Mother called ‘slut’ for breastfeeding in Costa Coffee

Mum Rhea Holley says she was verbally abused by an elderly couple before Costa staff came to her rescue

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A new mum was called a ‘slut’ by an elderly couple for breastfeeding in Costa Coffee.

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Rhea Holley, 27, was left in ‘floods of tears’ after the slur, from a couple sitting nearby in the coffee shop in Purley, south London.

The mum-of-1 visited the coffee shop with her 11-month-old son Arthur and a friend.

“We had chosen Costa especially because we know it is breast-feeding-friendly,” she told the Croydon Advertiser. “Arthur was asleep at the time, so I went in and ordered us some drinks and cake.

“While we sat there, Arthur woke up and he was quite upset, and so I started to breastfeed him.

“A couple were on a table that was facing, in such a way that they did not have to look at me.

“I heard one of them say, ‘It is disgusting’, that I know what time babies should be fed and should stay at home then, and that I was a ‘slut’.”

Her friend then spoke to the couple, thought to be in their 60s, who said that they found Rhea’s breastfeeding ‘very offensive’.

Upset, Rhea went to talk to the manager, who advised her to remind the offended couple that the café was breastfeeding-friendly.

The Equality Act 2010 bans anyone asking a breastfeeding woman to leave a public place such as a cafe, shop or public transport.

“Arthur is 11 months old, so I can shrug this off but, if there was somebody with a newborn, it would be really damaging,” she said. “Babies don’t have a schedule – any normal person who goes out is not going to know when they will want a glass of water. Why should a baby be any different?

“Women should not be made to feel like they have to stay in.”

A spokesman for Costa said: “Mothers bring in children of all ages to Costa and they are always warmly welcomed by us.

“We have always been very happy for mothers to breastfeed in our stores, offering a family-friendly environment that is the perfect place for mums to relax with their children.”

Have you had any negative responses to breastfeeding in public? Let us know in the comments below.

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