'Breastfeeding women should not feel judged' - 10 things you said as new mum turned away by Leeds theatre

Readers have been sharing their views after we reported on how a new mum was turned away from Leeds Grand Theatre after asking to breastfeed her five-week-old baby in the venue's bathroom.

Wednesday, 27th October 2021, 5:21 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th October 2021, 5:22 pm

Kirsty Marks, 36, was not a guest of the theatre but says she went inside the theatre while making her way home last Friday.

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Mum refused entry to Leeds Grand Theatre bathrooms to breastfeed newborn son

Mrs Marks, a web developer from Leeds, said she left feeling "distressed" after being refused permission to use the bathroom by two members of staff.

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Kirsty Marks with her wife Natalie and their son.

While a spokeswoman for Leeds Heritage Theatres said it had been a "misunderstanding", the incident sparked a wider debate on the stigma that still surrounds breastfeeding in public places.

Here are some of the comments shared by readers on our Facebook page.

Claire Rose: "Any venue of any kind should accommodate a breastfeeding mum, but personally I’d have picked one of the many cafes or bars in the area instead and NO WAY would I have gone in a toilet to feed my baby."

Angela Steer: "If anyone wanted to feed at my business premises I would go all out to make sure mum and baby were comfortable and able to do so!"

Angela Garbutt: "It’s a shame that this lady felt like she had to go into the bathroom to feed her baby. There should have been a nicer place for her to do this."

Nicole Lewis: "I don’t know why they ever closed those public toilets on Bond Street. We needed them."

Jannet Cooper: "You shouldn't have to hide away in a toilet to feed your baby, it's the most natural thing in world. Just feed your baby if it is hungry."

Stacy Naylor: "There isn't enough support out there for us breastfeeding women."

Helen Beard: "Why is there such a stigma attached to breastfeeding as though it’s something disgusting? The only option available being to sit in a toilet cubicle to feed your baby is totally unacceptable."

Suzanne Tobin: "Oh gosh, adjusting to having a new baby is really hard. It sounds like there was confusion from the staff and that worry from the mum, who asked for a toilet to feed in."

Beverly Golesworthy: "That side of town is sadly lacking in public toilets. I think there are some in John Lewis, probably in Harvey Nichols, but I wouldn’t know where to find them; same around City Square area, it’s a long run to the railway station if you’re in a hurry."

Samantha Marsden: "Women should not have to use ‘bathrooms’ to feed their babies. Women should be encouraged to feed their baby anywhere and not feel judged."

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