A mum was forced to breastfeed on a dirty train floor after commuters refused to give up their seats on a packed train.
Sophie Molineux, 22, was travelling on a train from Shropshire to Ludlow for a family day out with her partner, Rob Moore, and their one-year-old son Chester on Tuesday morning (August 20).
However, when the family tried to get a seat they were stunned to realise none of the carriage’s 50 passengers – including those sat in priority seats – would offer Sophie a place to sit as she held little Chester.
Sophie and Rob were forced to stand for the entire 30 minute journey, taking turns to hold Chester until he became hungry and his mum had to sit on the filthy floor to breastfeed him.
The 22-year-old claimed fellow passengers walked past her while she was breastfeeding, ‘giving her blank expressions so they didn’t have to give up their seat’, something she said ‘shocked her’.
The new mum, from Shrewsbury in Shropshire, explained:
There were around 50 people in the carriage and not one person moved. We were stood in the aisle with seats either side of us so both sides of the train could see us stood there and no-one moved.
Chester’s now at an age that when he wants to breastfeed he just tugs at my top and makes it very obvious, it was one of those where I just had to breastfeed him.
Obviously I’d rather not sit on the dirty floor of a moving train breastfeeding him, it wasn’t the nicest place, but I didn’t really have much choice.
Sophie, a part-time restaurant manager, and her 25-year-old partner Rob had planned to visit Ludlow Castle for a day trip, and had taken the train as neither of them drive.
Boarding the carriage near the priority seating area, the couple had expected Sophie to be offered a seat with the baby – particularly because they were juggling a pram as well.
However, they were forced to stand when no-one budged. Then, when Chester started ‘fussing’ and pulling at her top Sophie knew he needed feeding and so was forced to sit on the floor as passengers looked on.
The restaurant manager, who has been breastfeeding Chester all his life, said she’s ‘never had that sort of issue before’ despite it being a part of her every day life.
The couple hadn’t asked anyone to give up their seat because, as Sophie explained, they thought they would just ‘hope for the best but no-one got up’.
Some might say ‘why not give him a bottle of formula and keep him safe in his pram instead of breastfeeding?’ but I had to get him out of his pram because he was hungry.
There’s obviously nothing wrong with formula, but if you’re a mother who chooses to breastfeed you should be able to do so safely wherever you want to.
I don’t know how even half of these people could see what was going on and pretend it wasn’t happening.
Sophie, who said the situation made her ‘concerned’ about her son’s safety, is speaking out in the hope that her experience will encourage other, fit and healthy commuters to offer seats to parents with young children.
Saying that she is ‘fairly confident’ breastfeeding in public, Sophie said she would have felt far more uncomfortable if her partner hadn’t been with her.
Urging people to be ‘more considerate’ in future, the mum asked commuters to use a ‘common sense’ approach when offering people their seats.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).