Breastfeeding Mom Is Furious Nobody Gave Up Their Seat For Her On The Subway

In a recent incident that has sparked outrage and ignited a broader conversation on commuter etiquette, Samantha Holmes, a 29-year-old mother of two and a registered nurse, found herself standing on a crowded London Underground train while breastfeeding her two-month-old daughter, Celine. The incident took place on the Metropolitan line train during the evening rush hour, leaving Samantha frustrated and disappointed by the lack of empathy and support from fellow passengers.

Samantha and her husband, Jarred, had boarded the train at London Euston with the hope of finding a seat, allowing Samantha to comfortably feed their hungry infant. However, as they entered the crowded train, not a single passenger offered their seat to the distressed mother. Samantha recounts the ordeal, saying, “Our daughter had some bad trapped wind, and nothing I was doing was consoling her. So we were standing initially, and I’d expected someone to give me a seat with her being so hysterical. But no acknowledgement, and I just said to my husband I’d have to feed her.”

Samantha’s experience sheds light on the challenges faced by breastfeeding mothers while using public transportation. She emphasized that many mothers in similar situations often feel “invisible” and unsupported. In her frustration, she asked her husband to record the incident, hoping to raise awareness about the issue.

“It’s hard enough to keep your balance on your own, never mind whilst trying to feed a two-month-old child. That’s when I said to my husband, take a photo of this as I couldn’t believe it. I felt invisible – could anyone even see me? Everyone had their heads down. I’m comfortable breastfeeding, so that doesn’t affect me. But for some people that are nervous to feed in public – that could have caused them to stop breastfeeding. I just couldn’t believe it. My blood was boiling,” Samantha expressed.

Transport for London has clear guidelines stating that all buses, Tubes, trains, and trams have marked priority seats for individuals who need them. Additionally, passengers can request a “Please Offer Me a Seat” badge and card or a “Baby on Board” badge to signal their need for a seat. However, the incident involving Samantha highlights that these guidelines are not always followed by commuters, leaving mothers like her in challenging situations.

This incident has rekindled a broader discussion about commuter etiquette and the responsibilities of passengers towards each other. A recent study found that just six out of ten commuters would give up their seat for an expectant mother. Shockingly, one in four commuters admitted they had not given up their seat for a pregnant woman, often because they were unsure if she was pregnant or simply out of concern that offering a seat might be misconstrued.

Furthermore, the study revealed that many adults believed it was unnecessary to offer a seat to a pregnant woman until she was visibly showing, which can be quite late into pregnancy. Researchers found that during rush hours, passengers were often too focused on their own concerns, such as work or their smartphones, to notice those in need of a seat.

The research, commissioned by Mama Mio skincare as part of their “I’m Expecting” campaign, aims to encourage expectant mothers not to hesitate to ask for a seat when they need one. Anna Whitehouse, an ambassador for the campaign, commented, “Pregnancy is not a weakness, but it is a vulnerability, and I felt this during my first trimester in particular. Busy, hot, and cramped commuting conditions can be incredibly stressful both physically and mentally, and being able to sit down can make a difference.”

Samantha’s experience on the London Underground serves as a powerful reminder of the need for increased awareness and empathy among commuters. It highlights the importance of fostering a community spirit that encourages passengers to support one another, particularly those in vulnerable situations. Initiatives like the “I’m Expecting” campaign aim to change the narrative and make public transportation a more comfortable and considerate environment for everyone. It is crucial for society to address and rectify these issues, ensuring that incidents like Samantha’s become a thing of the past.