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Breastfeeding in public

Sheffield is a Breastfeeding Friendly City

What is the Breastfeeding Friendly Award?

We have worked hard in Sheffield to help mums and their families to feel confident and comfortable when breastfeeding in public.

The Breastfeeding Friendly Award was developed to help you to identify public places and workplaces in the city that offer a good level of facilities and support for you when you are breastfeeding.

Who has this award?

The list of Breastfeeding Friendly venues includes leisure centres, cafes, restaurants, libraries and play areas which all support breastfeeding in Sheffield. The venues usually display a window sticker showing the Breastfeeding Friendly sign. Have a look at the interactive map to find places in each area of Sheffield.

Top Tips for Breastfeeding in Public

How do I avoid flashing my boobs?

Clothes that work:

  • Any tops that unbutton from the bottom.
  • Stretchy tops that pull up.
  • Two piece outfits if you’re going somewhere special.
  • You can now get trendy bras and tops that are made especially for breastfeeding.

Clothes that don’t work:

  • Shirts that you have to unbutton making you feel really exposed.

Keeping things under wraps

  • Jackets, shirts over a vest top and cardigans can be used as screens and will cover almost everything!
  • Scarves and baby blankets are also good at keeping things under wraps.
  • Use a sling or a pouch – they make carrying the baby easier on your back and cover most of the boob as well.
  • Practice! The more you do it, the better you get at getting baby latched on quickly. You can do this without even leaving your living room.

What if people get funny about it?

Be Strong
There’s a lot of ways you can deal with these people. The important thing is not to get stressed about it – it’s not good for you or your baby.

  • Ignore them completely – they’re not worth it.
  • Tell the manager that you are being harassed.
  • Calmly explain that it’s completely natural and the best thing for your baby.

Be Confident

  • The more you do it, the more comfortable you will feel.
  • It might be a big deal for you, but most people don’t even notice.
  • Remember why you’re doing it – for your baby! The most important thing in your life. Who cares what other people think?

Be Proud

  • Breastfeeding is an amazing achievement – be proud of it!

Time and Place

  • Try and get settled somewhere before your baby gets hungry. If they start crying they might draw more attention to you.
  • Find a spot where you won’t be disturbed. If you have to keep moving it might upset your baby’s feed.

Find a Quiet Spot

  • Seek out one of Sheffield’s Breastfeeding Friendly places. They offer facilities and support for you and your family
  • Some mums don’t mind feeding anywhere, others feel better if they can find somewhere out of the way but never resort to feeding in a public toilet!

Share your Experiences

  • Use the Breastfeeding in Sheffield Facebook page to share your experiences with other mums and to ask for their advice on breastfeeding in public. It helps to hear how other parents have coped.

What does the Law say?

The Equality Act 2010 came into force in October 2010. It says that it is sex discrimination to treat a woman unfavourably because she is breastfeeding. It applies to anyone providing services, benefits, facilities and premises to the public, public bodies, further and higher education bodies and associations.

What does this mean?

  • Service providers that deal directly with the public must not discriminate, harass or victimise a woman because she is breastfeeding.
  • Discrimination includes refusing to provide a service, providing a lower standard of service or providing a service on different terms.
  • If you are breastfeeding in a public place such as a café, park, shop, cinema etc you cannot be asked to stop or refused to be served. You are also protected on public transport such as buses, trains and planes.
  • The law protects you for as long as you wish to breastfeed your baby.
  • Further and higher education bodies must not discriminate, harass or victimise a student who is breastfeeding in terms of admission or provision of education or by excluding the student.
  • An association is a club that has rules of membership and at least 25 members. A private club with less than 25 members and no formal rules of membership is not classed as an association. Clubs where you simply pay a membership fee to join are not counted as an association but would be considered to be providing public services.
  • The Equality Act 2010 does NOT provide protection to a woman breastfeeding in a service which is a single sex service for men. The single sex service would need to be justified, for example, a charity that was set up specifically to benefit one sex or a religious organisation that may offer services to one sex in line with the doctrines of that religion. If the single sex service can be justified, it would be reasonable to object to members of the opposite sex being there.

If you are discriminated against, you should make a complaint to the organisation that has discriminated against you. Most places have a complaints procedure, if not; you should ask who to complain to.
If you cannot resolve the matter you can bring an action in the county court in England or Wales or a Sheriffs court in Scotland but you should seek advice as this can be expensive.

The first time I breastfed in public, I chose a small quiet café to break the ice. After that it was much easier and I basically felt happy to feed wherever and whenever needed. For first time mums it can be daunting, but once you have practiced at home for a while it really is straightforward and such a lovely bond time for you and your baby.

I have never had any negative experiences. I fed my daughter for a year and once I had my confidence I was happy to feed in most cafes/restaurants. I found as long as I was sensible in terms of being discreet, most people didn’t notice. I did look for places which had the breastfeeding friendly sticker and I didn’t have any problems.

The fact that Sheffield is breastfeeding friendly really makes feeding out and about so much easier and it makes you feel more confident.