Your rights to breastfeeding in public

ANY time a story about breastfeeding hits the media, especially when it involves a mother asked to cover up or not breastfeed in public, the world erupts in a fit of rage.

Somewhere between disgusted and in total shock, Australian Regional Media readers are among those quick to voice their opinions whenever these stories surface.

Most recently, a mother who was expressing milk on a flight from Townsville to Brisbane was asked to cover up by the airline staff.

Prior to that, a cafe owner in Lismore came under fire after he allegedly made snide remarks to a mother feeding her baby.

It was reported the café owner told her to cover up and implied she was "raised in the gutter with no ethics", the mother claimed in the social media storm that followed.

Mum of two Courtney Betterridge has spoken out about the breastfeeding furore that erupted on Facebook following her breakfast experience at Goonellabah's Cognito Cafe.
Mum of two Courtney Betterridge has spoken out about the breastfeeding furore that erupted on Facebook following her breakfast experience at Goonellabah's Cognito Cafe.

Just two days later a Judge in North Carolina became the next most hated man after he told a 25-year-old mother to leave the courtroom when she tried to feed her son, claiming it was inappropriate and for her "not to realise that is absolutely ridiculous".

In all three cases the mothers were completely within their rights to breastfeed in public.

Back on home soil, the Australian Federal Law states "under the federal Sex Discrimination Act 1984 it is illegal in Australia to discriminate either directly or indirectly on the grounds of breastfeeding".

The Australian Breastfeeding Association says if a mother feels threatened by discriminatory remarks she should report it to police as it is a criminal act. The ABA highlights the trauma such remarks can cause a mother and encourages anyone affected to seek help.

"It may be essential to normalise breastfeeding again after the incident," the Association says.

"To normalise breastfeeding, a mother may like to consider finding emotional support through your family, your GP and/or counselling, calling the Breastfeeding Helpline on 1800 686 268 or attending a local ABA meeting."

Breastfeeding in public - your legal rights:

  • Mums have every right to breastfeed in public, just as babies have every right to be breastfed.
  • You can breastfeed in areas that claim 'no food or drink allowed', restaurants, shops, wherever your baby is hungry.
  • This includes expressing milk by hand or by pump.

 



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