It's World Breasfeeding Week - Breastfeeding in public? — Scope | Disability forum
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It's World Breasfeeding Week - Breastfeeding in public?

Sam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,676 Disability Gamechanger
This week is World Breastfeeding week and there always seems to be a debate on whether breastfeeding in public is ok, though legally you can breastfeed in public spaces across the UK (you're protected by the Equalities Act 2010). 

The NHS say:

"The law protects breastfeeding mums. You are legally allowed to breastfeed your baby in public. That might be a café, shop, library or on public transport (basically any business that provides a service to the public). The Equality Act states that it is sex discrimination to treat a woman unfavourably if she is breastfeeding.

If you are asked to leave somewhere because you are breastfeeding, you are absolutely within your rights to challenge that request. If it becomes uncomfortable, and you don't want to stick around, contact the Government Equalities Office. A solicitor will advise you if a claim can be brought forward for discrimination."

Some women feel comfortable and happy feeding their babies wherever, others prefer the privacy of being away from others. The law protects women to make their own decisions on this. 

I remember feeding one of my children in a shopping centre sat on a bench and a group of teenage girls were pointing and laughing at me. It was quite embarrassing and upsetting and then an older gentleman sat nearby leant over and tapped me on the shoulder. I thought he was going to have a go at me too and readied myself and then he said "I can see more of their skin on show than yours, you ignore them!" He went on to say that it reminded him of his late wife feeding all of their children and brought back so many lovely memories.

What are your thoughts? Have you ever had a bad experience? Let us know what you think.

Senior online community officer


  • pollyanna1052
    pollyanna1052 Member Posts: 2,032 Disability Gamechanger
    I think women should be allowed to feed their babies whenever possible. But if it was me, I`d try to be inconspicuous and cover up as much as possible. I wouldnt want people gawping at me and making comments.
  • April2018mom
    April2018mom Posts: 2,868 Connected
    I think women should be allowed to feed their babies whenever possible. But if it was me, I`d try to be inconspicuous and cover up as much as possible. I wouldnt want people gawping at me and making comments.
    Me too!
  • Geoark
    Geoark Member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,384 Disability Gamechanger
    I have never understood why this is an issue. I have witnessed women being asked to leave or to feed their baby in the toilet area. When the staff member finished I called her over and asked if our table could be move into the toilet area and was told no because it was unhygienic. I asked how that differed from a vulnerable baby feeding in the same area and we left.

    Those I have noticed that are breast feeding have always been discrete and at the moment there is a lot more breast to be seen walking around the streets, or more so in parks or at beaches. The fact that something so natural and in the best interest of the baby is still frowned upon just shows that we are not so civilised and liberated as we might believe ourselves to be.

    I will put my hand up and confess the first time I saw a woman breast feeding I did end up gawping, I was in my teens and found it fascinating and beautiful. Fortunately I was at a friend's house and the husband explained to me that it was not the right thing to stare and could make women uncomfortable. I did apologise but it was a lesson learnt.

    As an individual I stood alone.
    As a member of a group I did things.
    As part of a community I helped to create change!

  • forgoodnesssake
    forgoodnesssake Member Posts: 406 Pioneering
    I love the idea of asking if you can also eat in the toilet!!  I b/f both my sons (now 24 and 21) for 2 and 3 years respectively and never had any problems.  I usually wore a baggy top anyway and baby just went underneath!  I NEVER asked if it was OK but had freinds who did and actually they were the ones who ended up with more problems cos they had put an image in the head of the staff, which was probably a very graphic one!
    I am very intersted in b/feeding an CP actually cos when my second son (athetoid CP) was born he had great difficulty latching on and there was no specliast help available; I just had to battle on but I knew I could do it cos I'd fed my first son.  I have not really found much specialist advice for neuro damaged b/feeding even now (there is stuff for downs, tongue tie and the like.


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