A mum says she was ordered to stop breastfeeding in Primark – before a security guard snatched her baby daughter off her BREAST and marched off.
Caroline Starmer, 28, was feeding nine-and-a-half-month-old Paige in the children’s section of the clothes shop behind a mannequin when she was approached by the guard.
He ordered her to leave but when she refused, Caroline, who also had Paige’s twin sister, Freya, with her in a pushchair, forcibly tore the screaming tot off her breast.
Shockingly, she claims the man, described as Asian and 5ft 10ins tall, strode off with the baby in his arms and told Caroline: “If you want your baby back, follow me.”
Caroline managed to chase after the man and wrestled Paige out of his arms before leaving the store and reporting the incident to police.
Caroline said: “I was completely shocked, one minute I was feeding Paige in a discreet area of the store and suddenly I was being challenged by a security guard and he was walking off with my baby.
“He said to me ‘you can’t do that here, you will have to vacate the premises.’
“When I tried to explain my daughter needed feeding and it was my right to breastfeed wherever I wanted he just ripped Paige off my breast.
“The pain was excruciating, because she was pulled off my breast against her will, she instantly clamped down with her two bottom teeth causing a lot of pain to me.
“I was stunned, I didn’t know what to do, this stranger had hold of my daughter and was walking off with her screaming while I had my breast exposed and my other daughter in the pushchair.
“When I regained my senses I sprinted after him and stood in front of him. I grabbed Paige off him and he just sneered at me and walked off.
“I was so shocked I left the store and went straight to the police station. I rang my husband who was at home with our other kids and he was fuming.”
Caroline, from Leicester, had gone shopping to Primark in the city centre on Monday (13/7) when she sat down to feed Paige at around 12.30pm.
She added: “Paige was going mad and the queues were huge. I’d gone in to get some clothes for the kids because we’re going on holiday next week.
“I found a small podium which held child sized mannequins, and decided to perch on the end of this to feed my daughter.
“I was trying to be discreet and there weren’t many people around but for some reason this security guard took exception and felt the need to be a bully.
“He was so out of order, I’m pressing charges because this should never have been allowed to happen.”
Husband Stuart, 45, was at home with the couple’s other children Alffie, eight and Keira, two.
The full-time carer said: “When Caroline rang me to tell me what happened I was sickened. I couldn’t believe what had happened while she was out shopping.
“I rang the manager of the shop and he said he would look at the CCTV cameras but when he called back he said he couldn’t see anything.
“He promised to speak to the security guard but I want more done than that, I don’t want them sweeping this kind of appalling behaviour under the carpet.
“Since this happened Paige has not settled at all, she has been waking up screaming and crying. It’s been a traumatic experience for all of us.”
Primark yesterday confirmed they had launched an investigation and were taking the claims “very seriously.”
A spokesman said: “We wish to make it absolutely clear that mothers are welcome to breastfeed in our stores.
“We are investigating this incident urgently, and take these claims very seriously.”
The company refused to say if the security guard was still working at the shop.
Leicestershire Police confirmed they had launched an investigation after taking a full statement from Caroline Starmer.
A force spokeswoman said: “We have spoken to the lady involved and arrangements have been made to take further statements in relation to the allegations.”
The security guard who is alleged to have confronted Mrs Starmer has not yet been questioned by police.