Breastfeeding mother is told 'people are eating' and thrown out of pub

'Complaints': the King William IV pub in Hampstead High Street
A mother breastfeeding her baby in a London pub was ordered to leave after being told that "people were eating".

Lauren Beaman, 25, said was considering legal action after being asked to leave the King William IV in Hampstead High Street because she had been feeding her seven-month-old daughter Mollie.

Ms Beaman, a personal trainer and sports massage therapist, said some customers had heckled her and a woman complained about getting "an eyeful". "It made me feel so uncomfortable. I was shocked. I was discreet."

Some people had suggested she feed Mollie in the lavatory, but she said: "Would you want to have your dinner where people go to the loo?"

Ms Beaman, who lives in Hampstead, said she was planning a "feed-in" protest with other mothers, inspired by the gay "kiss-in" in Soho this month after two men were asked to leave a pub for kissing in public. Breastfeeding in public cannot be banned under the Equality Act which came into force last year, but landlords have a legal right to eject anyone from their premises.

Ms Beaman was asked to leave the pub with a pregnant friend, Lara Johns, 34. She said their protest would take place after Ms Johns gives birth.

Elaine Loughran, owner of the King William IV, said customers had complained because Ms Beaman had "whupped her boob out". She said customers had also feared she was going to change the baby's nappy.

Ms Loughran said staff at the pub, which has a reputation for being "gay-friendly", always attempted to be accommodating.

The landlady, who pointed out that she was a mother herself, added: "If my customers complain I have to act on it. I'm not against breastfeeding."

Emma Pickett, of the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers, said: "Would people prefer a screaming, hungry baby or a quiet, feeding baby?

"It's an infringement of Lauren's rights and I would have thought a gay pub would be more tolerant. I'm disappointed, but thankfully this sort of thing is really quite rare.

"Most people who run businesses and shops know the law and trade from mothers is quite a big part of their business. It's pretty ordinary for people to breastfeed in Hampstead and I don't believe people are that bothered by it."


Property search

ES Rentals

    Don't Miss
    Jay-Z and Beyonce spend £5.5m on west London home

    Run This Town

    Jay-Z and Beyonce spend £5.5m on west London home
    Dorian Gray, Riverside Studios - theatre review

    Theatre review

    Dorian Gray at Riverside Studios
    The true cost of buying a first-time home in London boroughs

    Homes & Property

    The true cost of first-time buying in London
    Fay Maschler reviews Rotorino

    Fay Maschler

    Dalston gets a taste of Italy
    Fresh Prince: Wills and Kate hit the decks as baby George is given a skateboard

    'Cool dudes'

    Duke and Duchess of Cambridge watch BMX show in Australia... and baby George gets a skateboard
    British tourist to be deported from Sri Lanka thanks to Buddha tattoo

    Buddha tattoo

    British woman arrested and facing deportation from Sri Lanka after police spot Buddha tattoo
    Is James Blunt due a reappraisal?

    James Blunt

    Is soppy James Blunt due a reappraisal?
    Pictures show moment baby was saved from burning wreckage of car outside synagogue

    Fire drama

    Dramatic pictures show moment baby was saved from burning wreckage of car before it exploded
    David Moyes loses again: Manchester United cap payoff at £5m

    Moyes loses again

    Manchester United cap ex-manager's payoff at £5m
    Pictures: Party people - the stars out in London

    Party people

    The stars out in London