What would your response be?
A) Tell him: If his boss wants an NHS to treat him when he’s sick he’d better have us all in here breast feeding (breast feeding can save NHS up to £50 million a year)
B) I’ll put that on a review on Facebook shall I?
C) Quote the Equality act 2010 at him
D) Take the baby off the breast and leave your nipple exposed
E) Get your mother in law involved ?
Whatever your response, just remember breastfeeding is NORMAL. Le Leche League GB have published some great advice about breastfeeding in public…
Breastmilk is instantly available for babies and is wonderfully convenient wherever a mother is. This is particularly important as babies have small stomachs and breastmilk is digested very quickly. However, many mothers worry about breastfeeding in public spaces and are unsure about their rights in the event of negative comments from other people.
What does the law say?
It is entirely legal to breastfeed in public places anywhere in the UK.
According to the Equality Act of 2010, treating a woman unfavourably because she is breastfeeding a child of any age is considered sex discrimination. This applies to any business or premise providing services to the public, including public institutions, associations and higher education bodies.
Service providers dealing directly with the public must not discriminate, harass or victimise a woman because she is breastfeeding. Discrimination includes refusing to provide a service, providing a lower standard of service or providing a service on different terms. ◦ Businesses, such as a cafes, restaurants and shops, are not allowed to ask a woman to stop breastfeeding her child or refuse to serve her. This is applicable to mothers breastfeeding children of any age, as the law protects them for as long as they wish to breastfeed their babies.
If anyone being served in a cafe takes offence at a breastfeeding mother, the business owner could offer to move them to a different table, but it is against the law to ask the mother in question to leave because she’s breastfeeding.
A guide produced by the Government Equalities Office to explain the 2010 Equality Act to businesses selling goods and services states: “A business may ask a breastfeeding woman to leave their premises if the reason for this request is not due to her breastfeeding. However, if the woman later claims that discrimination occurred because she was breastfeeding, the business will have to prove that there was in fact no discrimination.”
It is possible that individual business employees, owners or managers may not be aware of these regulations and may tell a woman that she cannot breastfeed on the business premises. If this happens, the mother can challenge their request.
If still asked to stop breastfeeding or leave the premises, a woman can contact the Government Equalities Office. A solicitor can advise on whether a claim can be brought for discrimination under the 2010 Equality Act.
Although Breastfeeding is “normal” it doesn’t mean it is easy. As a member of the Underwood Baby Academy you will have the opportunity to come to a midwife led weekly drop in session to support you with feeding. As well as a daily telephone support line incase you have any questions or worries that can’t wait until the drop in. Support is everything.
Information taken from and with thanks to The Le Leche League GB at https://www.laleche.org.uk/breastfeeding-public-spaces/. Image from Modern Toss at The Guardian.