A YOUNG mum claims bridal shop staff broke the law by refusing to allow her to breastfeed in the store.
Paula Stock, 24, of Letzen Road, Canvey, says workers at Bird’s Bridal, in Chelmsford, told her she could not feed her five-month-old son, Sydney.
The Equality Act 2010, which covers breastfeeding in public, says it is unlawful for a business to discriminate against a woman because she is breastfeeding.
The shop, in Broomfield Road, has apologised to Miss Stock and pledged to set aside a suitable area for use by breastfeeding mums. Miss Stock visited the shop with her mother and sister, Rochelle Thomas, to pick up Rochelle’s £900 wedding dress.
Sydney was asleep when they arrived, which allowed mum-of-two Miss Stock to watch her sister try it on.
But her baby woke up for a feed and, despite her attempts to pacify him, he became so upset she asked staff if it would be OK to breastfeed.
Miss Stock said: “The lady looked a bit awkward and went to ask her colleague.
“Another woman came out and said, ‘I can’t let you do that’, and said they had dresses in there that were worth thousands of pounds and I would have to go outside.
“He was absolutely screaming and I needed to get him fed as quickly as I could, so I went back to the car.
“I was really upset and angry. I felt guilty as well, as I felt I had ruined what should have been something enjoyable for my sister.”
Miss Stock said she would understand the store’s app- roach if she had a toddler running around with sticky fingers.
She added: “Breastfeeding is a completely natural thing for women to do. It was a really disgusting way to be treated.
“There were no other customers in the shop, so it wouldn’t have made other people feel awkward.”
Lyn Bird, manager of Bird’s Bridal, said: “We sincerely apologise for any upset caused.
“It was totally unintentional to upset Miss Stock. We felt we didn’t have a suitable area due to the lack of space and our own reservations with stock.
“This certainly will not happen again, because we have given a lot of thought to a suitable area for future use.”