Such is the fast-moving pace of the internet that if we’d started writing this entry at dinnertime, it would have needed a follow-up already. What started as a lead story in the Manchester Evening News about a young woman who was ordered off a bus by the driver for breastfeeding her baby had, by the afternoon, turned into a denial from Stagecoach that the incident had occurred following an examination of the CCTV – though not quickly enough to prevent the story from reaching the attention of the national media.
If the incident didn’t happen as the woman described, this will have been at least the third time this year that stories about a bus driver’s conduct have made the national news, but that CCTV evidence has subsequently seemed to disprove. This follows on from the two-year old ordered off a bus for wearing an England shirt in Stoke-on-Trent and a similar incident with a mother ordered off a bus in Bristol for breastfeeding. We’ll not comment any further on the incident until further developments occur, except to say that the reports in the news will do nothing to enhance the image of public transport in the eyes of the general public, whether accurate or not.
Not having any real experience with babies, it would be interesting to hear from any mothers out there. Obviously if baby wants feeding then baby needs to be fed, but should breastfeeding be encouraged on public transport? There’s little option but to breastfeed whilst flying due to the confined quarters, and trains run on rails which allows them to travel at higher speeds with little discomfort – but with a road vehicle such as a bus or car, does the possibility of sudden braking for other road users pose any significant risk to the baby? Should feeding wait until stationary, even if running the risk of the baby crying and potentially distracting the driver? Please leave your comments below.
[Image credit: “Mother and baby on the bus China” by dcmaster on Flickr]