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A mum-of-two was left angry and embarrassed after being told to stop breastfeeding her seven-month-old baby by an air steward on a flight.
Rachel Duffy, 40, had reportedly taken her seat on a Ryanair flight from Faro Airport, Portugal, on May 15 when she tried to encourage her son, Noah, to latch onto her breast.
The mum, from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, says she had read online that breastfeeding during take-off could help prevent babies’ ears from popping, so decided to give it a go.
Having successfully done so on her outbound Ryanair flight just 10 days earlier, Rachel presumed it wouldn’t be a problem.
However, the stay-at-home mum claims that before the plane took off, an air steward asked her to stop breastfeeding.
Rachel says the airline worker then waited until she had unlatched her crying infant and re-dressed before moving on.
And when the plane was landing at Manchester Airport, the mum claims a similar thing happened.
“The air steward came over and told me that I couldn’t feed my son, which was shocking as I had been fine on the Ryanair flight just 10 days earlier,” she explains.
Rachel says the steward stood and watched while she struggled to sit her crying baby up and continued to stand there until I had re-dressed myself.
“I was really shocked, angry and embarrassed by the situation – I continued to breastfeed during the rest of the flight, but I was told to stop again before landing,” she continues.
The mum-of-two says the situation has left her feeling anxious and nervous to fly again.
“When I flew to Portugal from Manchester, on a Ryanair flight, I was allowed to breastfeed during take-off and landing. No one said anything to me, even when they were doing the seatbelt checks,” she says.
Rachel was travelling with her two sons, Noah and Nathan, 14, and her sister-in-law, Rachel Hey, 34, who is 32 weeks pregnant.
Commenting on the flight experience Rachel Hey said: "The whole thing was disgusting - there was no communication, the steward was just abrupt and said 'no feeding'.
"There was no elaboration, apology or even notice that she could continue to feed during the flight.
"The steward stood there and watched Rachel unlatch and there was no privacy or dignity.
"The exact same happened on landing too - there was no compassion shown to a screaming, unsettled baby and a panicking mum.”
A spokesperson for Ryanair said: "Breastfeeding mothers are very welcome on board our flights."
It isn’t the first time a mum has been shamed for breastfeeding in public. Last year a woman was called out by a shopping centre after she wrote a Facebook post explaining that she was unable to find somewhere to breastfeed her baby.
By way of a response to her post staff suggested the woman take her “home chores” elsewhere.
While women have a right to breastfeed in any public area under the Equality Act 2010, many find themselves being shamed if they do choose to nurse in public.
One company trying to change that is Middlesborough football club, who now actively promote this breastfeeding at their home ground, Riverside Stadium.