NCT has a special reason to celebrate this year’s National Breastfeeding Week. Taking place from 21-27 June, it falls just weeks after the passing of a new law, protecting mums who wish to breastfeed when in public.
Under the new Equality Act, passed in April 2010, mums cannot be discriminated against, asked to leave a venue or treated unfavourably because they are breastfeeding when out and about in England and Wales¹. The Act will come into effect in the Autumn.
Local NCT branches will be holding picnics, tea parties and drop-ins to welcome in the new law. 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.
NCT, the UK’s largest parenting charity, has campaigned for this right for many years, so that mums are free to breastfeed when away from home. Rosie Dodds, Senior Public Policy Officer, NCT, said: “It is fantastic that mums have the right to breastfeed when they’re out without worrying. It’s also important that women know they have this right.
“Surveys have shown that two in three breastfeeding mums have faced unsupportive comments or behaviour - so this new law protecting a mother’s right to breastfeed in public is a real boost.”
The charity is also calling on shops, cafes, leisure centres and councils to do all they can to let mums know they are welcome to breastfeed on site. Support from local services can give mums confidence to breastfeed when in public, and give their baby the healthiest possible start in life.
To support breastfeeding mums, the NCT charity also runs local breastfeeding sessions and NCT breastfeeding counsellors are available seven days a week to answer questions and provide support around baby feeding. NCT Breastfeeding Line on 0300 330 0771 is open Mon-Sun between 8am and 10pm.