Do you worry about breastfeeding your baby in public? We’ve all read the stories about new mums who’ve been asked to leave cafes or shops due to breastfeeding. Once you get to grips with breastfeeding you may want to build up your confidence by feeding out of the house.
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Tips For Breastfeeding In Public
Find breastfeeding friendly places
Towns and cities are getting better at creating areas for new mothers to breastfeed. Ask around your friends or a local breastfeeding group if they have a list of breastfeeding friendly areas. Lots of cafes are adapting to be family friendly. Shopping centres are also building designated feeding rooms for nursing mums, not the toilets! These rooms often have lots of space, comfortable seating and area for baby changing.
Buy nursing tops
If you worry about showing too much flesh then a specially designed breastfeeding top can help. These tops look like normal tops but have an opening where your breast can be pulled out whilst keeping your chest and tummy covered. The design is fantastic as babies head will usually cover the exposed part of your breast, making the feed very discreet. Click here for our Nursing top recommendations.
Use Cover ups
There are lots of fashionable cover-ups you can buy for feeding baby. Traditionally they have taken the form of an apron, but recently new styles are emerging. You can successfully use a baby sling, shawl or oversized cowl scarf and no one will be any wiser.
Have an advocate
If you have someone with you then it’s easier to be discreet about feeding. Someone is less likely to say something if you are in the middle of a conversation with a friend. A friend can reassure you and make you feel relaxed in their presence. Get dads involved with the breastfeeding by making them your own breastfeeding bodyguard!
Have a response
If someone does say something to you, then kindly thank them for their feedback but let them know it’s not necessary. Feeding a baby is a natural act. Its not acceptable for anyone to tell you to ‘do it in private’. Be blunt and ask them if they would eat their lunch in the toilets?
The more you feed in public the easier it will get. Remember you may be seen by women who you empower to feed in public . The more breastfeeding is seen as a everyday occurrence, the more it will be seen as ‘normal’ by society and have less stigma attached to it.
Know your rights
In the UK women have a legal right to breastfeed in public. This is under the Equality Act 2010.
This is what the act states:
It is sexual discrimination to harass, victimise or treat a woman unfavourably, because she is breastfeeding.
It applies to anyone providing services, benefits, facilities and premises to the public, public bodies, further and higher education bodies and association.
Discrimination includes refusing to provide a service, providing a lower standard of service or providing a service on different terms.
In Scotland it is a criminal offence to try to stop or prevent a woman from feeding (breast or bottle) a child under two in any place in which the public has access.
If you feel you have been discriminated against the first step should be to make an official complaint to the organisation . If the complaint is not upheld then you can bring the case to sheriff court and seek compensation. This decision should not be taking lightly as these proceeding can often be expensive to proceed with.
For information and advice about discrimination law
Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)