National Museum of the Royal Navy apologises to mum told to stop breastfeeding

Heather Vaughan and her daughte Lydia.
Heather Vaughan and her daughte Lydia.

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MUM-of-two Heather Vaughan was left angry and humiliated after being told not to breastfeed her nine-week-old daughter at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

She was at the National Museum of the Royal Navy with her husband Daniel, son Josh and nine-week-old daughter Lydia.

But she was stunned to be told ‘we don’t do that here’ by a member of staff as she fed her daughter.

Heather, of Rosemary Gardens, in Whiteley, said: ‘We were in the museum and I took my daughter to the crèche to breastfeed her.

‘While I was doing that, a male staff member came up to me, pointed his finger and said “we don’t do that here”.

‘I stopped and asked him what he said because I thought I had misheard him but he repeated it again and said it really aggressively.

‘I told him I was feeding my child but he told me I would have to do it in the baby toilet.’

Another mum in the crèche told the member of staff to leave Heather alone and he left.

But Heather felt targeted and left the museum in tears.

The 29-year-old said: ‘I felt victimised. He spoke to me aggressively and I was so embarrassed.

‘I left the museum feeling humiliated by what happened.’

Dominic Tweddle, director general at The National Museum of the Royal Navy, said: ‘We’re very sorry to Mrs Vaughan for this mistake and error in judgment from one of our team.

‘Our member of staff became confused and is deeply and sincerely sorry for his comments and reactions.

‘This incident is not representative of him or our organisations and we all regret the distress caused.

‘The museum and dockyard take this issue very seriously and are committed to putting in place improved procedures and staff training to ensure an incident such as this will never happen in the future.’

Lynn Timms, owner of Breastfeeding Matters, said people need to be more accepting of breastfeeding.

‘We all know mums need to go out and about and they should feel comfortable feeding their baby,’ said Lynn.

‘Incidents such as this might cause mums to stop breastfeeding or they might avoid going out. It needs to be seen as a natural thing.’

‘There’s no reason for women to be embarrassed by feeding’ - read The News Comment on this issue