These difficulties are made all the more difficult when they just feel like having a quiet cup of coffee.
In response, Starbucks is teaching staff in all of its 800+ UK stores how to take a more parent-friendly approach to serving customers.
This involves training employees to provide an environment where mothers can feed their babies without being judged. This might include tasks such as offering comfortable and private seating, helping carry equipment, and safely warming milk bottles.
They may also anticipate parents’ needs by helping mothers who might struggle with their strollers.
Moreover, baristas are being taught to assist mothers by encouraging them to use the Starbucks’ app to order and pay from their tables.
The result is that they can have their food delivered to them, rather than waiting in a long line with their child.
“We want all of our customers to have a good experience at Starbucks,” said Rhys Iley, vice president of operations for Starbucks EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa).
“And we recognise that parents out on their own with very young children, sometimes for the first time, appreciate some support.”
The Starbucks branches will all display ‘Parent Friendly Places’ badges in their windows to demonstrate they have committed to ensuring a supportive environment for parents.
The initiative was launched with the help of the parenting charity National Childbirth Trust (NCT).
“We know from our members, that many struggle with unwanted attention and comments on their feeding method whether it’s by breast, bottle or in a high chair, when out and about with their baby or child,” said Dr. Sarah McMullen, head of research and quality at NCT.
“It’s important that parents feel reassured they have the support of staff and won’t be judged.”
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Staring strangers, crying babies, manoeuvring strollers and judgements about feeding methods are just some of the challenges facing mothers when they are out in public.