A Wellington mum is distraught after being told by a staffer at a Disney on Ice show to "move to the parent room" to breastfeed her baby boy.

Jen Maxwell, who was drawn to tears during the ordeal, told the Herald she was blown away as this was her third baby and she had never experienced anything like it before.

"This is 2019 and it's a family Disney on Ice show for goodness sake."

She wanted to share her story as she didn't want any other mum to have to experience this kind of embarrassment.


"I'm glad it was me and not someone new to breastfeeding or someone having issues and struggling with feeding as it would be enough to put some people off it," she said.

Her family had travelled from Wellington to Hamilton today especially for the show.

Due to the loud noise Maxwell and her husband were taking turns holding their newborn outside the show.

"As bubba needed a feed, I headed out the door into the foyer which was empty except for the employees because the show was still on."

Maxwell said she sat down on one of the seats and was in the middle of feeding him when a staff member came up to her and said "there is a family room down there" and pointed down a corridor.

"I was absolutely shocked. Here I was feeding my new bubba and someone told me I couldn't.

"I said 'actually I don't think you can ask me to do that, he has every right to be fed here'.

"She said that I was sitting in a public space and people might not like it and could see me".


Maxwell said there was a blanket covering her baby and no skin showing but the staffer told her: "children might see it and that wasn't okay".

The Hamilton events facility has since apologised, saying they were extremely disappointed by an incident.

"This was totally unacceptable and is not in line with our values as a family-friendly venue that strives to make all visitors feel welcome and safe," they wrote on Claudelands NZ Facebook page.

We are extremely disappointed by an incident yesterday where a visitor to Claudelands was discouraged from breastfeeding...

Posted by Claudelands NZ on Saturday, 10 August 2019

"Please be assured that Claudelands supports of the rights of mothers to breastfeed at any time and place, and we will be taking immediate steps to better educate all staff and contractors on these rights.

"We apologise unreservedly for the upset caused."

The post has garnered comments from just over 100 people, with many congratulating the facility for owning up to the mistake.

"Great work fronting up to this issue and allowing it to spread some education," one person wrote.

"Well done Claudelands for taking this stance and supporting women to breastfeed when they need to be out and about with their babies," another said.

Maxwell said they had also contacted her directly to apologise and assured her this would never happen again and that the staff had been spoken to regarding breastfeeding.

"I'm really happy with the way they have dealt with the issue this afternoon. I feel really confident this won't happen to anyone again."

Maxwell has also shared her story on Facebook with dozens more people sharing the same outrage.

Hamilton Mayor Andrew King told Stuff it was wrong the woman was approached.

"Breastfeeding is just a natural thing that can happen. My position as the mayor is women are allowed to breastfeed on any council premises and I apologise that someone has been told otherwise."

Claudelands is owned by Hamilton City Council and is located on the corner of Brooklyn Rd and Heaphy Tce in the heart of Hamilton.

The event centre has an auditorium, conference centre, indoor and outdoor exhibition spaces and several dining establishments.

It has been hosting the Disney On Ice performance, with the last showings today.