I couldn't believe my eyes, or ears, this week – as I witnessed a breastfeeding mum being told “please cover yourself up or I’ll have to ask you to leave”.
I really thought society had moved forward and such appalling discrimination towards such a natural act had been consigned to history.
Sadly, it seems this is not the case and the waitress, who I believe should be ashamed of her actions, felt it was perfectly reasonable to embarrass this poor mother in front of everyone.
In fact, I think mum had made every effort to be as discreet as possible, but even if she hadn’t, nothing would have warranted this quite outrageous attack.
In my opinion any woman should feel completely at ease to breastfeed her baby whenever she wishes, wherever she is – no exceptions.
The days when gangs of breastfeeding mums felt the need to besiege restaurants and cafes which refused to allow them to openly feed their babies should be long gone – sadly it seems some people are still living in the past.
Since being so taken aback by this behaviour last Friday, I’ve had the chance to discuss the issue and I now realise this isn’t a generational matter.
Speaking to my 80-year-old mum at the weekend, who incidentally chose to breastfeed all her children, she wholeheartedly agreed with me and feels any woman should be totally at ease to bare all and feed her child wherever she chooses.
But, when I shared my thoughts with a family friend, her 21-year-old daughter, who was busy getting ready for work, had such strong feelings on the subject she felt the need to share her views.
In her opinion, everywhere should encourage breastfeeding mums and make them welcome. However, she felt they should be provided with a space where they can spend time alone with their baby away from “prying eyes”.
She explained that while she believes no mother and child should ever be excluded for breastfeeding she feels the whole experience is so personal it should always be conducted in private.
In fact, she went further and says that in her experience breastfeeding is such an intensely personal and “sensual” experience she is surprised any woman could possibly feel comfortable feeding in public.
Ultimately it’s clearly a personal choice, but I still think no woman should ever feel ostracised for performing this most natural human function.