A FAMILY has described their frustration after a breastfeeding mother was forced to feed her newborn son behind a makeshift curtain.

Christina Curtis, 31, was visiting Wat Tyler Park, in Pitsea, with her husband Steve and their two sons on Saturday afternoon.

While Steve played with their two-year-old son outside, Christina needed to feed their baby, who is four weeks old.

Steve, 35, from Western Approach, Southend, said: “The café was closed so my wife asked reception staff if there was anywhere she could sit.

“They pulled up a blue chair at the bottom of a staircase which was not in use at the time and then put up this makeshift curtain in case the sight of her breastfeeding our son offended anyone.

“When I came inside, I couldn’t find her so had to ring her phone which is when I discovered she had been put aside like she was doing something wrong.”

Mr Curtis said the incident left his wife feeling ashamed and that it wasn’t expected in this day and age.

He added: “She said to me: ‘All I wanted to do was feed my son,’ and she was left feeling ashamed for doing it.

“We were told it was for the sake of everyone else - it wasn’t a nice feeling at all.

“I just can’t believe that in 2019 this is still treated as a taboo thing to do and is not accepted. It makes us feel like we can’t go out anywhere because we’re constantly worried that we can’t feed our own son.

“Everyone’s told that breastfeeding is the best way but then you’re made to feel like you’re doing something wrong if it’s done in public.”

Basildon Council, which operates Wat Tyler Park, has since apologised to the couple.

A Basildon Council spokesperson said: “We were shocked to receive a complaint in regards to an incident in the Wat Tyler Centre which goes against the values of Basildon Council.

"We have responded directly to the complainant to apologise for this. We will be speaking to all staff and reminding them of our working practices regarding breastfeeding in our leisure facilities.”