A mum has claimed she was told by a Matalan staff member to “go breastfeed her baby in Asda instead”.
Jasmin Suggit, 26, claims she was forced to leave the store in Hull with her crying and hungry five-week-old baby, Isaac, after being told "no, not in here" whilst breastfeeding by a staff member.
Company taken ‘immediate actions’
Ms Suggit used a seat to feed her baby after discovering the changing rooms were closed. She says she was told this was not allowed and she would have to go to a nearby Asda instead.
A Matalan spokeswoman apologised for the incident, adding the company had taken "immediate actions" to look into the circumstances.
Hull Live, who originally reported the story, said Ms Suggit shared her experience in the hope of “normalising” breastfeeding.
Ms Suggit said she does not want "anyone singling out", but she wants the company to promote awareness of the laws around breastfeeding amongst its staff.
She said it would have made "such a difference" to her shopping experience if the staff member had said she was welcome to take a seat and feed her baby.
‘You’ll have to do that in Asda’
In a email to Matalan, Ms Suggit explained: "Yesterday I visited the Hull Mount Pleasant Matalan store with my five-week old baby to buy clothes for the whole family.
"During my visit, my son started crying as he was hungry and needed feeding. I looked around and headed towards the changing rooms as I knew they would have a seat where I could discreetly feed him but noticed they were closed.
"The store was quiet so I went over to the shoe department for a seat and, out of politeness, asked a nearby store assistant if I could feed my baby here.
"She replied ‘no not in here and the bathroom is also closed. You’ll have to do that in Asda’. I was so shocked by this response that I immediately left the store with my crying newborn."
She added: "I’d like to point out that the shop assistant stated ‘the bathroom is closed too’. This is suggesting that this is a suitable place to feed my baby.
"A bathroom isn’t a hygienic place to feed a baby so why was this even suggested to me.
"This also adds to my argument that she was suggesting I may not breastfeed in the store but have to go and ‘hide in the bathroom’. Please educate your staff that any women can breastfeed her baby where ever she chooses."
Ms Suggit said she had never experienced anything like it: "I should feel confident to shop in your stores with my baby without panicking about if they will need feeding and where I am able to go.
She says she then received an "impersonal" and "unsatisfactory" reply back from the Matalan customer care team offering her a 20 per cent off online voucher.
A Matalan spokeswoman said: “We are sorry to hear of this customer’s disappointment in their experience with us.
"We want to make sure Matalan offers a welcoming and enjoyable experience for all the customers and families who shop with us, and the account that this customer has provided doesn’t sound like the high quality service that we’re committed to.
"We have taken immediate actions to look into the details of the concerns raised on this occasion, so that we can be in a position to take any further appropriate measures.”
A message from the editor:
Thank you for reading. NationalWorld is a new national news brand, produced by a team of journalists, editors, video producers and designers who live and work across the UK. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going.