A mom-of-four has hit out at easyJet after she was ordered to stop breastfeeding her baby during a flight — and had to pry the infant off her mid-feed.
Kelly Edgson-Payne, 36, was "mortified," and she and one-year-old son Lex were both left in tears, as a male member of cabin crew told her she could not feed her baby during takeoff.
And when the sports therapist raised the issue with easyJet Customer Services, she was told she was welcome to breastfeed her baby on their flights, "as long as you are discreet."
Edgson-Payne, a mom of four from England who says she has never had an issue breastfeeding any of her children on flights, has slammed easyJet for "not seeming to know the law about breastfeeding."
"It's just absolutely crazy that I was told that I couldn't feed him — crazy, and really embarrassing for me. I find it really disappointing that an airline I trust, and who we fly with all the time, actually broke the law in discriminating against me as a breastfeeding mother," said Edgson-Payne, from Rochester, Kent.
"The law in the U.K. says it protects breastfeeding mothers — and even easyJet's own website says mothers are welcome to breastfeed at any time during a flight," she added.
"There's just no consistency in their messages. They should not be discriminating against breastfeeding."
Edgson-Payne was flying from London Gatwick to Fuerteventura, Spain, on Aug. 20 with her husband Ross, 40, and four children, when the unpleasant incident took place.
"We fly with easyJet literally all the time, and I have always breastfed all my children over the years during takeoff, because their ears pop which and its uncomfortable for them," she said.
"Most other cabin crew would actually encourage breastfeeding during takeoff, because it distracts them and stops them from crying … I've never before been told that I can't feed Lex, or any of my other children — and we've flown with him about 16 times in the last year."
Edgson-Payne said that on he Aug. 20 flight, she got settled in her seat and started feeding her son, as she "usually" would.
"Then a male member of cabin crew came over and told me I couldn't feed him during takeoff, and that I'd have to stop and strap him in to his infant seat next to me," Edgson-Payne claimed.
"It was just crazy. I said, 'Well, he's feeding.' But I just had to stop mid-feed and hand him to my husband. I was mortified. I'm not afraid to breastfeed my baby wherever — I've stopped at a break point during a marathon before and fed him - but this left me embarrassed and in tears," she added.
"I had to very quickly cover myself up — but my breasts were still leaking milk, because I had stopped mid-feed. Even my eldest daughter, who is 9, said, 'Mummy, they can't tell you not to breastfeed him.'"
Edgson-Payne, mom to Mia, 9, Elena, 5, Jax, 3, and Lex, 1, said a female member of cabin crew later approached her after takeoff and apologized for the incident.
"The two of them had a bit of a hoo-ha, and she then later came up to me and said, 'I'm sorry about that, ignore him, he's wrong," she said.
"What annoys and disappoints me is that there is no consistency. On their website they state, 'We support breastfeeding mothers and you can feed your baby on board at any time.' But when I emailed their customer services about it afterwards, I was told, 'Passengers are allowed to breastfeed their babies on board the aircraft, as long as you are doing this in a discreet manner.'
"The ironic thing is, since having my third and fourth children, whenever I fly I have always booked my infant a seat next to me. So I've never in the last six years sat next to a random passenger," explained Edgson-Payne.
"Up until the cabin crew told me I couldn't breastfeed, I don't think any other passengers were even paying any attention to me at all."
Edgson-Payne added that all easyJet offered her a voucher for 25 pounds to be used toward another flight in the way of compensation.
"I just want them to make themselves aware of the law so no other mums have to go through this," she added.
A spokesperson for easyJet said: "easyJet supports breastfeeding and customers flying with easyJet can breastfeed at any time during the flight.
"It is not our policy to ask mothers to be discreet and we make this very clear in our training.
"This flight was operated by another airline on our behalf and while they should follow easyJet policies we are sorry this did not happen on this occasion.
"We have followed up to ensure this does not happen in future."