A woman has been banned from breastfeeding her baby in Mothercare, the UK's largest baby retailer which also caters for expectant mothers and young children. Zoe Frangou, 29, was "shocked and upset" when a member of staff at Mothercare in Bluewater, Kent, told her she wasn't allowed to breastfeed her baby in the store, ITV News reported. When Frangou's three-month-old son began crying to be fed, she found a quiet spot in the shop to do so. But a member of staff soon told her to stop because they were moving boxes around, although Frangou said she couldn't recall anyone doing so. Frangou's son was also reportedly unwell at the time of her store visit, which she said made the experience even more stressful. The staff member also reportedly told Frangou that while the branch used to have a breastfeeding room, it had since been converted into a storeroom. After sending a formal complaint to the high-street store and receiving no response, Frangou took to Facebook to complain about her treatment. “What is more shocking is that this was in one of the largest mum and baby retailers in the UK," she wrote. "I am disgusted at how I was treated and that the welfare of me and baby [were] not considered. This was even more stressful because he has been very unwell." People have shown their support for Frangou on social media, with other mothers appearing particularly sympathetic and appalled by how she was treated, and suggesting an in-store breastfeeding protest, ITV News reported. Others pointed out the irony of a baby retailer that sells breastfeeding products stopping a woman from doing so on its premises.
@BBCRADIOKENT disgraceful by mothercare. Of all places you expect to feel safe and the place that makes money out of breastfeeding products.— Sarah Egan (@sazdaz80) November 1, 2016
This is awful if true. As a new mum the @Mothercareuk feeding room was always such a welcome haven ? > https://t.co/Zeml2ErwiT"— Helena Riches (@HelenaRiches) November 1, 2016
That's like Wetherspoons asking me to stop drinking lager.— BermondseyBoy (@Bermondsey1885) October 31, 2016
Mothercare issued a formal apology to Frangou, saying it "would like to sincerely apologise to Mrs Frangou for the disappointing way she was treated in our store". The spokesperson said the store's breastfeeding policy is to "fully support" nursing mothers. "Our customers are welcome to nurse their children anywhere on the premises and for those who prefer some privacy, we provide comfortable feeding facilities," the apology read. "We are saddened to hear that on this occasion, our guidelines were not adhered and her complaint was not dealt with immediately. We are fully investigating this incident and will be making sure that all our store teams are aware of our breastfeeding policy and guidelines for supporting our customers." Breastfeeding in public is often extremely difficult for new mothers. Despite it being illegal for anyone to ask a breastfeeding woman to leave a public place for breastfeeding, there have been numerous instances of women being asked to stop. Most notably, a woman was asked to cover her baby's head with a napkin while she was breastfeeding in London's Claridges in 2014.