Mum told off for breastfeeding in museum ‘because no food and drink are allowed’
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A mum says she was left 'humiliated' after being told off for breastfeeding in a museum where 'no food and drink are allowed'.
Mum-of-two Fae Church, from Haverhill, was enjoying a family outing at the University Museum of Zoology in Cambridge earlier this month when it came time to feed her three-month-old son, Reuben.
The young boy had started to cry, so Fae took herself off to find a quiet area to feed him as her husband Aaron and daughter Sophie continued to looked around.
She recalled finding a corner with a chair and even went as far as to move it away from other visitors who were nearby at the time, explaining: “I positioned myself with the pillar to my back and my buggy in front of me, to act as a screen. I try to be as private as I possibly can with it and so I sat there."
Fae covered herself with a scarf while her baby fed and stressed that people walking past 'didn’t pay any attention' as they were looking at the exhibits, but she made herself known to a member of staff who she claims 'gave her a 'sort of funny sideways glance'' after she'd finishing the feed and began to wind her son.
"I hope you don't mind - I just made this my breastfeeding corner," the mum said.
Unfortunately, the reaction was not quite as she expected.
Fae explained: “There was a sort of silence and she looked at me again and she went ‘Actually no, it’s not ok because no food and drink are allowed to be consumed in the museum’.
“I stared at her, my jaw slightly open, and I didn’t know what to say. She then said ‘there is a café upstairs, you should have gone there’."
Fae described herself as being 'utterly humiliated' at getting told off, and responded to the worker to say: "Oh, well he’s finished feeding now anyway”.
The mum pointed out that she has previously breastfed both of her children in public without receiving any negative comments, and said she found it 'shocking' that the worker, especially with her being a woman, seemed 'disgruntled' with her.
"I was absolutely shaken by it, I just couldn't believe it. She was making me feel humiliated by it. I did just feel about three inches high in that moment, it wasn't nice," Fae explained.
"If she had come over and said ‘there's a nice area here or I can help you go there’, that would have been perfectly normal and a kind thing to do... Breastfeeding, it's hard and exhausting and you have to really persevere to do it... We should all be supporting each other."
The family didn't have time to report the incident on the day, but the University Museum of Zoology explains on its website that 'Breastfeeding and bottle feeding is welcomed in all Museum spaces'.
Following the incident, a spokesperson for the museum apologised 'wholeheartedly' on behalf of all of the workers and stressed it 'absolutely' allows and welcomes breastfeeding and bottle feeding.
"The volunteer she spoke to made an unfortunate mistake, one which is not reflective of our culture or policy," the spokesperson said.
“As soon as we were made aware of what had happened, we shared it with the whole volunteer and staff team. We’ve ensured that they know how important it is that visitors should feel comfortable breastfeeding and bottle-feeding in the Museum, to avoid visitors being left feeling the way she has been, with some specific pointers about how they can support parents who ask about quieter spots they can use."
The museum also promised to 'be more specific' about its rules while giving inductions to new volunteers, adding: "It’s so unusual that things go wrong in the way they have here. We are hopeful that with these extra communications, events like this won’t happen again.”