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What are the laws in the UK re breastfeeding?

(11 Posts)
Tuschinski Tue 26-Jul-11 17:42:10

Are you legally entitled to breastfeed anywhere? Is there an age limit on the child for this? I will be traveling to the UK soon and breastfeeding my 11 month old DS. I don't expect to encounter any bad reaction but if, for example I was asked to stop in a restaurant etc, I'd like to know if the law is on my side or not.

iggagog Tue 26-Jul-11 17:47:28

If you're allowed to take a baby in there, you're allowed to feed it. (Eg you can't demand to bf in a pub that doesn't allow children in anyway, but if they have let you in with the baby, they have to let you feed it. I know some people have problems but I think the majority in the UK are absolutely fine about this. I see women bf all the time in places like Starbucks.

EauRouge Tue 26-Jul-11 18:11:39

The law that would apply in that situation is the 1975 sexual discrimination act. There's a full explanation here. You are unlikely to experience any problems though, I still feed 2.9yo DD1 in public and I've never had any problems. Enjoy your visit smile

Tuschinski Tue 26-Jul-11 19:39:59

Thanks, sounds like it's the same law as here (Ireland). I've never had so much as a funny look before in my 4 years of feeding and not expecting it now but no harm to be prepared!

organiccarrotcake Tue 26-Jul-11 21:26:30

Actually there's a more recent law - the equality act which covers England, Wales and NI. Companies are not allowed to treat you differently because you're breastfeeding (so not allowed to ask you to move elsewhere, stop you feeding, ask you to leave, etc etc). You are also protected under the indecent exposure act (BFing is specifically excluded so no one can say that you're exposing yourself).

In Scotland it's even stricter. It is a criminal offense for someone to try to stop you breastfeeding, as opposed to a civil offense to treat you differently. It's a subtle difference but in practise it's irrelevant because it's very, very rare to have a reaction here. Far more normal to get positive reactions or for people not to notice.

mrsgordonfreeman Tue 26-Jul-11 23:19:20

Breastfeed wherever and however you wish!

You are vanishingly unlikely to have problems and if you do, the law will protect you.

If someone asks you to stop in a restaurant, (and I've always wanted to do this but it's never come up), you could try calmly suggesting that they call the police whilst you call the local paper.

mrsgordonfreeman Tue 26-Jul-11 23:20:12

PS it's not a silly query, I certainly checked the laws in the US when I visited with dd last year, just so I knew what to do if I had any problems. Which I didn't!

EauRouge Wed 27-Jul-11 09:27:02

I checked laws too before I travelled to Canada! It always helps to arm yourself with information.

Organic- I think the Equalities Act only covers babies up until 6 months and then they are covered by the Sexual Discrimination Act. I did have it explained to me once, I think one would be a tribunal and one would be something else. Basically it would be easier to take someone to court under the Equalities Act. I don't know why they couldn't just make it for all children, not just up to 6 months hmm Maybe someone with legal know-how could explain it (again grin )

mrsgordonfreeman- good tip!

organiccarrotcake Wed 27-Jul-11 10:48:40

No age limit:

www.maternityaction.org.uk/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/breastfeedingpublicplace.pdf is a great summary

Tuschinski Wed 27-Jul-11 13:58:55

Thanks for the link, that makes it very clear. I had the 6month thing in my head too for some reason, glad to know it's not the case.

EauRouge Thu 28-Jul-11 10:03:04

Thanks for the link Organic, I thought there was a limit but I must have remembered it wrong.

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