The Nottinghamshire Federation of the WI has issued an apology to a new mum who was told to stay away from her local group’s meetings until she was no longer breastfeeding.
Nicole Bentley, 37, had enquired about joining the Sutton Belles group but after double checking with the group’s chair she was told she would not be able to attend meetings with her daughter, Scarlett Hope who she is still breastfeeding.
However, the Nottinghamshire Federation of the WI has now apologised and said Nicole and her daughter are welcome at meetings.
The statement said: “Nottinghamshire Federation is very sorry for any offence or upset caused by a recent event.
“Sutton Belles WI has not yet been formed, and the incident was part of a pre-formation meeting led by WI Advisers prior to the scheduled formation in January/February 2016.
“It was part of a discussion relating to the policy of bringing children to meetings.
“When informally asking whether her new-born baby would be welcome at the meetings, the woman in question was advised that it would be a child free zone, as some of the women setting up the WI were eager to keep it so.
“This is a common policy at WI meetings, as many WI members see the meetings as an escape from family life where they can concentrate on themselves and meeting other women.
“This does not of course extent to breastfeeding, and the organization fully supports and acknowledges the Equalities Act of 2010 and every mother’s right and freedom to breastfeed. Nottinghamshire Federation will always be fully in support of this right and would remind every member of the importance for new mothers to feel comfortable, safe and supported when feeding their babies with their fellow members and friends.
“Sutton Belles WI is scheduled to hold its formation meeting in January/February 2016, and would be delighted to welcome all members including the lady in question and her new baby.”
To read the mum’s story click here