A BREASTFEEDING mother was left in tears after she was branded "disgusting" and kicked out of a Jobcentre meeting when she tried to feed her baby.
Tara Powell had taken four-month-old Preston along with her to the centre in Elmfield Road, Bromley, where she had an appointment to talk about her income support money.
She was giving her details to the staff member when her son began to cry and so she started to feed him.
Miss Powell says she was left horrified by the woman’s reaction.
She said: "I got my breast out to breastfeed and she said ‘Can you stop doing what you are doing?’
"I said ‘what?’ and she said: ‘It’s making me uncomfortable.’
"I said ‘There’s nothing uncomfortable about me breastfeeding my son, it’s natural.’
"She said ‘It’s disgusting' and said 'if you do not stop it I’m terminating this interview'."
Miss Powell claims she put her son’s blanket over him so the Jobcentre woman could not see him feeding - but this did not placate the woman.
The 29-year-old added: "She kept saying 'it is disgusting' and she was raising her voice then she kicked me out and ended the interview.
"I was crying because she did that to me.
"She kicked me out for breastfeeding my son and I have never ever felt so embarrassed.
"She would not have moaned if someone had bottle fed their baby.
"After I got out of the room I burst out crying."
After the incident last Friday (August 2) she says a manager apologised and told her the appointment would have to be rebooked with a different adviser this week.
Miss Powell, of Bridge Road, Orpington, added: "I have five kids and I breastfed four of them and I have never been told do not do it.
"Why should I have to ask ‘can I feed him?’ when people do not ask if they can get a bottle out to feed their babies.
"By law I can feed my baby where I like and there is no place where you cannot feed your baby."
A DWP spokeswoman says Miss Powell was offered a private place to feed her baby after the meeting was ended.
She also told News Shopper the incident is being investigated as the incident was not in line with Jobcentre policy.
The spokeswoman said: "We have apologised to Ms Powell for any inconvenience and confusion caused during her visit to the Jobcentre. "Mothers are welcome to feed their babies when visiting us.
"This can take place wherever the mother feels comfortable - either in a public area or a private room if one is available."
A We Do It in Public campaign group spokeswoman said: "Perceptions of Breastfeeding in public still continues to be a sticking point for both new and experienced mums who choose to breastfeed.
"It's such a shame that as a society we are still seeing cases where people are asked to leave public places, just because they are feeding their baby."
Have you ever had a problem with Jobcentre staff? Add your comments below.
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