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New calls to change law for feeding in public

Following the changes to Scottish law, there are renewed calls to pass a law protecting the rights of women breastfeeding in public

Posted: 17 May 2006
by Laura Lee Davies

With National Breastfeeding Awareness Week as a platform, the National Childbirth Trust and other breastfeeding support bodies are calling for a change to law in England and Wales, to make it illegal to prevent a woman from breastfeeding her baby in public.

A similar law was passed in Scotland last year as part of the drive to encourage more women to breastfeed generally. Asking a woman to stop feeding in a public place (including restaurants and other such premises) is now liable to a £2500 fine, north of the border.

Whilst there have been changed perceptions over the years, and now many more people find it acceptable to see a woman breastfeeding in public, mothers do sometimes still complain of being asked to leave places, being told off or simply feeling as if they are being disapproved of when they feed their child outside their home.

Other bodies, however, feel that it should not be left to law to decide these things but simply be a case of common practice, sense and improving breastfeeding awareness generally.

Let us know what you think! Join the forum thread below.

For more information on the work of the National Childbirth Trust, visit www.nct.org.uk.

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law, public, breast, England, Scotland, milk, Wales, feed

Discuss this story

Do you think there should be a law to protect women who want to breastfeed in public? Do you just get on with it anyway? Or do you think it's only fair to be more discreet.

Posted: 16/05/2006 at 16:14

I think it should be a womans choice wether she breast feeds in public.

Personally my boobs are going that southern i wouldnt be confident enough to lob one out in the middle of the city centre, and i think some discretion should be advised. However we have a lovely park with a lake near us and in the summer its full of mums with their families and they breastfeed. I cant believe in this day and age there is still a stigmatism attached to boobs.

I have seen people walking around in the city centre that leave very little to the imagination but people respect their wishes to dress that way.

We quite happily tuck into a sandwich when we are hungry regardless of the surroundings, so why shouldnt we feed our children when they are?

also, if a quick half hour feed will stop a baby screaming on a bus for the entire journey, i am sure the general public would say amen to that.

It also makes me laugh when people say its disgusting to watch, but then they go on to stare away all the way through it!

Having a large bust anyway, i am used to people talking to my boobs, so at least if i am breastfeeding i can pretend they are looking at the baby!


Kathy 20+3

Posted: 22/05/2006 at 14:51

I really want to breastfeed my baby which is due any day now (hopefully!!!) but I am very worried about it. I just don't think I'm going to feel very confident about it, mainly due to people's attitudes, but also because I am quite self-conscious anyway. I just wondered if anyone had any tips for getting over this, or does it tend to happen naturally? Any advice would be useful.



Posted: 23/05/2006 at 12:40

I think its terrible that there should be any stigma attached to it. Feeding your child this way is the most natural thing in the world, and it isolates new mums if they feel they can not go out just in case their baby needs feeding. Lets face it when the babies feeding less of your bust is visable than when wearing a bikini and i dont hear people complaining about them!!I had a lot of problems with my birth and ended up quite poorly and thus breast feeding never worked for me and Georgina, i was really upset about it, but i would hate to think of someone giving it up because of a social stigma, your parental right to feed should be protected by law!

Posted: 24/05/2006 at 17:45

I definately think that the right to breastfeed in public should be protected.
I have breastfed 4 children over the last 15 years and have always fed in public as when my eldest was born facilities were very poor, I was not going to sit in a public toilet to feed my baby even if they did provide a chair!
I have always enjoyed feeding my babies over a coffee (decaff!) with friends and have always managed to be discreet, few realise what I'm doing and I have never had any negetive comments.
My opinion is everyone should be free to do what they are comfortable with, and if you don't want to feed in public facilities are much better than they used to be.

Posted: 25/05/2006 at 19:14

Talkback: New calls to change law for feeding in public

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