Starbucks Barista Shames Pregnant Mom for Ordering a Macchiato Because It's 'Bad for Baby'


Woman sits in Starbucks with a coffee and muffin while texting.

Getting unsolicited pregnancy and parenting advice is pretty much par for the course as soon as you see those two little pink lines appear on that pregnancy stick. And yet, even though most women more or less brace themselves for it, when the comments actually start rolling in, they can really shock you. Case in point: A woman ordering a macchiato at a Starbucks in the UK recently found herself getting shamed by the barista over its caffeine content. In fact, the exchange was so uncomfortable, a fellow customer had to step in to put him in his place -- which she then tweeted about to let off some steam.

  • The story was tweeted out on May 18 by Tiffany Stevenson, who could not believe her ears when she heard the whole thing going down.

    "Unbelievable bit of womb bothering in Starbucks at services," Stevenson wrote. "A pregnant woman got her Caramel Macchiato and the guy behind the counter said, 'Oh , it’s for you. Do you want me to make a decaf?' She said, 'No, thanks.' Him ‘No I should because caffeine is bad for the baby.'"

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  • Stevenson could hardly believe her ears -- and yet, it wasn't over yet.

    "Her: ‘It’s fine I have one a day,’" Stevenson relayed. "Him: ‘But ... you shouldn’t.'"

    (YES. REALLY.)

  • That was it for Stevenson, who jumped into the convo and did not hold back.

    After admitting that that last comment almost had her "spontaneously combusting," she asked the barista: "Are you a man, telling a woman what she should and shouldn’t have during a pregnancy?"

    And (perhaps unsurprisingly), he replied that Why yes, yes he was.

    "Oh just because it’s bad for the baby so that’s why I’m saying it," the man allegedly told her.

  • Oof. Stevenson knew she had to shut this down fast.

    "Unbelievable. Stop it," she told the young man, who she says was no more than 30 years old at the most. That didn't exactly silence him, though, because he continued to "try and justify policing a complete stranger for 5 minutes," she shared. 

    "Are they also doing Ob/Gyn training at Starbucks these days?" Stevenson added in her tweet.

  • Plenty of Twitter users jumped in to applaud Stevenson for saying something, because seriously, that guy should learn to mind his own business.

    "Love the term womb bothering lol!" wrote one Twitter user. "Well done for saying something!"

    "I love u for this," wrote another.

  • Lots (and lots) of women weren't surprised, and said they had similar experiences while pregnant and it was super annoying and uncomfortable.

    "I had exactly the same thing in Pret when I was pregnant," said one woman. "I was angry for days."

    "Happens the moment you start showing," wrote another. "That and strangers asking whether you’re having a boy or a girl. And a couple of times touching your bump with no warning, which made me feel physically sick."

    "Four years later I get angry at a neighbor that rubbed my very painful bump like I was a lucky charm or something," said one woman.

  • Others shared stories from back in the day, when there was no such thing as the pregnancy police. (And before we, like, had studies and stuff.)

    "When I was born just after the war, the midwife advised my mother to drink a bottle of stout a day 'to help the milk,'" wrote one woman.

    "They said caffeine would lower birth weight," wrote another. "I drank it every day with both my 10 pound baby and even more with the 11 pound baby. Can’t imagine how big they would have been otherwise!"

    "When I had my twin girls 26 years ago, my lovely Dad brought some bottles of Guinness to the hospital for me to boost my iron," another added." I was breastfeeding. Lovely midwife told him he was a very kind Dad and hurried to get me a real glass as you couldn't drink Guinness from a plastic one!"

    (Although I don't think the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) would promote that one today, it sure shows how times have changed.)

  • In truth, the debate over whether it's safe to have coffee (or any bit of caffeine) while pregnant seems to be a touchier topic than necessary.

    According to the American Pregnancy Association (AAP), women are permitted to have 200 mg or less of caffeine per day, so for many women that translates to one 12 oz. cup of Joe every morning to get their day started.

    But for some reason, the myths over it being highly unsafe to have in any amount seem to persist.

    The bottom line here? Mind your own womb -- and if you don't have one (and aren't a board certified OB/GYN), then you should definitely keep quiet.