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Breastfeeding in public – what’s the law and what rights do new mothers have?

Breastfeeding in public – what’s the law and what rights do new mothers have?

Breastfeeding is one of the most natural processes in the world, and mothers should be able to feel comfortable feeding their babies whenever - and wherever they want.

But are there any laws when it comes to breastfeeding in public? What rights do mothers have - and are there any restrictions?



What's the law on breastfeeding in public?

In fact, it's protected under the Equality Act 2010 for as long as you wish to breastfeed (there is no age restriction) and covers all public places from parks and leisure facilities, to public transport, shops, restaurants, hotels and cinemas.

Director of Maternity Action, Rosalind Bragg told BT: "...Some women cover up while breastfeeding, some don’t...The law protects women’s rights to breastfeed in public places, but this is not widely known. Maternity Action continues to hear from women asked to move on or cover up when they are breastfeeding in public places, often from shops and cafes providing services to families.

"There shouldn’t be a debate whether women should be covered while breastfeeding. People who are uncomfortable with the sight of breastfeeding should just look away. Their discomfort is their problem."


Are there any exceptions?

According to Citizen's Advice, it is lawful for a service provider (e.g. a restaurant owner) to treat you differently if there are valid health and safety concerns.

They state: "The service provider must reasonably believe there’s a risk to your health and safety if the service was provided to you. And it’s only lawful if they would also treat someone with other physical conditions - for example, someone with a back condition - differently for health and safety reasons."


What rights do new mothers have?

A survey by Start4Life revealed 72 per cent of people support women breastfeeding in public, and the Equality Act 2010 states that it is discrimination to treat breastfeeding mothers differently.

In fact, it's illegal for anyone to ask a mother to leave a public place because she's breastfeeding.

Discrimination includes refusing a service, providing a lower standard of service, or providing a service differently.

If you are discriminated against, Maternity Action recommends first making a complaint to the organisation or service provider.

They advise: "If you cannot resolve the matter you can bring an action in a county court in England or Wales or a Sheriff court in Scotland but you should seek advice as these can be expensive cases to bring.

"You must start the case within 6 months of the date of the act you are complaining about. This time limit will only be extended where it is just and equitable.

"If you win your case the court can order compensation, an injunction or a declaration but if you lose you may be ordered to pay the other side’s legal costs. Compensation can include an amount for injury to feelings."

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Slumbersac sleeping bag with feet

Slumbersac sleeping bag with feet

Award-winning sleeping bag company Slumbersac have launched their new Sleeping Bags with Feet and Detachable Sleeves. These innovative sleeping bags offer maximum versatility and save the need for purchasing multiple sleeping bags for warmer and cooler seasons.

Research has shown that when using conventional bedding babies and toddlers tend to get too hot or too cold. Slumbersac Sleeping Bags ensure they remain at a constant temperature, eliminating the need for any other top covers, blankets or duvets, reassuring parents that their child’s head won’t be covered.

Slumbersac’s award-winning Sleeping Bags with Feet have already proven to be a huge success and now the addition of detachable sleeves makes this their most versatile sleeping bag yet.

The detachable long sleeves with press-studs and have slightly lighter padding than the rest of the sleeping bag, allowing toddlers to move their arms freely without restricting them. If you feel your toddler is too warm, you can simply remove the sleeves and then, when needed, you can re-attach them making the sleeping bag perfect for use in a variety of temperatures, at home or on the go!

Lots of toddlers don’t like having their feet covered at night. The clever feet openings allow you to either pull the legs down so their little feet are tucked in for a warm and comfortable night's sleep or, if they prefer, their feet can be left outside of the bag so they don’t feel restricted. Another benefit of having feet openings is you can get your little one into their bag and ready for bed nice and early but they will still have the freedom to play until you’re ready to put them down! Likewise in the morning, they can run around happily in their bag until it’s time to get ready.

These sleeping bags are fantastic for active toddlers as they start learning to walk, giving them the freedom to move around and reducing the risk of falling over whilst still enjoying the comfort of their sleeping bag.

Made to the same high standards as all Slumbersac’s other sleeping bags, they are made from soft 100% jersey cotton, lined with 100% cotton and are padded with soft quick-dry polyester fleece. They come in a variety of prints and the option of name embroidery enables you to personalise the sleeping bag with your little one’s name.


They are available in six sizes from 6 months – 6 years and a tog rating of 2.5, which is suitable for general year-round use in room temperatures between 15 and 21 degrees.


Slumbersac sleeping bags with feet and sleeves are priced from £29.99 and come in 4 designs; Pirate, Pony, Apple and Fire Engine.


You can view the full Slumbersac range at www.slumbersac.co.uk


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