An Auckland mum, who was breastfeeding her son at an Albany indoor playground, has claimed she was pestered by an "immature" staff member who told her to move to their changing room as it made people feel "uncomfortable".
However, My Wonderland owner Ken Ge blamed the incident on a breakdown in communication as the part-time staff member who dealt with the mother was an international student who did not speak English as a first language.
Mother-of-two Chelsea Morgan from Lucas Heights told the Herald about her "bad experience" while she took her 6-month-old son Elijah and 4-year-old daughter Chloe to My Wonderland on Sunday around midday.
• MPs back right to breastfeed in public
• Mother berated by stranger for breastfeeding in public: 'I felt embarrassed'
• Breastfeeding ban confirmed for Wellington City Council pools
• Wellington City Council does about turn on breastfeeding ban in pools
She said when she started breastfeeding her son while watching her daughter on the playground, she was confronted by a young female staff member who awkwardly directed her to the changing rooms.
The 22-year-old misunderstood her request and said her baby didn't need changing.
Morgan said the staff member went away and then came back and directed her to the changing rooms again when the mum replied with the same answer.
At that point, Morgan claims the staff member said: "No, for your situation" and it became clear to her that she was being told to move because she was breastfeeding.
She went on to tell the staffer that her daughter was on the playground and that she didn't want to leave her behind.
However, she said the staff member was persistent and that her daughter "would be fine, it will be only for a few minutes."
The argument continued until Morgan had had enough and ignored her. The mother then ate lunch and decided to go home.
On her way out, the mum went to the counter to ask for the staff member's name as her partner, Reef Galloway, also 22 and at work at the time, wanted her to make a formal complaint.
But the other team member agreed that she should have breastfed in the changing room, Morgan said.
"They basically were telling me the place was really busy and I am making people feel uncomfortable and I could easily just go feed in the changing rooms," she told the Herald.
"They didn't clear things up. They still were adamant what I was doing wasn't very appropriate. They sort of made a bit of a joke about it ... they were adamant that I could have just breastfed in the changing rooms."
Morgan said she explained her rights and that it is illegal to ask her to stop breastfeeding in a public place.
"As I left they were basically teaming up on me and I said 'if you have an issue with breastfeeding you shouldn't be in a business with children' and they just started cracking up laughing," she said.
"It was all just funny to them and very immaturely dealt with."
The owner of the indoor playground stressed that customers were free to breastfeed at My Wonderland and said that his partner had breastfed the couple's own children at the premises.
Ge said the staff member had good intentions and was attempting to direct Morgan to My Wonderland's purpose-built nursing area because of the noise in the main playground.
He said a language barrier may have contributed to the misunderstanding and that the nursing area at the playground is near the separate changing room and toilets.
Ge said the staff member was initially under the impression that Morgan was only caring for her 6-month-old, therefore didn't realise moving would be an issue.
He added it was "not possible" that staff laughed about the situation, saying: "We do not laugh at customers who need help."
He argued that the complaints of bias against breastfeeding would have surfaced before if it was an issue.
Ge said he wanted customers to "come here with joy, and bring joy home".