop should be closed completely.
At the time of her complaint Zoe concludes that after a ‘scripted apology’ and seven weeks of waiting, Mothercare had still failed to do anything about her complaint.
See posts, photos and more on Facebook.
Since being posted just two days ago, Zoe’s post has gone viral with nearly 1500 shares and 600 comments of supportive mothers.
One user commented, ‘This is horrendous. If Mothercare doesn’t do something about this, I suggest going to the press’ whilst another said, ‘I think it is terrible. Mothercare of all places should welcome anything baby related. An open policy where parents and babies are top priority.’
Mothercare said that their customer service team is currently looking into the complaint.
A spokesman said: ‘At Mothercare we fully support breast-feeding within our stores.
‘Mothers can nurse their children anywhere on the premises and for those who prefer some privacy, we provide comfortable feeding facilities.’