Breastfeeding Out & About
Breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed a baby. The Department of Health recommends that babies are exclusively breastfed until six months of age and continue to be breastfed beyond six months, alongside supplementary foods.
The Equality Act 2010 has made it illegal for anyone to ask a breastfeeding woman to leave a public place such as a café, shop or public transport.
Mothers often report that they give up breastfeeding earlier than they wanted to. One of the reasons for this is because it is difficult to breastfeed when out & about.
The Trust’s Bedfordshire Community Health Services and the Local Authorities support initiatives to enable mothers to be confident to breastfeed their babies when out and about.
Breastfeeding Welcome Award
The award encourages food outlets in Bedfordshire to welcome breastfeeding mothers with their babies and family.The award is given to establishments who understand the importance of breastfeeding to mothers and babies. They have committed to welcoming mothers and babies who breastfeed, offering privacy to feed if necessary. Once the award is achieved a sticker is displayed to identify premises as one which welcomes breastfeeding families.
This is a joint initiative between EPUT Community Health Service Bedfordshire, Bedford Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire Council. The Local Authorities’ Environmental Health Teams are responsible for inspecting premises and encouraging other food outlets to achieve the award. Please click on the pdf on this page to find venues within Bedfordshire who have achieved the Breastfeeding Welcome Award.
Tips for breastfeeding in public
You shouldn’t ever be made to feel uncomfortable about breastfeeding in public. Breastfeeding your baby is something to be proud of, and you shouldn’t feel the need to hide away or be discreet. However, if being discreet is important to you, you might want to think about the following:
- Some mothers have shared that before they breastfeed in public for the first time, they practise in front of a mirror to find out exactly what can be seen. This gives them reassurance.
- Breastfeeding at a Baby Brasserie can help you to feel more confident as you can practise in a supportive environment and share tips with other breastfeeding mums.
- Look out for venues displaying the Breastfeeding Welcome Sticker
- It’s useful to think about the clothes you wear. Some mothers choose to buy special breastfeeding tops, but wearing a simple strappy vest top as a bottom layer is also a good option. When your baby is ready to feed, stretch the vest top underneath your breast, and lift up your top layer. This means that all your tummy and back are covered by the vest top, and the top of your breast is covered by the top layer. Once the baby is attached, there is nothing to see!
- Some mothers find using a muslin or scarf as an additional cover helps them to feel more secure. Mothers also find they can feed their babies while holding them in a sling.
- Being aware of your baby’s feeding cues can help you to start to feed your baby before they cry, meaning that less people will notice what you are doing.
- Remember – people are more likely to notice a baby that is crying than a baby being breastfed!