Sarah and Amy were asked to comment by The Evening Standard on the mother’s breastfeeding in public. Here’s what they had to say.
Letters to the editor: Breastfeeding in public does not just benefit mothers and babies but our society
Not only do mothers have the legal right to breastfeed in public but as explained in The Equality Act 2010, businesses have a legal obligation to ensure they tackle discrimination on their premises whether that’s from their staff or other customers. The purpose of the Act was ‘to give women complete confidence to breastfeed while going about their day-to-day business.’
We believe it is a woman’s right to choose how they feed their baby, whether that’s in public or private, at the breast or with a bottle; parents have an important job to do and must be supported. Babies who have a strong attachment to their mothers are more likely to grow into happy and healthy children, adolescents and adults and ultimately this results in better society for everyone.
Every day you breastfeed is a massive achievement and for most women breastfeeding is a big challenge, though a very rewarding one. It is demanding both in the time it takes and the levels of energy it uses. Restaurants have a responsibility to make breastfeeding mums welcome and comfortable. You cannot feel relaxed if you feel judged and have to put up with unhelpful looks or comments from members of staff or other customers.
Breastfeeding in public can be a very liberating experience – it’s what breasts are for after all! It is also practical. Babies are driven by an inner clock that demands food and cannot wait – they will scream, suck their fingers and work themselves up into a frenzy when they get hungry. New born babies feed every 2-3 hours and feeding takes time, so it is common sense for mums to take the opportunity to get a drink and something to eat – when else will they get the chance!
Sarah Beeson MBE Health Visitor and author and Amy Beeson author
Over four decades as a nurse and a health visitor Sarah Beeson’s career has been shaped by the needs of children. Since her earliest days on the wards of Hackney Hospital she has stood up for her patients as shown in The New Arrival her heartwarming true story of training to be a nurse in 1970s London.
Sarah firmly believes that this generation of parents is the best there has ever been. Her new parenting book Happy Baby, Happy Family: Learning to trust yourself and enjoy your baby is the culmination of a life time’s experience watching, listening and being part of thousands of families’ journeys and will be published by HarperCollins in Spring 2015. She regularly answers questions from parents in her blog #AskSarah @NewArrivalBook
What have your experiences been like of feeding your baby in public?
We’d love you to share your tips for feeding your baby when out and about and who has been your biggest support as a mum?