A new mother has revealed how she was left ‘mortified’ after being asked to go into the back room of a restaurant to breastfeed her baby.
Carla Francome, 37, was in the middle of feeding six-month-old Archie on a Saturday lunchtime when she was told she would have to ‘cover up’ or leave the main part of Italian eatery La Porchetta, in Islington, London.
The mother, from Archway, London, said she was horrified and was made to feel as though she was doing something wrong.
Carla Francome, 37, was in the middle of feeding six-month-old Archie on a Saturday lunchtime when she was told she would have to ‘cover up’ or leave the main part of Italian eatery La Porchetta, in Islington, London
Carla was approached by a male waiter at La Porchetta, above, an Italian chain in London, and asked to move
Carla told FEMAIL: ‘I totally broke down and cried in the restaurant. I felt like I must have done something embarrassing.’
Carla was having lunch with friends when she lifted her T-shirt to feed Archie.
She said she didn’t use a blanket to cover herself as she was facing the kitchen and there was only one other family in there but she said there would have only been a ‘centimetre of skin on show.’
The waiting staff in the restaurant were all male, according to Carla, and one approached her to ask her if she would like to breastfeed in the back room.
Carla said: ‘It was weird to have a man come up to you while breastfeeding. I was shocked to feel I was doing this in way which was like flashing. I was so mortified.’
Carla asked what the waiter meant and said she was told it was their policy for mothers who breastfeed to cover up completely or use the back room as a man had once complained.
Carla, pictured with Archie, said: ‘It was weird to have a man come up to you while breastfeeding. I was shocked to feel I was doing this in way which was like flashing. I was so mortified’
The mother then tried to feed Archie downstairs on a sofa before leaving to go to another cafe.
Carla said: ‘I felt like I was in a place that was safe [when I started breastfeeding]. But after that I thought “How am I going to be able to do it again?”‘
La Porchetta advertises itself as an ‘informal, family-owned chain’ with the first restaurant opened 25 years ago in Finsbury Park, London, with three other restaurants across London.
A spokeswoman for the chain told the Islington Tribune it ‘apologised unreservedly’ for the incident. She added: ‘I am really disappointed, it is absolutely not our policy. It is very unfortunate.
‘We can only apologise to this lady. The manager will be disciplined.’
FEMAIL has contacted the chain for comment.
Carla said she felt embarrassed although it is legally allowed for women to breastfeed in public
Women are legally allowed to breastfeed anywhere, but Carla, who used to work in television, was unaware of this at the time and left after she felt uncomfortable.
Carla has since struggled to breastfeed in public after feeling ‘humiliated’ in the restaurant six weeks ago.
Claridge’s hotel in Mayfair attracted controversy in 2014 when a woman was asked to cover up.
Louise Burns complained that she was asked to place a large napkin over her baby’s head in the restaurant as she breastfed.