Ask any group of people about the topic of breastfeeding in public, and you may get a wide spectrum of responses. Some people see absolutely no issue with it whatsoever, whilst others find it uncomfortable and believe it should only happen in private. Fortunately, such opponents are a small minority, but there have been enough murmurings to bring public breastfeeding into the spotlight a number of times over the past few years.

But why the issue? There’s no denying that breastfeeding is one of the purist and most natural activities between mother and child. It’s not only healthier for the baby to ensure that they are fed with natural milk when required, but it’s also a form of bonding which brings any mother and her baby even closer together.

What does the law say?

The UK law on breast feeding is clear. After the Equality Act started in 2010, it’s now considered a form of sex discrimination to negatively act towards a woman who is breastfeeding in public. No businesses or individuals can treat a woman differently because of it, whether that’s by harassing them or refusing service which would usually be available to everyone else. The same law applies to outdoor public places as well, such as parks.

Whilst this does not eradicate the unfavourable opinions of the minority of people out there, it should give any mother more confidence to breastfeed in public with the law completely on their side. Always remember that, if anyone bothers you about it, then they are acting illegally and can be reported to police!

Celebrities fighting the cause

Many celebs and noted figures have spoke up in support of breastfeeding in public. One such person is Alyssa Milano and her Instagram journey for breastfeeding. Alyssa has posted many photographs to her Instagram followers where she’s breastfeeding her child to highlight that it’s a natural activity which should be encouraged and respected.

 

#tbt 2014 Wonder Woman! #normalizebreastfeeding

A photo posted by Alyssa Milano (@milano_alyssa) on

Tips to help with breastfeeding in public

Many new mothers feel anxious about breastfeeding in a public place. This might not always be due to the opinions of others, but simply because they’re exposing a body part in public which they’re not used to exposing.

However, after the first few occasions, it often becomes much easier and less daunting. It can be particularly helpful if you begin around people you feel comfortable with, such as with friends who also breastfeed their own children. Local breastfeeding groups are also available across the country and can be very helpful when getting used to breastfeeding around other people for the first time.

There are also many accessories which can make it easier and more discreet. For example, this breastfeeding maternity pillow can be used in a variety of ways to make feeding comfortable with a more natural position.

Another essential is a nursing bra. This provides improved support to the breasts with easily detachable strap clasps, so exposing the breast and setting it in a comfortable position becomes much easier.

If you prefer extra privacy, then a breastfeeding cover is a sound investment, as it completely covers the area for maximum discreetness. Even if you feel confident and wish to enact your right to openly breastfeed in public, it can still be a handy accessory for situations where you or your baby may feel more comfortable by using it.

If there’s a situation where direct breastfeeding simply isn’t feasible, or where you don’t feel comfortable enough, then there’s the electric breast pump, which allows you to collect milk which can be fed to your baby at any time. Modern pumps like the one above are highly advanced, with discreet, quick and comfortable operation.

By trying out these tips and accessories, and remembering the law, public breastfeeding should be a whole lot easier.