Family’s fury after mother is forced to sit on ‘naughty seat’ behind a curtain to breastfeed her four-week-old baby at country adventure park
- Christina Curtis, 31, was visiting the Wat Tyler Park in Essex with her infant son
- Mrs Curtis approached staff in reception seeking a place to feed her son
- She was placed under the stairs behind a curtain to avoid offending patrons
- Basildon council has apologised to Mrs Curtis and said staff will be retrained
04:39 EST, 12 February 2019
06:16 EST, 12 February 2019
Christina Curtis, pictured with her husband Steve and their children, Max, five weeks and Logan, two, were visiting the Wat Tyler park in Pitsea, Essex when she was ushered behind a curtain so she could breast feed her infant boy
A family has been left outraged after a mother of two was forced to breastfeed her newborn son behind a curtain in a picturesque country park.
Christina Curtis, 31, was visiting the Wat Tyler Park in Essex along with her two sons and husband Steve, 35, when she needed to feed their four-week-old boy.
The cafe at the country park in Pitsea, Basildon was closed at the time so staff at reception directed Mrs Curtis to an area under the stairs before shielding her from view with a curtain.
Staff claimed the curtain was necessary to avoid offending other visitors who might object to a woman breastfeeding her child.
Mr Curtis, from Southend-on-Sea, Essex, said: ‘The café was closed so my wife asked reception staff if there was anywhere she could sit.
‘They pulled up a blue chair at the bottom of a staircase which was not in use at the time and then put up this makeshift curtain in case the sight of her breastfeeding our son offended anyone.
‘When I came inside, I couldn’t find her so had to ring her phone which is when I discovered she had been put aside like she was doing something wrong.”
He added: ‘She said to me: “All I wanted to do was feed my son,” and she was left feeling ashamed for doing it.
Mrs Curtis said she was highly embarrassed to be forced to feed her child in these conditions
The family were visiting the Wat Tyler park in Pitsea, Basildon in Essex, named after one of the leaders of the Peasants’ Revolt
‘We were told it was for the sake of everyone else – it wasn’t a nice feeling at all.
‘I just can’t believe that in 2019 this is still treated as a taboo thing to do and is not accepted. It makes us feel like we can’t go out anywhere because we’re constantly worried that we can’t feed our own son.
‘Everyone’s told that breastfeeding is the best way but then you’re made to feel like you’re doing something wrong if it’s done in public.’
Basildon Council, which operates Wat Tyler Park has apologised and has pledged to retrain staff.
A spokesman said: ‘We were shocked to receive a complaint in regards to an incident in the Wat Tyler Centre which goes against the values of Basildon Council.
‘We have responded directly to the complainant to apologise for this.
‘We will be speaking to all staff and reminding them of our working practices regarding breastfeeding in our leisure facilities.’
The 125-acre country park is named after the leader of the Peasants’ Revolt, Wat Tyler who led a mass march to London in opposition to the Poll Tax in 1381. During a meeting with the teenage King Richard II in Smithfield, Tyler was slashed across the neck by the Lord Mayor of London, Sir William Walworth.
Tyler, who was brought to St Bart’s Hospital later had his head chopped off.