Starbucks has signed up to a national charity’s charter to ensure there is a supportive environment for breastfeeding mums on the high street.
The coffee shop is the first to be signed up to the National Childbirth Trust’s ‘Parent Friendly Places Charter’, and has pledged to provide a parent-friendly environment in their 800 stores across the country.
The Charter hopes to make sure parents feeding their children on the high street, whether that be by breast, bottle, or in a high chair, don’t feel ashamed.
“We want all of our customers to have a good experience at Starbucks and we recognise that parents out on their own with very young children, sometimes for the first time, appreciate some support,” said Rhys Iley, vice president of operations for Starbucks.
“Through working with NCT we have already refreshed our training and improved our facilities. We hope parents of young children visiting our stores will let us know, there and then, if there is anything we can do to improve their experience.”
Signing up to The NCT Parent Friendly Places Charter means companies will commit to ensuring a warm welcome for parents with children, a place to feed babies without judgement and help and assistance from staff.
Organisations signing up to the Charter complete a training programme, designed by qualified professionals from NCT, that hopes to increase understanding of the needs of parents with young children or babies.
The training was delivered to Starbucks baristas across the country and stores will now display the NCT Parent Friendly Places badge via a window sticker.
Dr. Sarah McMullen, head of research and quality at NCT said: “We are proud to launch the first Parent Friendly Places partnership on the High Street with Starbucks, so that parents with young children feel welcome and supported when they walk into a store.”
McMullen continued: “We know from our members, that many struggle with unwanted attention and comments on their feeding method whether it’s by breast, bottle or in a high chair, when out and about with their baby or child.
“It’s important that parents feel reassured they have the support of staff and won’t be judged.
“We also know that it can be a challenge for establishments to understand and assist with the needs of parents with very young children.
“We believe this Charter will address the challenges parents face on the High Street and hope that other retailers will follow suit in becoming more parent-friendly.”
Siobhan Freegard, founder of ChannelMum.com, told The Huffington Post UK: “While this scheme will undoubtedly help parents find a family-friendly café, it’s sad and also rather telling than we need it.
“Parents with young children should be welcomed far more widely, as they are in other cultures, rather than seen as a niche market.”
To find out more about the Charter and other organisations that sign up, visit NCT’s website.