October marks a historic victory for NCT as, after many years of campaigning, mothers who breastfeed in public places now have the protection of the law.
The Equality Act, passed by Parliament in April 2010, comes into force this month, making this protection a reality and giving mums the freedom to breastfeed when away from home.
Under the new law, mums cannot be discriminated against, asked to leave a venue or treated unfavourably because they are breastfeeding when out and about in England and Wales. Support from local services can also give mums the confidence to breastfeed wherever they are, creating an example for younger people.
Rosie Dodds, Senior Public Policy Officer, NCT, said: “This is a huge win for the charity and we are very pleased. Years of hard work and determined campaigning have paid off, and now mums who want to breastfeed in cafés, shopping centres, swimming pools or other public venues will be free to do so, without any bother or fear of harassment.
“It is important that women know they have this right, and the charity is calling on leisure centres, councils and other venues to do all they can to welcome breastfeeding mums.
“Many congratulations to all those involved in developing evidence and campaigning on behalf of mothers for this right at a local and national level over the years."
From training breastfeeding counsellors to running courses for expectant and new mums to peer support schemes across the UK, working with and for breastfeeding mothers is an important part of the charity’s history.
To support mums, NCT runs local breastfeeding sessions. NCT breastfeeding counsellors are available seven days a week to answer questions and provide support. NCT Breastfeeding Line on 0300 330 0771 is open every day, 8am – 10pm.