A 22-year-old mother revealed her "humiliating experience" after she was forced to breastfeed her agitated baby in the "freezing cold" conditions of Debenhams' toilet corridor.
Dezrin Ward, who had to undergo the unpleasant experience after being unable to find the children's section in the shopping store, said that she was directed to the baby-changing area by a staff member.
But when she realised that the area was next to a toilet, the mother decided to sit down on one of the chairs outside the changing room itself to feed her 11-week-old daughter Remi Cooper.
"It was a humiliating experience," Dezrin, from Stoke-on-Trent in England, was quoted as saying by The Sun.
"I had people staring at me and the smell coming from the toilets was horrendous and I had to sit there for 30-45 minutes. It was disgusting that they expected me to breastfeed in the baby-changing room," she explained.
Dezrin added, "There were men and women walking past and it was freezing cold."
After almost half an hour of sitting in the corridor, however, she was told by a member of the staff that she could feed her daughter at the in-store café. As it turned out, there was neither a breastfeeding area in the building nor was the staff aware that the café was an acceptable place for mothers to breastfeed.
"They really need to review their policy on this and their staff need to know where is acceptable to breastfeed – not a toilet," said Dezrin, adding, "I feel like people need to realise that breastfeeding is a normal thing and mothers who do this shouldn't be penalised and banished to a toilet."
After the issue was highlighted, a Debenhams spokesman apologised on behalf of the retailer through a statement. "Debenhams is supportive of breastfeeding. This was an isolated incident and we are sorry for any distress caused to the customer," read the statement.