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Mother forced to stand and breastfeed on crowded train asks that people offer their seats to those with children

The Independent logo The Independent 06/09/2018 Chelsea Ritschel
a woman standing in front of a door © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited

A mother-of-two has expressed her outrage after she was forced to stand and breastfeed her six-month-old baby on a crowded train because no one would offer their seat.

Kate Hitchens, from Essex, was travelling home from London after a work event with her son Charlie when she realised her fellow passengers were not going to allow her to sit - even after she began breastfeeding.

Frustrated by the situation, Hitchens, 32, took a photo of herself standing on the packed train and shared it on Instagram.

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“What has the world come to that a mother has to stand up on a moving train breastfeeding a wriggling and writhing six-month-old, 20lb baby?!” she wrote. “The point here isn’t just that I found it difficult because I was nursing (although that was bloody difficult!), but that not one person offered a mother carrying a small child a seat for around half an hour, or three stops.”

“I could have asked, but I didn’t. I felt silly. I shouldn’t have to ask,” the mum-of-two continued.

According to Hitchens, multiple passengers noticed her, even smiling or making eye contact - but only one, eventually, actually offered to exchange places.

View this post on Instagram

On my way home from London on a packed commuter train and this is what I faced. What has the world come to that a mother has to stand up on a moving train breast feeding a wriggling and writhing 6 month old, 20lb baby?! The point here isn't just that I found it difficult because I was nursing (although that was bloody difficult!), but that not one person offered a mother carrying a small child a seat for around half an hour, or 3 stops! I could have asked, but I didn't. I felt silly. I shouldn't have to ask. Maybe some people didn't see. I know for a fact some did; they made eye contact and actually smiled at me. I was thinking stop smiling and offer me your seat please! One lady looked up from her book and immediately offered me her seat, another lady then sat in it and when the lovely lady said 'Oh excuse me I actually gave up my seat so this lady with a baby could sit down' the sitting lady shrugged, plugged her earphones in and closed her eyes! I like to think that she needed that seat more than me, perhaps she was newly pregnant and in that early exhaustion period, perhaps she was knackered after a day at work, perhaps she was ill. Or perhaps she was just a twat. I hope not. I can somewhat understand not offering your seat to someone elderly; perhaps they might be offended you think they look old! I can understand not offering your seat to someone you suspect might be pregnant; maybe it's just their time of the month or perhaps they are just naturaly curvy and they aren't pregnant; perhaps you worry you might offend them. I cannot get my head around not offering a parent with a child a seat. Next time you see someone with a child on a train - if you're able bodied and fit and healthy please offer your seat to them!

A post shared by Hitchens' Kitchen BLW Club (@baby_led_weaning_club) on

Because she was standing, Hitchens was forced to manoeuvrer her clothing to accommodate her son, while trying to keep from accidentally exposing herself on the moving train - a position that made her “uncomfortable and embarrassed” she told the Daily Mail.

The situation baffled the mum, who wrote that there are certain instances where one may not offer their seat, such as not to offend someone over age or to someone you “suspect might be pregnant,” but that this was not one of them.

“I cannot get my head around not offering a parent with a child a seat,” she wrote, before asking her followers to always offer their seats to people with children.

“Next time you see someone with a child on a train - if you’re able-bodied and fit and healthy, please offer your seat to them!”

Hitchens’ post, which has received more than 600 likes, resonated with other mothers who have experienced similar situations.

“Absolutely disgraceful! Can’t believe you had to do this,” one woman wrote.

Another said: “This is disgusting but sadly happens all too often. I hope you and Charlie got home safely.”

Others advised Hitchens to ask for a seat next time - even if she feels “silly.”

“I understand why you would feel silly to ask… but don’t next time, just ask. You’ll find the person you ask will feel very embarrassed and immediately give up their seat. Trouble is people always wait for someone else to do it,” one person wrote.

After sharing her experience, the mum wrote that she hopes in the future commuters give up their seats to people in need and “make a positive out of my negative.”

Gallery: 9 Celeb Moms Who Clapped Back at Public Breastfeeding Shamers (People)



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