In Depth

Breastfeeding mum ‘forced to stand on packed train’

Kate Hitchens said people smiled at her but did not offer to exchange places

A mother has complained that she was forced to stand on a packed commuter train while breastfeeding her son because no-one offered her a seat.

“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?” Kate Hitchens wrote in an impassioned post on Instagram.

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

“The point here isn't just that I found it difficult because I was nursing, but that not one person offered a mother carrying a small child a seat for three stops,” she added.

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.

“As the train moved he pulled and it hurt. I also felt uncomfortable myself as I accidentally exposed more of myself to the people standing around me than I usually would sitting down, trying to hold him wriggling in one arm whilst sorting myself out with the other hand was difficult.”

“Usually I balance him on my knee so I have both hands free and can do my top up discreetly.”

The mum-of-two acknowledged that she could have asked for a seat, but “shouldn't have to”.

“I could have asked, but I didn’t. I felt silly. I shouldn’t have to ask,” she said.

“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 900 likes on Instagram, “resonated with other mothers who have experienced similar situations”, says The Independent.

“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.”

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

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