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Health Matters: Being OK with Breastfeeding

Health Matters: Being OK with Breastfeeding
06 August 2019






Dr Lesley Bayliss, clinical champion for children at NHS Eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group

Being OK with breastfeeding

I think it is very well known, whether you’re a parent or not, that mums are advised to breastfeed their babies if at all possible. The health benefits of breastfeeding include better immunity for the baby to lowering the risks of some cancers and obesity for mum.

However, for some women, especially new mums, breastfeeding in public can be quite intimidating so I’d like to ask that we all be supportive and help mums to feel comfortable with this most natural of things.

Nearly three quarters of all new mums start off by breastfeeding their baby which means there will be lots of women who will need to breastfeed their baby in a public place. Mums can often be worried about other people’s reactions but, in fact, the law protects women who are breastfeeding and they are legally allowed to breastfeed in public, whether that is a café, shop, library or on public transport (basically any business that provides a service to the public).

There are lots of great, breastfeeding-friendly businesses in this area and there may even be a ‘breastfeeding welcome’ sticker in the window. Some places will also have a quiet corner or area where women can breastfeed (and not just the public toilet) but many women will find where they are comfortable and will be discreet. If you own a local business, perhaps you could consider providing an area and displaying a prominent sign so mums and other customers know that they are in a breastfeeding friendly place. You could also consider including information in staff training sessions on how to respond positively if a mum asks about breastfeeding.  

 There is lots of great information about breastfeeding available on the NHS website including information and support – both for mums but also for friends, family and employers who can all do their bit to make breastfeeding something that we all support and encourage. There are lots of local groups supporting breastfeeding mums – look at to find what’s available nearby.


Looking after babies and young children can be a challenge at the best of times so let’s do all we can to support parents and carers in our businesses and communities.