We’ve all seen the news stories about mothers being told to move away from wherever they happen to be breastfeeding their babies, and I am sure we’ll see them again, but these stories always surprise me, and I want to clear something up about breastfeeding….
It’s none of your business. I mean this in the nicest possible way because it’s also none of my business. It’s none of your business how a woman decides to feed her baby to start with. It’s none of your business if that is in public. It’s none of your business if that child is being fed at home, cafe, the park, the moon… As long as he or she is actually being fed, it is just none of your business. If you happen to run a business, own a business or work for a business this also includes you, it is none of your business.
A mother feeding her child is doing just that, trust me I’ve been there. There’s hardly enough time to realise where you are sitting, who is around you and what they may be thinking, because breastfeeding is not always easy. For a lot of people, it can be really tough.
Some companies have been under the spotlight in recent years for not ‘allowing’ mothers to breastfeed. Most, if not all of them, reply to complaints with “we welcome breastfeeding”, “we allow breastfeeding”, “we have a breastfeeding friendly policy”, and so on.
But they are missing the point completely, it is actually against the law to stop a mother breastfeeding her child. It states this in the equality act 2010, so it isn’t in their gift to allow or disallow in the first place. Policies welcoming, not welcoming, allowing, not allowing, for or against breastfeeding, it is all irrelevant.
Let’s stop looking for companies to ‘allow’ breastfeeding. That’s like saying ‘we promise to pay our staff wages for the time they have worked’ or ‘we won’t discriminate against people for their race, religion, sexuality and so on.’ It is the law, not a business decision.
Here’s a policy for you. “It is none of our business where a mother feeds her child and how, but what is our business is to train our staff to abide by the law. So we have.”
So Mothers be confident in the knowledge that you can feed your babies pretty much anywhere, as long as it is safe to do so, be happy in the knowledge that if someone approaches you to question it they are in the wrong, and actually breaking the law, and be proud of yourself for doing a wonderful thing for your beautiful baby.
And everyone else… Be safe in the knowledge that this is one less thing for you to worry about because, well, it’s none of your business…
For more information visit the Maternity Action website here- Maternity Action