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Sunday, 2 August 2015

Positive About Breastfeeding - Out and About

Keep Britain Breastfeeding Logo

Thanks for hopping over from Visit from the Stork and welcome to my post for the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt Day 2 - Positive Public Feeding; we have over £700 worth of breastfeeding and baby goodies up for grabs, including prizes from Snoob; with a breastfeeding scarf, a goodie bag from Forever Patricia; and a breastfeeding necklace from Booby and the Bead
Full details of the Grand Prize can be found here; and all entries to be completed via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.
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I have never had a negative experience breastfeeding in public. Yet, I have a number of friends who have experienced being told to leave premises, asked to feed in the toilets, and subjected to nasty comments and looks just because they are exercising their right, by law, to feed their babies when out and about. It's ridiculous, in this day and age, that this is still happening. Breastfeeding mothers are protected by the law! A friend recently told me that she was nervous about feeding in public - very early on she had had to stop breastfeeding her first baby, firstly expressing and then moving onto formula, so she had no experience of breastfeeding outside of her house. Fortunately for her, her first public feed was uneventful. I'm so glad, because that gave her the confidence to do it again and again. Since then, she has experienced judgemental stares, and people getting up to move their children away from her. And her baby is only 5 weeks old! Seriously! There is something incredibly wrong with a society that thinks it's acceptable to plaster sexually charged images of women showing their breasts - low cut tops, naked, etc. - everywhere for advertising the most unrelated products, and yet vilifies women who are feeding their children as nature intended.

Folks, it doesn't matter how much breast a lady is showing when breastfeeding her baby, you have no right at all to comment negatively, or treat her abusively, or post a photo of her on social media with nasty comments attached, or tell her to go elsewhere.

UK Ladies, you are protected by the Equality Act 2010: "The Equality Act 2010 has specifically clarified that it is unlawful for a business to discriminate against a woman because she is breastfeeding a child... you will be responsible if other customers’ behaviour has been brought to your attention and you failed to act.You have an obligation to ensure that a woman who is breastfeeding while receiving a service you provide is not treated unfairly. The Equality Act 2010 aims to give women complete confidence to breastfeed while going about their day-to-day business. Businesses must facilitate this." However, it is your responsibility to complain to the organisation, and then to pursue action in a county court if the complaint is not successful.

In Scotland, breastfeeding is protected even more. It is a criminal offence to stop a woman from feeding her baby in public: "In Scotland a person has a right to breastfeed or bottle feed a child under two 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. Anyone who tries to stop or prevent a person feeding milk to a child under the age of two can be prosecuted and can face a claim under the Equality Act." (Breastfeeding in Public)

Neither goes far enough, in my opinion. Children over the age of 2 should be protected too, for a start. And it's about time the rest of the UK caught up with Scotland. Those who discriminate against breastfeeding mothers should be prosecuted and businesses should be fined. And it should be made very clear for everyone out there that it's not a matter of  opinion - breastfeeding in public is permitted and it is right. Why should women be afraid to leave their houses?

So, yes, the negative experiences are real, though you may be as fortunate as I have been and only have positive encounters and uneventful breastfeeds when out and about. But if you arm yourself with the knowledge of the laws that protect you, and put a 'just try me' look on your face, you can go out, happily knowing that if anyone does have a go, you'll be forearmed and forewarned. And you'll have the full force of the world's breastfeeding mums behind you.

Now enter the competition, using the Rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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For more positive experiences of feeding in public, please do hop over to Adventures of a Novice Mum. You'll get more chances to enter the grand prize draw. Remember you need to earn 50 points to be eligible; full details can be found on the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Site. UK Residents only.

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