A GROUP of mums staged a protest at a McDonald's branch after one of them was ordered to leave for breastfeeding her baby.
Nursery nurse Maddie Reynolds, 27, of Stanfield Road, Winton, popped into the McDonald's at Asda Castlepoint two weeks ago, after she had been shopping and began feeding 10-week-old Sophie.
But she was shocked when a McDonald's manager approached her, told her to stop and then ordered her to leave when she refused.
When Maddie told other mums they decided to go en masse to McDonald's and breastfeed their babies in the café as a protest.
The visit yesterday, however, passed off without incident and McDonald's shift manager Jay Harris reassured the Echo that mums were welcome to breastfeed in the restaurant.
The company has since apologised and said it was "shocked" by its employee's actions two weeks ago.
Maddie said: "We just want to prove a point. I was at McDonald's a couple of weeks ago and was breastfeeding and I was asked to stop doing it by a McDonald's member of staff.
"He asked me to stop and I said no'. He then said Will you please leave?' and I refused and carried on. He stood and watched me for a few minutes and went away. I was quite upset but I wasn't prepared to leave."
Fellow protester Catherine Davis, 19, of Alma Road, Winton, mum to seven-week-old Amelia, said: "I just thought it was disgusting. It's the most natural thing to feed your baby and there's nothing wrong with it.
"Everyone says breast is best'. I have breastfed in public and no-one ever has ever said anything to me. I think it's fine as long as you're discreet."
Nicky Clark, of Lakeside, Ringwood, said: "My son is five months old and I am still feeding him. No-one has ever said anything to me. There's no reason why people shouldn't be able to breastfeed."
Alison Purves, spokesperson for McDonald's, said breastfeeding mums were welcomed in its restaurants.
She said: "This manager was working unilaterally and not following company policy at all. We are very disgusted and shocked by his actions and we would like to apologise to the customer.
"If another customer ever expressed their discomfort about breastfeeding we would encourage them to move rather than the mum.
"What we don't want to do is to make mums feel as if they have to hide away."
- A picnic in Bournemouth Lower Gardens to highlight the campaign to give mums the right to breastfeed in public places takes place from 12 noon to 4pm on Monday (July 21).