Breast Feeding in Public
Many women are concerned about how they will manage to breast feed their baby in public as they are aware that sometimes the public can be a little intolerable of a breast feeding mother, they feel embarrassed exposing their breast in public or because they are unsure of the rules of breast feeding in public.
The LawMany women are surprised to learn that there are laws in England regarding the issue of breast feeding in public and though we may not all agree with them, they do continue to exist.
Current laws for the right to breast feed in public are fairly complicated. While Scotland has passed a law allowing women to breast feed babies up to the age of two in public, England has a far more limited opinion. Health professionals and some government ministers are trying to introduce a similar law in England and hope to pass it as official very soon. Currently women can be asked to leave or charged with indecent exposure if they breast feed their child in restaurants, bars or other public places.
How to Minimise Exposure of your BreastThere are several ways of minimising the exposure of your breast (if this is your concern) when breast feeding and it mostly lies in the type of clothing you select.
There are many bras available that can assist breast feeding mothers and are comprised of ‘drop-down’ cups that can be unattached from the beginning of the strap to permit easy access to the breast and nipple. Couple this with a front fastening style of top, or one that can be pulled up easily, and the act can be carried out with relatively no exposure at all. Once the baby has latched on the area can be covered as long as there is enough room for the baby to have access to fresh air.
There are also ranges of specialist clothing available which involve the top having a discreet pleat or split in it that isn’t noticeable until the baby wants feeding, upon which the nipple can be offered through the slit easily and without embarrassment.It can help to practise at home to make sure you are keeping exposure to a minimum.
If you are really concerned about breast feeding in public and really don’t want to do it, do not let this stop you from breast feeding entirely. It is very possible to continue giving your baby breast milk, even when you are out without having to bare your breast. Breast milk can be easily expressed into a bottle with a teat and given to the baby by this method.
The milk can either be expressed by hand using a technique your midwife or health visitor can show you, or can be expressed with the aid of a special machine.
If you want to continue to breast feed your baby at home and they are very young, the difference between a nipple and a teat is very different and may confuse your baby so this practice may be more suited to older babies or those who are going to be fed by bottle at the time.
There is no doubt that breast milk is best for both mother and child and that health professionals encourage all new mothers to establish breast feeding for the first months or years of a child’s life. There is also however some degree of controversy regarding the subject of breast feeding in public which continue to be addressed by the government.