Public breastfeeding in Kent

by Lauren Abbott

Young babies can cry at any time of the day or night – very often when you are out and about.

If they’re breastfed this can mean plucking up the courage to attempt feeding in a public place.

The 2010 Equality Act makes it unlawful to discriminate against a breastfeeding woman.

Breast-feeding in public
Breast-feeding in public

But despite the legislation, a recent survey suggested requests for mums to cover up or move on do still take place with some parents saying they had been asked to feed their baby in the toilet, move to a corner or on some occasions stop altogether.

According to the last Infant Feeding Survey, completed in 2010, while 81 per cent of UK women began breastfeeding by the time their babies were one week old less than half were exclusively breastfeeding and in six weeks less than a quarter were exclusively breastfeeding.

Yet three in five women questioned said they would liked to have breastfed for longer.

Alison Baum, from the charity Best Beginnings, said: "Breastfeeding has many health benefits, and breastfeeding in public is now enshrined in law.

“It's very important that women know it's their legal right to breastfeed their baby wherever they are, and for the owners of cafes, restaurants and other places to understand their responsibility as well.”

Research indicates that breastfeeding has many health benefits for both mothers and babies including less gut and respiratory infections and fewer hospital admissions for infants while mums are thought to have a reduced risk of some cancers.

Breast is best - but some people still object
Breast is best - but some people still object

And while the phase ‘breastfeeding in public’ sounds quite exposing in reality mums are able to be extremely discreet says Best Beginnings. Wearing a maternity bra and baggy top are two things mothers can do to help them find feeding in public easier.

Alison Baum added: "There's a huge public health benefit to have more babies breastfeeding, and there's huge personal benefit for women who want to breastfeed to feel confident and comfortable to breastfeed wherever they are. It's incredibly important to get the message out there that women can breastfeed where they want, and they should just go for it."

What are your experiences of breastfeeding in Kent? Let us know below.

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