The World Health Organisation, UNICEF and the Department of Health currently recommend that a baby is breastfed on demand. So you’ll want to feed your baby whenever she asks – including when you are out and about. A huge advantage of breastfeeding is that your milk is always ready and just at the right temperature so it’s easy for you to feed wherever you are. No worries about carrying sterilised bottles, milk powder or bottle warmers with you. You can just sit down anywhere and feed.
Most mums feed happily outside their home without any problems. You may have heard about mums being challenged for feeding their baby in public but try not to be put off by this. It happens very rarely but the publicity it sometimes generates can give the false impression it happens all the time. Breastfeeding in public helps society see this is the normal way to feed a baby.
You shouldn’t be expected to feed in a toilet, changing room or anywhere else uncomfortable.
Some mums find that breastfeeding at a breastfeeding group or in the company of a mother who is breastfeeding or has breastfed, increases their confidence initially for breastfeeding out and about.
Breastfeeding mothers are protected by the Equality Act (2010), a law which bans unfair treatment. The Equality Act states that it is sex discrimination to treat a woman less favourably because she is breastfeeding. However, if you feel that you’ve been treated unfairly you can contact the Government Equalities Office. In Scotland there is also a specific law protecting the right of a mother to breastfeed in public. This is the Breastfeeding etc. (Scotland) Act 2005.
You can read more on this subject in the following publications:
“Breastfeeding in public places”. Maternity Action. January 2011. Maternity Action is a British charity that works to end inequality and promote the health and well-being of all pregnant women, their partners and children from before conception to the child’s early years.
“Equality Act 2010: discrimination and your rights”. Government Equalities Office. July 2010
For ideas and tips on breastfeeding in public you can read the following web pages:
Breastfeeding in public. NHS Choices
Breastfeeding in public. Kellymom.com
Breastfeeding in public. La Leche League International
Information for businesses:
“Equality Act 2010: What do I need to know? A quick start guide for businesses who sell goods and services”. Government Equalities Office. July 2010