Making Nottingham a breastfeeding-friendly city
Breastfeeding is part of everyday life. We can all play an important role in making it a happy, healthy experience for breastfeeding families.
Every person in the UK has a legal right to breastfeed for as long as they wish to. Exclusion and negative comments or actions of any kind are considered discrimination.
We spoke to hundreds of breastfeeding families. They told us some simple ways that members of the public could help to make breastfeeding a more enjoyable and comfortable experience for them. If a breastfeeding family feels supported and empowered, they are more likely to achieve their feeding goals.
How to support breastfeeding in your community
Give them space
Especially if you are in a crowded environment. If you’re worried that moving away might give them the wrong impression, you could ask them first. You could say: “Would you like some more space? I’m happy to move if that helps you get more comfortable.“
Lots of parents we spoke to said that a smile from a stranger is all it takes to make them feel happier and more confident about feeding in public.
Be an active bystander
Unfortunately, many people do not know that breastfeeding is protected by law. If you see or hear another person making a breastfeeding parent feel uncomfortable about feeding in public, think of ways that you could reassure the parent.
You could reassure them vocally, or make eye contact and smile. Remember that breastfeeding rights are protected by UK Law. If you feel that the parent’s legal rights are being ignored, you can call the police. If you’re in a commercial venue, you could alert a member of staff or security.
Being a breastfeeding-friendly venue
If you run or work in a commercial venue (eg. a café, restaurant, or pub), there are lots of things you can do to make breastfeeding families feel more welcome.
Check that they’re comfortable
Consider if there’s anything you can do to make a parent more comfortable while they feed their baby. Could you offer them a glass of water, or somewhere to sit down?
Sometimes it’s better to ask, rather than assume. You could ask: “Is there anything I can do to make you and your baby more comfortable while you feed?”
Be proud to be a breastfeeding-friendly venue
Use Feed Your Way materials in your workplace or venue. This helps breastfeeding families know they are welcome.
You could display Feed Your Way posters in your window or next to your till. You could also use them in your staff areas.
Why support breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding has many health benefits – for both the breastfeeding parent, and their baby.
Benefits for babies
Breastmilk is perfectly designed for babies and toddlers. The contents of breastmilk changes as a baby grows, so that it always supports their development. It also protects against many diseases and infections and lowers the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Breastfed babies are also less likely to develop obesity and cardiovascular diseases in adulthood.
Benefits for breastfeeding parents
Breastfeeding has lots of health benefits for mums too. It reduces the risks of breast and ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, weak bones (osteoporosis), obesity and cardiovascular diseases.
There’s lots of research and information about the health benefits of breastfeeding. To find out more, visit:
Benefits for businesses and the economy
Because breastfeeding has so many health benefits, breastfed babies are statistically less likely to experience illness and poor health. This means less cost for the NHS. It also often results in fewer cases of sickness/carers’ leave for working parents.
Supporting breastfeeding families in the workplace also leads to:
- Greater staff satisfaction.
- Higher staff retention.
Benefits for the whole planet
Breastfeeding is the cleanest and greenest way to feed your baby. Unlike the formula industry, breastfeeding does not:
- result in packaging going to landfill.
- produce carbon emissions.
- rely on the production of plastic bottles.
Breastfeeding & UK Law
Breastfeeding is so important to public health that it is protected by UK Law. The Equality Act 2010 protects all parents who choose to breastfeed in any public space. This includes shops, restaurants, parks & public transport.
It is illegal to ask a breastfeeding parent to move* or cover up, or to provide a lower level of service.
*except where there are safety risks, e.g. proximity to radiation or some chemicals.