Breastfeeding in public
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.
It is your legal right to breastfeed your child in public, for as long as you wish to do so, but if you need extra reassurance when breastfeeding in the early days then look out for the Breastfeeding Friendly Venues. These places know that you have a legal right to breastfeed anywhere but wish to create an environment that makes you feel welcomed and supported.
The Equality Act 2010
This Act states 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.
If you are breastfeeding in a public place such as a café, park, shop, cinema,, on a bus 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.
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 list of Breastfeeding Friendly Venues to find places in each area of Sheffield.
Would you like your venue to be Breastfeeding Friendly?
Have a look at the Breastfeeding Friendly checklist to see whether your venue would be eligible for the Breastfeeding Friendly Award.
We would be happy to consider any business, community venue or service for the award, if it is somewhere that could be used by breastfeeding mums. If you are unsure what is involved, or would like to discuss it further, please contact us at Breastfeeding in Sheffield.
Top Tips for Breastfeeding in Public
How do I avoid flashing my boobs?
Clothes that work:
- Tops that unbutton from the bottom as they can be worn over vest tops
- Stretchy tops, vests or cropped tops – can be layered up and pulled up or down.
- You can buy clothes especially for breastfeeding but it isn’t always necessary. Have a look at the ‘Can I breastfeed in it?’ website for ideas and inspiration
- Jackets, shirts over a vest top and cardigans can be used as screens and will cover almost everything!
- Scarves 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. Contact one of Sheffield’s sling groups for advice on sling carrying and read our information on sling wearing, in the section ‘Keeping your baby Close’
Clothes that don’t work:
- Shirts you have to unbutton from the top – make you feel really exposed.
- 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.
- Use your local breastfeeding support group to practice in front of other people.
- Use your local Breastfeeding in Sheffield – Support Groups Feb-Mar 2022 to meet other mums. You can share advice and support each other.
- 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?
- Breastfeeding is an amazing achievement – be proud of it!
- Share your experiences with other mums on the Breastfeeding in Sheffield Facebook page. It helps to hear how other parents have coped.
Time and Place
- Take a friend with you in the early days, until you feel more confident.
- Try and get settled somewhere before your baby gets hungry.
- 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!
The Equality Act in more detail
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 T
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.