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

'Complaints': the King William IV pub in Hampstead High Street
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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."

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