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27th Jun 2023

Mum says she was called ‘unhygienic’ for breastfeeding in GP clinic

Ellen Fitzpatrick

A mum has revealed that she was told she was “unhygienic” after breastfeeding in a public place.

She opened up about the incident that took place in the waiting room for her GP clinic as she was breastfeeding her baby.

Co-founder of nanny agency, CocoRio, Lea Henry, said the incident left her completely confused as breastfeeding in public is legal in the UK.

The mum went for her baby’s 12-week injections but soon returned when her son “needed some soothing.”

As he then became hungry, the 27-year-old started feeding him in the waiting area when she was hit with nasty comments about the way she chose to feed her son in public.

Henry told Metro: “I was told I was being highly irresponsible and unhygienic by a stranger.”

Credit: Getty Images

Henry was left feeling “vulnerable” and “lost for words” and admitted that she “questioned if the person was right”.

It wasn’t long before she became “really saddened” by mothers being shunned for breastfeeding in public.

She has since “made a point of breastfeeding in public” to ensure the stigma is removed and made other mums feel more comfortable and supported.

She added: “[I’m] forcing myself to not make a big deal about it in the hopes that it would help empower at least one other woman to do the same.

“For me, breastfeeding in public is about feeling free to feed your baby wherever you want. Some women prefer privacy and that’s totally fine, but it should be their choice, and they shouldn’t be hiding away to make others more comfortable.”

According to the HSE, you are entitled to breastfeed in public places and you do not have to ask anyone for permission.

“Some places may offer a private area if you would like this, but you do not have to use it,” their advice states.

When in public, remember:

  • you can breastfeed anywhere you and your baby want or need to
  • wear something comfortable that can be opened easily for breastfeeding
  • do not wait until your baby gets too hungry or distressed