STAFF at a baby-weighing clinic in Thamesmead barred a mum from warming her 8-week-old son's bottle due to "health and safety" fears, it has been claimed.

Nikki Rawsthorne said fellow parents at Gallions Reach Health Centre were "gobsmacked" when health visitors told her she could not warm little Jude's milk.

The mum-of-five said when she first arrived for the centre's baby weighing clinic, she was given a waiting number of 13, meaning a wait of at least half an hour.

She said: "My son was due a bottle around 1.30pm so at 1.20pm so I asked a member of staff if I could warm his bottle.

"At first I was told to wait and the staff member would find somewhere. Then after five minutes when my son became very impatient I asked again to which I was told 'No, I'm sorry we can't warm bottles due to health and safety'.

"I then asked what could possibly be so dangerous about warming a bottle in a microwave for 30 seconds?

"I was treated as if my request was totally unreasonable and shown absolutely no compassion."

Ms Rawsthorne, of Greenhaven Drive, said: "By then the baby was screaming the place down.

"Everyone in the waiting room with me was gobsmacked as well.

"They said they had kettles but how could they not have a facility for warming babies' bottles?"

The 35-year-old said her son was unable to keep cold milk down and so she was forced to take him home again and come back later.

She said: "Could you imagine if a first time mum experienced that who didn't live so close? It's just dreadful.

"To me it's just like going into KFC and they've got no chicken."

A spokesman for Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust, which provided the health visitors, said: "At present, we do not have the kitchen facilities to warm bottles safely at Gallions Reach Health Centre.

Current Department of Health guidance around warming baby feeds states that formula feeds should be freshly made immediately prior to feeding and warming previously prepared feeds is not recommended.

"Where feeds are warmed they should be warmed in a specific bottle warmer or the bottle should stand in warm water for a period of time.

"Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust would like to apologise to Ms Rawthorn that the reason why she could not warm a bottle was not explained to her properly. This has highlighted the need for us to look at the facilities we have available at our baby clinics."