Friday, July 18, 2008

Celebrating breastfeeding in public in the UK

As I flagged up recently on this blog, there will be breastfeeding picnics taking place at various locations in the UK on Monday, 21 July. See:

They are intended to celebrate and assert a mother's right to breastfeed her child in public.

There has been some confusion recently around the Single Equality Bill going through Parliament at the moment and what this has to say on the subject. The Bill didn't even mention breastfeeding when put out to consultation - though there was a spin put on it by politicians that has led to the confusion. I will be returning to this topic shortly with reference to existing laws on harassment and sex discrimination mean the right to breastfeed is already protected.

Laws are not the whole of the story, however. The disapproval mothers sometimes encounter in the UK is due to cultural reasons and events such as the picnics are a way to change cultural perceptions.

Another way is through poster campaigns and exhibitions such as that recently promoted by Breast Buddies in Leeds. Their pictures showed mothers breastfeeding around the city. The poster below, of Claire and Marcus, was voted favourite by readers of a regional newspaper, The Yorkshire Evening Post.

This does capture the convenience of feeding a child while out shopping, without having the inconvenience and expense of mixing up formula or using ready-to-feed (more expensive still)*.

You can see the rest of the posters on the Breast Buddies website at:

*Remember powdered formula is not sterile and the Department of Health and World Health Organisation advice is that it should be mixed up with water above 70 deg. C to kill any harmful bacteria, which can be done by taking a flask of hot water when travelling. Be sure to let the reconstituted formula cool before using, but use within an hour. Alternatively, ready-to-feed formula, which is sterile, can be used. See:

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