Breastfeeding mums who were invited to attend a Scottish Government-backed breastfeeding conference were left fuming after being told that they could not feed their babies at the event.

The conference, entitled “Shifting the Curve – Sharing the Challenge Breastfeeding Summit”, is due to be held next month at Edinburgh’s Murrayfield Stadium. Organisers claim that the event is “open to everyone who works with children and families” and aimed to “remove some of the barriers” surrounding breastfeeding.

However, when asked whether mothers would be able to breastfeed at the conference, officials stated that it would not be “appropriate”.

Elaine Smith, Labour MSP, said it was “astonishing” that breastfeeding mothers were not welcome.

She added: “The irony of it being a breastfeeding conference is unbelievable. Clearly it made sense to backtrack.

“However I think [the conference organisers] saying that they will provide special facilities for breastfeeding mothers begs a bigger problem.

“Women should be able to breastfeed wherever they are, they should be able to sit in the auditorium.

“If breastfeeding is seen as something that has to be hidden away in a different room, instead of celebrated, I don’t think we will break down the barriers.”

Elise Stirling, who runs parenting consultancy Bond, Baby!, said she was “dumbfounded” when she was told by officials that the event was for “professionals” rather than breastfeeding mothers.

She said: “Obviously it had not occurred to them that you can be both.”

The Scottish Government spokesperson attempted to clarify the issue: “The event was initially organised for health professionals and service providers.

“But we are sorry that mums were initially told they wouldn’t be able to attend this event with their babies, and following a number of enquiries from mothers we have now arranged baby changing facilities so they will be welcome to breast feed in the sessions or, if preferred, in the quiet areas provided.”

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