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What should cafe/restaurant staff be know about BF?

(67 Posts)
LostMyPants Thu 08-May-14 06:47:23

Following on from this:

What would it be useful for restaurants and cafes to tell their staff about breastfeeding?

I was thinking:
1. BFing is welcome in our establishment
2. Sometimes BFing takes a long time
3. BFing mothers may be quite thirsty
4. Some mothers prefer more privacy when BFing

Is there anything else?

LostMyPants Thu 08-May-14 06:47:41

Coulsonlives Thu 08-May-14 06:48:27

The law?

Wishfulmakeupping Thu 08-May-14 06:54:04

Table service would be great when bf asking if they would like another drink bringing over.
Bf aside also when cafés see mums struggling with baby and ordering etc do offer to bring it over to the table please ( I always ask anyway but it would be really appreciated if it were offered).

deepinthewoods Thu 08-May-14 07:02:14

Why do you ask OP?

I agree with coulsonlives- as long as they know a woman's rights nothing else matters.

Some breastfeeding woman don't want any special treatment- they just want to get on with a normal activity and no be identified as having special needs.

I would be particularly careful with #4, fine if a woman asks for privacy ( although an establishment are under no obligation to provide it), but I don't think staff should offer it. It may be misinterpreted as trying to shunt a woman off into a corner or back room.

LostMyPants Thu 08-May-14 07:19:32

The law is pretty much "babies can breastfeed anywhere children and women are allowed". I'm talking about those extra things that it would be useful for staff to know.

A young staff member was once slightly baffled when I asked if he could get me over a drink of water. He didn't realise that i couldn't just get up to fetch it myself, or that I might be sat there quite a while.

I was considering writing to some local businesses to provide them with some information.

MissRatty Thu 08-May-14 07:27:14

There's a cafe near us (ok it's a family cafe, but still good practice) who have a water fountain, baskets for bf mums with a bf pillow, spare bib, muslin, glass to fill up at the fountain, bf cover if they want it etc. and they also have a stash of spare clothes, wipes and nappies in case any LO's have an accident. This is gold in my opinion! A free flapjack would be goo, but they have to make their money :-)

KatieKaye Thu 08-May-14 07:28:57

Agree that they need to be aware of the law. And be polite and helpful.

Not sure why you cannot move while you are breastfeeding, but most mothers can. What do you do when you are at home and there is nobody to bring you a drink? If you know you are going to be thirsty while BF, I'd ask for a drink at the start, rather than expecting staff to be aware of this.
Not sure what use it would be telling staff that some BF mothers prefer more privacy if there are not specific facilities available to accommodate this. Also, it doesn't quite tie in with your previous point about wanting staff to bring you glasses of water, as surely that would involved a conversation with staff while BF?
I'm not sure what you are wanting to achieve with this idea of writing to local businesses.

Artandco Thu 08-May-14 07:32:24

The first two I understand . The second are surely up to you to sort out. If you get thirsty order a drink plus bottle of water beforehand. Choose a cafe/ space that offers a degree of privacy if you want it

deepinthewoods Thu 08-May-14 07:36:04

TBH I think there is a danger of overcomplicating things.

We need to keep the message simple -women can breastfeed anywhere they have a right to be.

Talking about privacy, glasses of water etc is just confusing the issue and likely to backfire.

A breastfeeding woman does not lose the power of her legs- if she is thirsty she can stand up and walk over to ask for a drink.

zoemaguire Thu 08-May-14 07:36:51

I don't want special treatment while bf, I'd prefer to be left alone. If I know I'll get thirsty I'll get a glass of water myself first. I actually think writing to businesses is a bad idea. We aren't a special interest group that need cosseting. I want businesses to know the law, that is all!

LostMyPants Thu 08-May-14 07:37:35

I'm 28months into breastfeeding and i could count on one hand the number of times I've walked around while feeding.

Clearly all of my suggestions need more clarification! I wanted staff to know that it was reasonable for a woman to ask for some water to be brought over. Or for a booth. Clearly a booth can only be provided if it's available, but either of these requests could come from breastfeeding women in order to make it easier for them to feed their baby.

deepinthewoods Thu 08-May-14 07:43:25

"I wanted staff to know that it was reasonable for a woman to ask for some water to be brought over. Or for a booth."

Is it though?

beccajoh Thu 08-May-14 07:45:03

I think 3 and 4 are unnecessary. As PP said if you BF out and about you'd probably have all that sorted out any way. I don't think BF mothers require any special treatment other than being allowed to get on with feeding their baby. I certainly didn't make a song and dance about it when I fed my daughter. Ordered my drink/food/etc, asked if they could bring it over to the table, boob out (without over-exposure obvs wink), baby feeding.

highlove Thu 08-May-14 07:45:24

I'm with others - I don't want special treatment and I don't think we should ask for it. Businesses just need to know the law. If I need water, I'll get it!

usuallysuspect Thu 08-May-14 07:47:35

I work in a cafe. I know the law. BF mothers are left to BF however they like. Without any interference from me.

I don't think I need any more rules on how to treat a BF mother.

KatieKaye Thu 08-May-14 07:47:52

I think you are confusing what is reasonable with your own preference not to move from a seated position while bf or to take reasonable foresight and ask for water while you are being served.
Also, it is reasonable for any customer to request a booth. However, if the booths seat 4, and it is a busy time it would be very unreasonable to expect to sit in a booth by yourself .
Tbh I think your ideas aren't thought through, are personal to you and that you aren't in a position to offer businesses advice , however well meaning.

gotnotimeforthat Thu 08-May-14 07:52:25


Do you happen to know if there is a place like that in the Bristol area?

I don't care about the BF baskets but a place to feed DS without being stared at would be nice. I felt like a right fumbling idiot the other day in Pizza Hut while everybody full on watched me try to feed DS.

deepinthewoods Thu 08-May-14 07:55:15

Why not get involved at a political level and lobby your MP to introduce a private member's bill to allow babies to be fed in public- much like we have in Scotland.

Although laws exist in England they are pretty toothless, there have been murmers in the past few years to make a new criminal law, not sure of any progress. You could do some research and lend your support to any MP considering such a thing. Would help a lot more mothers in the long run.

LostMyPants Thu 08-May-14 07:56:02

Katie that's why I'm asking on here - I'm aware that I'm only one individual and not representative.

I tried to find out what the 'Breastfeeding Welcome' scheme requires of businesses but it's not very clear on their website.

LostMyPants Thu 08-May-14 08:07:35

Okay, this is from Breastfeeding Welcome Wiltshire:
You can easily adapt any existing staff training or induction programme concerning customer service to include the needs and rights of breastfeeding mothers. There are simple ways your staff can support breastfeeding mothers, including: If they feel a mother would like it:
• Stop for a brief chat to make it clear that mothers are welcome to breastfeed
• Offer a chair, if one is available
• Ask if they would like any help
• Explain that you can make a private place available if she’d like, if possible
• Offer her a glass of water if you can
• If you work in a venue that serves food and drink, offer to bring her drink/food over to her, or go to her and take her order once she has settled her baby

WhosLookingAfterCourtney Thu 08-May-14 08:15:12

Just leave them alone unless they ask for something ... like you would other customers.

It's really not a big deal.

HorraceTheOtter Thu 08-May-14 08:16:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

deepinthewoods Thu 08-May-14 08:19:03

Sorry - I would hate all that fuss, i would avoid such an establishment.

Also how does point one work:

• Stop for a brief chat to make it clear that mothers are welcome to breastfeed

Does that happen before a woman starts to breastfeed- in which case how would a member of staff know which woman are bfs and which ffs- or after a woman gets her baby latched on- in which case it may be embarrassing having a member of staff reminding her of her rights.

I also think
• Explain that you can make a private place available if she’d like, if possible

This is quite undermining. Potentially implicit in this question is the idea that a woman should be feeding in private, not in public. Again is a woman approached while a baby is comfortably latched on with the suggestion that she may like a room?

In scotland this could potentially get a proprieter into trouble.

I'm sorry I don't like the whole idea. It makrs out a breastfeeding mother as different and special which she isn't.

If we want to normalise public breastfeeding then schemes that highligh, identify or give special dispensation for breastfeeding women are at best unhelpful.

Most breastfeeding women just want to be ignored and left in peace to feed their baby, not fussed overm reminded of their rights or offered a special room.

deepinthewoods Thu 08-May-14 08:24:47

Breastfeeding baskets?

Handing out muslins, bibs and pillows sounds very unhygienic, and I particularly dislike the idea of giving a mother a breastfeeding cover.

Most women need none of that stuff.

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