London: A young mother was told to stop publicly breastfeeding her four-month-old son while in hospital as it was deemed to be “sexual”. 18-year-old Darcie Pennington was visiting her grandmother at the Royal Liverpool Hospital when she started feeding her son Vincent.
She was approached by a female nurse who told her to move to a private room so as not to make other hospital visitors “uncomfortable”. “I went to sit down with my nan and feed my son, shaking and very upset,” Darcie wrote in a Facebook post.
“The nurse then came over and slammed the curtains shut, telling me that I couldn’t feed him as there were males I would make feel uncomfortable.
“I asked her why I was being targeted and why she wasn’t promoting breastfeeding as a nurse I thought was strange, she told me she was protecting my dignity. “I then asked her if I was feeding him a bottle would I receive the same treatment – she went on to say, ‘bottle feeding isn’t sexual.’
“Appalled by this comment I asked her what she found sexual about a baby having something to eat from his mum. “I then had another nurse come over to me and felt very confronted and harassed.
“Me and my mum quickly got our belongings and left.” Deputy chief nurse Colin Hont apologised on the hospital’s behalf saying: “We are aware of a complaint made by Ms Pennington in relation to visiting her relative who was recovering on a ward that is primarily used for recovery from breast and eye surgery.
“We have apologised for the distress that has been caused and we are currently looking into the matter and would be happy to discuss this further with Ms Pennington.
“We fully support breastfeeding and visitors to our hospitals are welcome to breast- feed where they choose to and feel most comfortable,” he added.
“We also offer private spaces for mothers who wish for privacy when breastfeeding. We work to maintain the privacy and dignity of all our patients and visitors.”