Emily Slough
The derogatory caption which accompanied the photo Facebook

When 27-year-old Emily Slough went shopping in Rugeley, Staffordshire with her eight-month-old daughter Matilda she sat on a step to feed her – and found herself targeted by a bizarre hate campaign.

A passer-by took a snap of the young mum before posting it anonymously – and without her permission - on the Spotted Rugeley Facebook page along with a caption: "I know the sun is out an all that but there's no need to let your kid feast on you nipple in town! Tramp."

Now Emily has fought back by organising a mass breastfeeding session in the town. Supported by mums in towns nationwide including Stirling, Milton Keynes, York, Swansea and Newcastle, the campaign also has the backing of mumsnet founder Justine Roberts:

It's hard to understand why some people have a problem seeing mums breastfeeding
Justine Roberts, Mumsnet

"It's hard to understand why some people have a problem seeing mums breastfeeding," said Justine. "It is of, course, a natural, essential human process. Those with an issue simply need to get over it. What's heartening about this story is that, in response to one person's ignorance, thousands of Mumsnet users have come together to support Emily."

On Saturday afternoon along with many other breastfeeding mothers, Emily sat in the same place she was previously snapped – opposite the Shrew pub on Rugeley's main shopping thoroughfare Market Street - and fed her baby.

Afterwards Emily said: "I am overwhelmed by the response today. I have had so much reaction and such great support from mothers – not just in the UK but living all over the world – who were really outraged by what happened to me.

"This event was staged, along with a number of others across the UK, to show that mothers who breastfeed are united."

The issue of breastfeeding in public continues to divide opinion. In 2011, Brighton mum 38-year-old Claire Jones-Hughes organised a "breastfeeding flash mob" after she was criticised by customers in a cafe for breastfeeding her four-month-old daughter.

Although most people seemed supportive of Emily's campaign, not everyone was on her side. Along with a number of obscene comments one Facebook user, "Yvonne", said: "It still shouldn't be made public. I breast fed all of my children and never found the NEED to make a public spectacle of myself. I was organised so that my babies were fed BEFORE I went out.. And if I thought I might be late and they needed feeding while I was out I took pre-filled bottles of my breast milk with me. Showing your boobs in public is a case of 'showing off' what reason you give yourself."