This happened in my town. I'm appalled and I've written to my local Member of Parliament.
Breastfeeding mother given parking ticketMARTIN WILLIAMS June 01 2007
Breastfeeding support groups have condemned the actions of an attendant who fined a mother for parking in a restricted area to feed her child and then took photographs for proof.
The warden employed by a national car park management company confronted Jerricah Watson, 19, after she pulled into a permit holders-only bay in the Candle Lane area of Dundee to breastfeed her 14-week-old son Jaksyn.
Ms Watson pulled into the quiet street to get away from the city-centre traffic and said the warden initially said it was okay to feed her child. She said he then took photos and put a ticket on her car.
When she approached the attendant, from Birmingham-based Central Ticketing, which is responsible for policing the parking in the area, he said it was too late to withdraw the ticket. The penalty was for Â£85 or Â£60 if paid within two weeks.
"As I'm breastfeeding and therefore my son is fed on demand, I need to stop right away," she said.
"I feel with the government both locally and nationally trying to encourage mums to breastfeed that it was unfair of the man not to take that into account or even bother to ask me to move or give me a few minutes to feed my child."
It was unfair of the man not to give me a few minutes to feed my child
The incident has alarmed breastfeeding support groups who believe more should be done by government to allow babies to be fed naturally.
Gillian McWhirter, a Scottish breastfeeding support group adviser, said: "This is a very unfortunate situation. There is enough of a problem getting mothers to breastfeed because they are embarrassed to do it in public. But to not just give this woman a ticket but take pictures of her while she was in the car, is quite shocking.
"These kind of situations encourage ignorance over the importance of breastfeeding, which scientific evidence shows decreases the rate of infant illness.
"It is a basic right for a child to receive nutrition and every mother knows that when baby cries, baby has to be fed."
Thyll Buchanan, a registered Scottish breastfeeding network supporter, added: "Young mothers need all the help and support they can to continue to breastfeed. It is safer to pull over and feed a crying baby than to try and continue driving under stressful conditions."
Central Ticketing said it would cancel the ticket if an investigation into the mother's complaint found her story to be true. Part of the inquiry would involve examining pictures taken by the parking attendant.
"We will see if this woman's story stacks up, because the warden would have taken photographs and she would have been in the vehicle," said the spokesman.
"We issue thousands of parking charges a week. Fifty per cent of people send in an appeal. You have to bear in mind of every 10 letters we receive seven or eight of these members of the public are telling lies. We are not saying this woman is. This will be investigated."
Figures released last month show that fewer Scottish mothers are opting to breastfeed despite numerous government campaigns promoting the health benefits.
Last year, only 44.2% of mothers were breastfeeding at the time of a health worker's first visit when the baby is about 10 days old while 36.6% were doing so after six to eight weeks. That compares with 45.1% and 37.2% respectively in 2005.