Published: 10:42, 15 September 2020
| Updated: 11:14, 15 September 2020
A cafe has been praised for offering free tea to breastfeeding mums.
Burgate Coffee House in Canterbury city centre has launched the initiative in a bid to create a quiet, welcoming space for mums to feed their babies.
A sign in its window reads: "Breastfeeding mums. Pop in. Have a free cup of tea if you need a pit stop. No need to eat, no need to ask. Just come in and relax!"
Luisa Vicent, a mum-of-three who owns the cafe with her husband Antonio Bolivar said she was inspired by a similar sign she spotted at another cafe, years ago.
"I wasn't breastfeeding at the time and thought it was a really good idea," she said.
"Now I'm a breastfeeding mum myself, I've found out that there are not so many breastfeeding places in this area.
"So that's why we did it. We thought it was a good idea to do it in Canterbury , because we don't really have breastfeeding-friendly places here.
"It's so hard sometimes for to find a quiet place that's really welcoming.
"We've got a few mums already who've come here to have a tea, and we love being around babies anyway."
The initiative was launched at the start of August, to coincide with World Breastfeeding Week, but Mrs Vicent says they plan to keep running it permanently.
The idea has been met with huge enthusiasm.
Mum Jade Binstead, a business owner who says she frequently has to work from cafes while breastfeeding, said: "Oh my goodness this is lovely. You don’t know how many times I had to buy a tea I didn’t want to sit and feed indoors."
Zoe Webb added: "This is such a lovely gesture. Sometimes it’s very uncomfortable when feeding in public. I will definitely be coming in with my eight-month-old when I’m next in the area."
Others have suggested the offer could be divisive, and exclude bottle-feeding mums.
Commenting on a photo of the sign on Facebook, Catherine Moon wrote: "I’m sure the intentions were good with this but I bet it will be triggering for those who were unable to breastfeed or struggled with breastfeeding. Bottle-feeding mums still need somewhere quiet and warm to sit to feed their babies."
But Mrs Vicent says the initiative will be offered to all mums.
"Everyone is welcome," she said. "It says it's just for breastfeeding mums because you can bottle feed anywhere - you don't need to hide.
"I'd find myself, with my other two children, just hiding in a toilet to breastfeed them. People would tell me on the buses that I shouldn't be doing that in public. And that's a shame because it's a natural thing to do.
"So that's why we started this. But of course all mums are welcome - if they're overwhelmed with the heat outside or it's cold or it's raining.
"Even if they're not breastfeeding. Even if they're not feeding their kid at all."