Breastfeeding mother claims she was kicked off a bus

Mother claims she was kicked off a bus for breastfeeding her crying 19-week-old daughter by driver who said ‘you can’t do that here’

  • Holly Chapman, 28, claims she was kicked off a bus for breastfeeding her baby
  • Swindon Bus Company driver told her you ‘have to stop or get off’ 
  • Holly received an apology but wants to raise awareness to help other mothers 

A mother has claimed she was kicked off a bus because she refused to stop breastfeeding her baby. 

Holly Chapman, 28, of Swindon, had started to nurse crying 19-week-old daughter Raiya when the driver approached and told her she ‘couldn’t do it’ on board. 

The mother-of-two left the bus embarrassed and was forced to continue feeding her daughter by the side of the road while waiting for another bus. 

Holly, who is also breastfeeding daughter Gracie, three, received an apology from operator Swindon Bus Company but said she wanted to raise awareness to help other mothers who might find themselves facing a similar position. 

Humiliated: Holly was asked to leave a Swindon bus while breastfeeding daughter Raiya

Speaking out: The mother-of-two, pictured with her family, wants to help other women

Women are legally allowed to breastfeed in public open spaces, including parks and high-street benches, and on public transport, including buses and trains. 

Recalling the situation, Holly said: ‘My daughter Raiya was crying when we got on the bus so I started to feed her.

‘The driver told me I couldn’t do it. I explained she was crying because she was hungry and he said If I was going to carry on then I needed to get off the bus. It was such a horrible experience, I was so shocked I didn’t know what to say.’

Holly was so embarrassed she initially didn’t tell fiancé, Damien Baker-Davis what had happened.

Proud: Mother Holly with daughters Grace, three, and Raiya, 19 weeks, who both breastfeed

Targeted: Holly told how she was approached by the driver while breastfeeding her daughter Raiya, pictured as a newborn in hospital

Too ashamed to speak: Holly, pictured with fiance Damien and their daughters, initially didn’t tell the father of her children what had happened on the bus

She continued: ‘A few days later I was at a café with my sister, Stacey Chapman, 30, and she noticed that I asked the staff permission to breastfeed.

‘My sister knew that was a strange thing for me to do, and asked me what was going on.

‘She was absolutely furious when I told her what had happened on the bus and she encouraged me to make a formal complaint.’

Holly, who volunteers as a breastfeeding supporter, said she was ‘upset with herself’ for not standing up for her rights but felt too ‘choked up and humiliated’ at the time to take action.   

She now wants to encourage other breastfeeding mothers to stand their ground. 

‘Speak up if you are ever confronted and know that you are doing nothing wrong,’ she said. ‘Breastfeeding in public is okay and you are protected by law to feed your baby whenever they need to be fed.’

Beautiful: Holly with older daughter Grace (left) and breastfeeding her two daughters

Support: Fiance Damien said breastfeeding ‘is still not seen as natural and that has to change’ 

Holly said it isn’t the first time has been subjected to abuse in the past.

She added: ‘I have had strangers say it’s disgusting before but I’ve never been thrown off a bus.’

Holly’s fiancé, Damien Davis, added: ‘It is clear that breastfeeding is still not seen as natural and that has to change.

‘Staff training or education work is obviously needed. It is difficult enough for mums to juggle feeding, naps and getting out the house, without being confronted in this way for doing something natural.

‘I am angry that Holly has been treated this way for tending to our hungry daughter.’

Alex Chutter, general manager for Swindon’s bus Company said: ‘I am very sorry to learn of this customer’s experience.

‘Our drivers are highly trained in customer service, and I would like to reassure those who travel with us that incidents like this are extremely rare and completely unacceptable.

‘We would never condone this type of behaviour from any of our drivers, I would like to sincerely apologise to Ms Chapman for the experience she has endured.’

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