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Row erupts over breastfeeding after Beaconsfield cafe incident
A ROW has broken out after a young mum says she was left feeling "totally humiliated" when asked to leave a Beaconsfield tea rooms while breastfeeding .
Sarah O’Brien, 22, and her friend ordered tea and a scone from the Old Tea House in Beaconsfield but were asked to leave because their order did not meet the minimum lunchtime spend.
The Irish journalism graduate claims she was rudely and abruptly asked to leave while her 16-week-old daughter Niamh was still attached to her breast.
But Old Tea House manager Jo James strongly refutes the women’s account, maintaining that she did lose her temper or force the pair out during the feed.
The incident sparked a flurry of comments of Facebook and Twitter, with users wrongly accusing the Old Tea House of ejecting Miss O’Brien simply for breastfeeding.
One comment threatened to ‘flash-mob’ the cafe and take up tables, which upset Mrs James, who is worried about a backlash after users spoke about "kicking up a storm".
Miss O’Brien accepts she was not asked to leave purely because she was breastfeeding her daughter, but is upset at the way she was asked to leave before finishing the feed.
She said: "She made such a scene, the place went silent and I could sense the whole cafe now looking at us - it was extremely uncomfortable.
"I had to leave with my baby still latched on and I was understandably very upset.
"I completely understand that the lunchtime menu requires you to spend at least £6.95 per person - that was not an issue for me.
"But to kick a woman out in the middle of feeding her young child is, in my eyes, unacceptable.
"For me, it takes a lot of courage to breastfeed in public, and the whole thing made me feel very uncomfortable and humiliated."
Mrs James has refuted the story, saying it was simply the lunchtime pricing policy that led to the women being asked to vacate the table.
The widowed mother insisted the Old Tea House is a family friendly place, and is totally supportive of breastfeeding in her cafe.
And she has hit back over the criticism on social media that she is intolerant towards breastfeeding mothers.
She said: "I am very upset by the accusations, which are untrue. We pride ourselves on being welcoming to mothers with babies and children.
"We were all incredulous at their reaction, as we explained it was simply the policy for a minimum spend during the lunch rush.
"We welcome babies and children and love having them here. I have been running the Tea House since 1996 and during that time have welcomed thousands of mums, babies and children.
"I would never, and have never, asked anyone to leave the Tea House because they were breastfeeding."
She added that the lunchtime pricing policy is clearly marked on the menu and the women were told as they ordered.
And she insisted there were only two free tables at the time, not four as Miss O’Brien maintains.
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