Friday, July 18, 2008

McDonald's apologises after group of mothers staged sit-in over breast-feeding ban

A McDonald's manager who told a young woman to stop breastfeeding found himself faced with a demonstration of Mum Power.

Maddie Reynolds returned with five friends she had met at ante-natal classes and they staged a mass feed-in at the restaurant.

'We all walked in to McDonald's together and sat around one table right by the counter,' said 27-year-old Miss Reynolds, a nursery nurse from Bournemouth.

We began breastfeeding our babies all at the same time to make a point. We caused a bit of a stir among customers but none of the staff looked our way.

'Someone told a manager what we were doing but he just muttered that he couldn't comment.'

The incident happened at the McDonald's branch inside an Asda supermarket in the resort.

Miss Reynolds was feeding ten-week-old Sophie when the staff member intervened.

'I had a proper maternity top on which is designed for breastfeeding so no one could see anything,' she said.

'I was angry when the man told me to leave but knew I wasn't doing anything wrong so I carried on. But he just stood there and watched me for a few minutes.

'I felt so humiliated but put my head down and didn't stop and eventually he walked off. I felt so cross and upset.'

Miss Reynolds lives with partner Karl Brackenborough, 29, who works as a television fitter and repairer.

She added: 'I choose to breastfeed Sophie because I know it's healthy and the best thing for her.

'I remember reading about a similar incident a while back where a woman was thrown out of a coffee shop for breastfeeding.

'She was so upset by it that she started using bottles instead. I wasn't prepared to let something like that happen to anyone else again.'

Fellow protester Catherine Davis, 19, took her seven-week-old daughter Amelia along to the sit-in.

She said: 'I just thought the way Maddie was treated was disgusting. It's the most natural thing to feed your baby and there's nothing wrong with it.

'Everyone says breast is best. I have breastfed in public and no one ever has ever said anything to me. I think it's fine as long as you are discreet.'

Alison Purves, spokesman for McDonald's, said the company was 'disappointed' by the junior manager's actions. Breastfeeding mothers were welcomed in all its restaurants.

'This manager was working unilaterally and not following company policy at all. If another customer ever expressed their discomfort about breastfeeding we would encourage them to move rather than the mum.

'What we don't want to do is to make mums feel as if they have to hide away.'
She said the manager involved had been told he had made a mistake.

'We are confident he will make the right decision in future.'


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