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Last Updated: Monday, 21 November 2005, 19:40 GMT
Law stops mum from breast feeding
Margaret Boyle-White
Margaret Boyle-White said she was shocked and embarrassed
A woman who says she was stopped by the police after breastfeeding her baby in public is demanding an apology.

Margaret Boyle-White fed her daughter, Niamh, on a bench while shopping in Watton High Street in Norfolk.

Minutes later as she walked home to Carbrooke, she was stopped by police who said there had been a complaint and asked her not to do it again.

Norfolk Police confirmed that an officer had spoken to Mrs Boyle-White in relation to an incident.

I was very upset because I felt I had done nothing wrong
Margaret Boyle-White

Mrs Boyle-White, 34, said she had been very shocked and embarrassed by the police approach.

"I was very upset because I felt I had done nothing wrong.

"I said to the officers after a couple of minutes of a conversation 'I have done nothing wrong - the government and midwives are all encouraging breast feeding'.

"He said I hadn't committed a crime, but asked me to refrain from doing it in public and he suggested places where I could breast feed her - in a restaurant or cafe - as opposed to a street bench," she said.

Health visitor Margaret Holtz said there was something wrong with a society which discouraged a mother from feeding her baby on a bench on a sunny day.

"The message we are giving as health professionals is to be proud as a woman for doing this - to feed your baby as nature intended.

"It is difficult for them to then go out in the community and feel compromised for doing it."

'Discreet and professional'

The Norfolk Police spokesman said: "Following our inquiries we can confirm that an officer did speak to Mrs Boyle-White in relation to an incident in Watton in June this year.

"The officer dealt with the matter in a discreet, professional manner and was advising her of a complaint made by a member of the public for her own benefit."

He said there was no intention to cause Mrs Boyle-White any distress or embarrassment and the force did not have an issue with mothers breastfeeding in public.

"We can confirm that we have not received any formal complaint from Mrs Boyle-White, but we are happy to talk with her further about the incident," he added.

'End public breastfeed prejudice'
08 Nov 05 |  UK Politics


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