15/12/2011 11:26 GMT | Updated 15/12/2011 12:08 GMT

Breastfeeding Mothers Stage Brighton Flash-Mob

A hardy group of mothers staged a breastfeeding flash-mob demonstration in a city centre to declare their right to feed their babies in public.

Up to 40 mothers, some accompanied by their partners, descended on Brighton, East Sussex, and breastfed their children in front of Christmas shoppers.

Claire Jones-Hughes, 38, organised the demonstration after she was criticised by customers in a cafe for breastfeeding one of her daughters last week.

She was confronted by a group of four middle-aged women and a man in her favourite vegetarian restaurant, Wai Kika Moo Kau, after feeding four-month-old Callie.

Mrs Jones-Hughes said: "One woman said, 'It was very unpleasant watching you feed. You should have covered up more'. When I protested, the others joined in, and the man said, 'You should have used a towel'.

"I was really shocked, especially as I'd gone to a lot of effort to be discreet. You usually get nice comments when you're with a baby, and I couldn't believe I was having this conversation. In their world, it was completely unnatural that they should see me doing that."

Despite the support of another customer, Mrs Jones-Hughes was visibly shaken and reduced to tears by the incident.

She said: "After they left, the manager came over to ask what happened and was mortified when I told him. When I calmed down it reminded me of all the stories I've heard from other women who've had similar experiences."

After drumming up support online, Mrs Jones-Hughes encouraged other women to brave the cold to feed their babies as part of the flash mob at the Clock Tower.

The customer services manager, who also has a three-year-old daughter Lexie, said she hoped the event would give confidence to mothers who are nervous about breastfeeding in public.