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10 October 2019, 10:33 | Updated: 10 October 2019, 10:51
A cafe owner has found herself at the centre of backlash after she told a breastfeeding mum to "cover up".
Francesca Truss, who runs The Kitchen in Ilminster, Somerset, has been forced to defend herself after she told a new mum she was “embarrassing” an elderly customer.
The mum, who doesn’t want to be named, had been breastfeeding her three-week old daughter when she was approached by Francesca and asked to “cover up”.
Admitting she was “mortified” by the incident - which happened on October 3rd - the parent left the cafe soon after.
She later took to the cafe’s Facebook page to complain, writing: “I was really shocked after the way I was treated when visiting this cafe yesterday.
“I met a friend for coffee and was breastfeeding my three-week-old baby when I was asked to cover up so as not to embarrass the other customers.
“It was made out that the old gentleman in the corner was embarrassed. But when he left and we questioned the owner this wasn’t the case at all, it was the owner that had the issue with me breastfeeding.”
She went on to say: “I was told that I need to remember it’s a ‘generational thing’. I’d like to add I was being as discreet as possible and even wear layers to enable me to do this.
“I was the one that was left feeling extremely embarrassed and mortified. We promptly finished up and left.”
The mum added: “This is normally such a friendly welcoming place so I was extremely disappointed with this attitude, especially in this day and age.”
Following the criticism, now Francesca claims she’s been subjected to ‘disgraceful’ social media backlash, but insisted she “never meant to offend” the woman.
According to the Equality Act 2010, an enterprise ‘cannot discriminate against mothers who are breastfeeding a child of any age’ and a mum doesn’t have to cover up if she doesn’t wish to.
Cafe owner Francesca said she didn’t know it was ‘against the law’, adding: “[breastfeeding mums] they need to realise there are other people around."
Making Somerset ‘a welcoming place for breastfeeding’, has been made a public health priority by Somerset County Council.
A scheme called ‘Positive About Breastfeeding’ aims to promote the benefits of feeding a baby in the 'most natural' way.
Emily Hutt, health promotion manager said: "By supporting the increase in breastfeeding prevalence, we are going some way to reduce inequalities experienced by some groups within the population.
"It is the right of the mother to choose how, and where to feed their baby.
"We would encourage everyone in Somerset to respect the choice of the mother/family and to be sensitive to the challenges they may be facing as a parent.
"This may be with regards to infant feeding or anything that could present itself when transitioning into parenthood."