A young English mother claims she was kicked off a bus in Swindon in South West England recently after she refused to stop breastfeeding her 19 week old baby.
28 year old Holly Chapman claimed that the bus driver told her “you can’t do that on the bus”. She also claimed that he then told her to stop or leave the bus.
Holly Chapman added that she was breastfeeding her daughter, while waiting at the side of the road for another bus.
“My daughter Raiya was crying when we got on the bus so I started to feed her”, she said.
“The driver told me I couldn’t do it”, she added. “I explained she was crying because she was hungry and he said If I was going to carry on then I needed to get off the bus”.
“It was such a horrible experience, I was so shocked I didn’t know what to say”.
“A strange thing for me to do”
Holly Chapman was so embarrased by the incident that she did not tell her fiancé, 45 year old Damien Baker-Davis.
A few days later, Holly was with her older sister, 30 year old Stacey Chapman at a cafe. Stacey frowned when she noticed that Holly asked the staff permission to breastfeed her daughter.
“A few days later I was at a café with my sister, Stacey, and she noticed that I asked the staff permission to breastfeed”, Holly said. “My sister knew that was a strange thing for me to do, and asked me what was going on”.
Holly eventually told her sister about the bus fiasco, and said that a “furious” Stacey encouraged her to lodge a formal complaint.
“She was absolutely furious when I told her what had happened on the bus and she encouraged me to make a formal complaint”.
After hearing about the incident, Damien Baker-Davis said “It is clear that breastfeeding is still not seen as natural and that has to change”.
“Staff training or education work is obviously needed”, he continued. “It is difficult enough for mums to juggle feeding, naps and getting out the house, without being confronted in this way for doing something natural”.
“I am angry that Holly has been treated this way for tending to our hungry daughter”.
“So choked up and humiliated”
Holly Chapman who volunteers as a breastfeeding supporter, said that she is “upset” that she did not stand up to the bus driver that day. But she added that she “felt so choked up and humiliated in front of everyone on the bus”.
“I want to encourage other feeding mums to speak up if you are ever confronted and know that you are doing nothing wrong, she added.
“Breastfeeding in public is OK and you are protected by law to feed your baby whenever they need to be fed”.
“I tried to brush what happened off, but it impacted me a lot more than I thought”.
Following this incident, the general manager for Swindon’s bus company, Alex Chutter said this.
“We would never condone this type of behaviour from any of our drivers, I would like to sincerely apologise to Ms Chapman for the experience she has endured”.
Meanwhile in Ireland,
Back in January, Dublin Bus were ordered to pay €7,500 after a driver was ruled to have made homophobic remarks at a passenger. More on that here.
More recent news on Dublin Bus here.