UK

'Why I opened a breastfeeding cafe'

Charlotte Purdie standing with her team in The Milk Lounge. Image copyright Helen Horner
Image caption Charlotte Purdie with her team at The Milk Lounge, a purpose-built infant feeding cafe which has opened in Nottingham, UK.

A mother has opened a cafe to cater for the needs of breastfeeding mums after she couldn't find a place she felt was "clean or comfortable" enough for her to feed her own baby.

Charlotte Purdie has set up Nottingham's first purpose-built infant feeding cafe.

"I gave birth in March last year and I couldn't find a place that felt clean or comfortable enough to feed my baby.

I believe it is the first purpose-built cafe. It is not just aimed at breastfeeding mothers. There are bottle warming facilities for mums who use formula milk. Dads are as welcome and as important as mums are here.

I also have a breastfeeding peer can offer support to mums who may need help with breastfeeding.

We prepare fresh fruit and vegetable dishes for baby-led weaning, so it's not just aimed at breastfeeding mums. And there are toy stations for older children on every corner.

People said it was a crazy idea but eventually word got out and The Milk Station became a credited business.

Image copyright Helen Horner
Image caption "We are set apart from others due to the facilities we have here", says Charlotte Purdie of her breastfeeding-friendly cafe in Nottingham, UK.

Lightbulb moment

I came up with the idea for an infant feeding cafe on the first day of my honeymoon.

I rang the bank to see what financial help they could offer me but they said I would need to raise thousands of pounds.

Being a young mum, I asked my husband to take some time off so I could spend a few months working on the business model.

I approached a couple of funding bodies and I got offered a £25,000 investment.

I did my research and checked out local schools, what the birth rate was in my local areas and what the breastfeeding rate was."

Divided opinion

Breastfeeding in public has always divided opinion. Cat Smith thinks that a breastfeeding cafe is a great idea but would not feel confined to using one:

Image copyright Cat Smith / Facebook

All towns should have a breastfeeding friendly cafe, comments Katie Shelton-Jones:

Image copyright Katie Shelton-Jones / Facebook

Elaine Ann Scott asks an important question about the cafe. Is it for all?

Image copyright Elaine Ann Scott / Facebook

Family support

Jade Boekestyn comments that a breastfeeding friendly cafe is a great space for families:

Image copyright Jade Boekestyn / Facebook
Image copyright @my_gloriousdays / Twitter

Charlotte believes in the positive effects the cafe will have on the whole community. She says, "we are 100% inclusive and have had loads of support."

Interview by Alison Daye.