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Mum ‘humiliated’ after being ‘told off’ for breastfeeding at museum

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A mother was left “utterly humiliated” after she was “told off” for breastfeeding her three-month-old baby at a museum.

Fae Church, 35, claimed one of the volunteers at Cambridge Zoology Museum had told her “it’s not ok because no food and drink are allowed” in the attraction.

Fae popped into the museum with her husband Aaron Church, 35 and their two children – Sophie, five, and three-month-old Reuben, ahead of meeting her mother and sister nearby later that day.

But when Reuben started crying, Fae walked to a quiet corner, with a pillar and a chair to feed her son.

Speaking to Cambridgeshire Live, Fae said: “I positioned myself with the pillar to my back and my buggy in front of me to act as a screen, I try and be as private as I possibly can with it and so I sat there.”

The mum had a jacket on, and a scarf over the top with the buggy in front. A few people walked past but Fae said: “They didn’t pay any attention to me they were looking at the exhibits.”

When one woman gave Fae a “sort of funny sideways glance”, Fae engaged with the woman and said in a jovial way: “I hope you don’t mind, I just made this my breastfeeding corner.”

Fae, from Haverhill, Suffolk, added: “There was a sort of silence and she looked at me again and she went ‘actually no, it’s not ok because no food and drink are allowed to be consumed in the museum’.

“I stared at her, my jaw slightly went open and I didn’t know what to say, she then said ‘there is a café upstairs, you should have gone there’.

“I felt utterly humiliated like a little girl at school, just getting told off, I didn’t know what to say.”

Fae finished feeding Reuben, but was “really shaken up” by the experience.

“She seemed disgruntled with me. It was just bizarre and it left me really shaken up. Especially from a woman, I found it quite shocking,” Fae said.

“I was absolutely shaken by it, I just couldn’t believe it. She was making me feel humiliated by it. I did just feel about three inches high in that moment, it wasn’t nice.”

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I was absolutely shaken by it, I just couldn’t believe it. She was making me feel humiliated by it

Fae Church

The museum, which is part of University of Cambridge, says “breastfeeding and bottle feeding is welcomed in all spaces”.

But mother-of-two Fae was unhappy with the lack of “kindness” the woman showed her.

Fae continued: “It was the way she said it, there wasn’t any kindness from her comments. Most people would have helped me, because I had a big buggy with me and you have your baby in your arms, it’s difficult finding places to breastfeed.

“And I’ve never been to the café upstairs, I didn’t know if it was open or how to get to it. With a baby crying you just go and find an area as quick as you possibly can to settle them.

“If she had come over and said ‘there’s a nice area here or I can help you go there’, that would have been perfectly normal and a kind thing to do.”

“Breastfeeding, it’s hard and exhausting and you have to really persevere to do it, just generally, that alone being made to feel like you shouldn’t be doing it when you’re out and about. We should all be supporting each other, especially as a woman, she should support me to be doing something that’s natural, and the best thing I can possibly do for my child, it’s quite shameful behaviour.”

The University Museum of Zoology states on its website under the “visiting with families” section “Breastfeeding and bottle feeding is welcomed in all Museum spaces”.

In a response to this a spokesperson for The University Museum of Zoology said: “On behalf of all the staff and volunteers at the Museum of Zoology we can only apologise wholeheartedly for what happened to Fae and the way she was made to feel.

“We absolutely allow and welcome breastfeeding and bottle-feeding in all our public spaces. We pride ourselves on being a family-friendly museum and it’s terrible that a visitor was treated in this manner.

“The volunteer she spoke to made an unfortunate mistake, one which is not reflective of our culture or policy.”

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