Know your rights. You shouldn’t ever be made to feel uncomfortable about breastfeeding in public. In fact, the Equality Act 2010 has made it illegal for anyone to ask a breastfeeding woman to leave a public place such as a cafe, shop or public transport in the UK and this is the same in the USA and many European countries. In Scotland, there is additional protection and it is a criminal offence to try to stop or to prevent a woman from feeding a child under two in any place in which the public has access and in which a child under two is entitled to be.
It’s much quicker and easier to breastfeed your hungry baby than to try and soothe them and let them cry. Most strangers don’t notice breastfeeding mums so try not to worry about strangers. Everyone was a baby once!
Sometimes mums get so anxious about breastfeeding in public that they make sure their baby is fed before they leave the house, then they make sure they’re home in time for the baby’s next feed.
This makes life really restrictive for you and it doesn’t have to be like this. There are lots of baby friendly places around if you know where to look.
One of the many pros of breastfeeding is that you can do it anywhere, anytime, and that’s very liberating. You don’t have to sterilize bottles or makeup feeds.
The trick is to know the nice places to go to do it, and also how to be discrete (if you want to be!). When you are breastfeeding, you’ll be showing less skin than many people without babies do! As you get more confident, the initial latching on will get quicker and easier.
Our Breastfeeding in Public blog will give you lots of tips on how to feed discretely when you’re out and about. Our online breastfeeding course (see details at the end of this article) will let you learn all these skills by watching and copying.
Top Tip 1
Ask local parents that you meet in the park or local coffee morning for breastfeeding friendly places and meet there.
Top Tip 2
Ask at your local Children’s Centre in the UK.
Top Tip 3
Big cafe chains tend to be good.
Parks and garden cafes are usually very friendly.
Big shopping centres and department stores usually have a breastfeeding room if you ask.
Top Tip 4 – Helpful websites and apps
The NCT website has a list of breastfeeding friendly places in some, but not all locations, for example, for Bristol.
A few Mummy blogs have complied good lists too e.g., with a great list of breastfeeding friendly places in London.
There’s an excellent website called Breastfeeding Welcome that has a really comprehensive list of places up and down the UK, just click on your city and it will make suggestions.
Top Tip 5 – Look for a Breastfeeding Welcome sign
Lots of places like hospitals, libraries and public buildings (and some cafes) put up a ‘Breastfeeding Welcome’ sign to let you know it’s a breastfeeding-friendly place.
And Finally – leave a review!
Please leave your top tip for a breastfeeding friendly place in your area in our comments section, we’ll add them all to the blog and make our own site for recommendations.