Mum left ‘embarrassed’ by cafe’s comment after she breastfed daughter there

Prairie Zephaniah and her daughter Dekota were eating at Caffe Dominic and Piccolo Deli in Clacton.

Prairie Zephaniah and her daughter Dekota were eating at Caffe Dominic and Piccolo Deli in Clacton. Picture: PRAIRIE ZEPHANIA - Credit: Archant

A first-time mother was left feeling “embarrassed and ashamed” by comments allegedly made by a Clacton cafe after she breastfed her baby daughter there.

Prairie Zephaniah and her daughter Dekota were eating at Caffe Dominic and Piccolo Deli in Clacton,

Prairie Zephaniah and her daughter Dekota were eating at Caffe Dominic and Piccolo Deli in Clacton, when Prairie was asked not to feed her baby if she were to return. Picture: PRAIRIE ZEPHANIA - Credit: Archant

Prairie Zephania was enjoying lunch with her mother-in-law at Caffe Dominic and Piccolo Deli, in Clacton High Street, when her three-month-old daughter Dekota woke up for a feed.

After finishing her feed, Prairie passed Dekota to her grandmother and finished her drink.

But, according to Prairie, a member of staff then approached her and said she should not feed her baby in the cafe if she were to return.

The barmaid from Clacton said she immediately felt embarrassed and quickly left the cafe after paying.

Prairie Zephaniah and her daughter Dekota were eating at Caffe Dominic and Piccolo Deli in Clacton,

Prairie Zephaniah and her daughter Dekota were eating at Caffe Dominic and Piccolo Deli in Clacton, when Prairie was asked not to feed her baby if she were to return. Picture: PRAIRIE ZEPHANIA - Credit: Archant


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Prairie said: “I was absolutely fuming. It made me want to cry.

“I’m a first-time mum and I was completely embarrassed - it has really knocked my confidence.”

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She gives Dekota ‘on-demand feeding’, which means whenever she signals that she is hungry she will feed her.

She purposely tries to feed Dekota before leaving the house to avoid having to breastfeed in public, but Prairie has to provide whenever Dekota is hungry.

While the cafe did not specify they were against her breastfeeding there - instead simply saying she shouldn’t ‘feed’ her child there if she returned - Prairie felt as though the comment did refer to breastfeeding.

The 23-year-old continued: “I think this is the reason that so many mothers purposely stay at home to feed.”

The issue later sparked a huge debate online, with some saying they thought the way Prairie was treated was “disgusting”.

What was the cafe’s response?

Michelle, who manages the cafe, said: “Our cafe has unsuitable access for both prams and highchairs, so we asked the woman to sit at the back of the cafe due to the limited space.

“We tried to help the woman when the baby started crying loudly, but we were powerless to do anything more.

“I can’t be sure what the chef said, but we never meant to make her feel uncomfortable and we are sorry for any upset caused. We were completely unaware of the issue and I am deeply saddened that such an event can happen on social media and what a detrimental effect it will have.”

The chef said he asked the woman that if she were to return to the cafe if she could “not feed her baby” and denies mentioning breastfeeding.

What does the law state?

The Equality Act 2010 specifically clarifies that it is “unlawful for a business to discriminate against a woman because she is breastfeeding a child”.

The law states that “a business may ask a breastfeeding woman to leave their premises if the reason for this request is not due to her breastfeeding”.

It goes on to say: “However, if the woman later claims that discrimination occurred because she was breastfeeding, the business will have to prove that there was in fact no discrimination.”

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