There’s a small kerfuffle in London today after a woman tweeted pictures of her breastfeeding her baby in the Claridge’s hotel restaurant. The problem? Hotel staff asked her to discretely cover up so as not to “cause offence at Claridge’s” and a spokeswoman for the hotel said that they simply ask that all “mothers are discreet towards other guests.”
In case you’ve never heard of Claridge’s, it’s a very expensive luxury hotel in the heart of the trendy Mayfair area of London and hosts celebrities, royalty and heads of state. It was founded in the early 1800s and according to a great article in the Daily Mail, it’s the swankiest place in England, with a night’s stay costing up to £7,000.
It’s favored by Victoria Beckham, Anne Hathaway, Joan Collins and the band U2, among many others. So it’s not exactly Motel 6 in Sparks, Nevada, needless to say.
Louise Burns was apparently breastfeeding her baby in the restaurant when an official from the hotel, one of its 400 staff, asked her to cover up.
Here are the two photos she posted:
The photos definitely undermine her complaint that she was “humiliated” by the hotel staff, in my opinion, but I’ll also say that the picture of her nursing her baby is quite discreet too (though whether it was prior to her posing for the “before” picture is another story, one we don’t know).
More importantly, I believe that it’s appropriate and within the rights of the hotel to ask that a mother cover up while breastfeeding her baby. They didn’t ask her to leave, they didn’t make a fuss, they simply asked for some level of discretion out of respect for other guests of the hotel. A hotel where some of the guests are from the Middle East and other regions where they have far more restrictive expectations of both male and female modesty, I’ll note.
Personally, I think this is much ado about nothing but I know people are quite passionate, even militant about breastfeeding and the seemingly immeasurable rights of nursing women, so I expect there’ll be disagreement in the comments here.
What’s your opinion? Was Claridge’s wrong to ask Ms. Burns to cover up?