A young mum has slammed “inconsiderate” commuters who refused to give up their seat on a packed train - so she was forced to breastfeed her baby while seated on a dirty train floor.
Sophie Molineux, 22, was travelling from her home in Shrewsbury, a town in the English county of Shropshire to the village of Ludlow for a family day out with partner Rob Moore and their one-year-old son Chester Moore on Tuesday morning (local time) when they struggled to find a seat.
The pair were stunned when they boarded the packed 11.39am train and not one of the carriage's 50 passengers, including those in priority seats, offered Sophie a place to sit as she cradled her baby.
They were forced to stand in the aisle taking turns to hold Chester during the 30-minute journey and when he became hungry Ms Molineux had to sit on the filthy floor and breastfeed him.
A shocking photo of the incident shows the mum breastfeeding Chester on the floor of the carriage, while commuters walked past “giving [her] blank expressions so they didn't have to give up their seat”.
“I was so shocked. There were around 50 people in the carriage and not one person moved,” Ms Molineux said.
“We were stood in the aisle with seats either side of us so both sides of the train could see us [standing] 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.
“When I sat down on the floor there were people walking past going to the toilet and they would look and see that I was breastfeeding but no-one offered us a seat.
“They just looked at me acknowledging what I was doing and then giving a blank expression.
“It was almost like they were not wanting to draw too much attention to themselves because they didn't want to offer me their seat.”
Ms Molineux, a part-time restaurant manager, and her partner had planned to visit Ludlow Castle for a day out, spending precious time together as a family.
As neither drive, the couple decided to travel by train and boarded the carriage near the priority seating area.
Despite them juggling a pram and the tot, no-one budged from their seats, forcing them to stand.
“It was pretty shocking. We don't have a car so we always travel by public transport,” Ms Molineux said.
“There were so many people on that train [who were able] to stand up, I was surprised when we came in with a young baby that didn't want to be in his pram that no-one offered us a seat.
“We've never experienced that many people not acknowledging the fact we've got a young child with us having to be held while [standing] up on a moving train, let alone breastfeeding."
When Chester started ‘fussing’ and pulling at her top Sophie knew he needed feeding there and then and that she needed a seat – so was forced to perch on the floor.
“I’ve been breastfeeding for over a year now, it's just part of every day, and when we’ve gone out I’ve never had that sort of issue before,” his mum said.
“We didn’t ask anyone to give up their seat, we thought as it was only a short journey we'd just stand up and 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.”
Ms Moslineux is speaking out about her experience in the hope that fit and healthy commuters will use a “common sense” approach and offer seats to parents with young children.
“I was more concerned about Chester’s safety,” she said.
“I’m fairly confident about breastfeeding in public but I would probably have felt more uncomfortable about the situation if my partner hadn’t have been with me.
“I just hope that people might be a bit more considerate in future, it should just be common sense to give up your seat for a child.”
– Kennedy News and Media
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