You may have seen the article today in The News ‘Mum left angry as she’s told to stop breastfeeding‘ at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. It struck a chord with me personally, firstly because I have frequently breastfed my own son without any issues in the Cabin Room over the last year; and secondly because it was my mother in law who was there, along with my son, and told the security guard to leave Ms Vaughan alone.
The article in The News did not mention the law on this issue, and sadly many people remain ignorant of it. The Equality Act 2010 makes it illegal for anyone to ask a breastfeeding woman to leave a public place, such as public transport, a restaurant or a shop. If you are ever asked to stop, feel free to tell that person that they are breaking the law by telling you to do so.
It’s such a shame that there is yet another story about a negative experience, particularly on the heels of the story about Emily Slough, snapped breastfeeding in the street and branded a ‘tramp’ on Facebook. Ms Slough’s experience led to her setting up a facebook event ‘the Rugeley Mass Feed‘ set to take place this Saturday. Whilst it was an unpleasant, humiliating and upsetting experience for Ms Vaughan, it has resulted in the Museum reviewing their training and that can only be a good thing. Education and awareness are key, and the ensuing publicity has highlighted the message that it is unacceptable to ask breastfeeding mothers to stop feeding in public.
We are fortunate in Portsmouth to have a good breastfeeding resource available in the Breastfeeding Network who run free support groups throughout the city. I found their help invaluable when I had my son, and I would urge anyone who needs support to get in touch with them. You can find a list of their groups here and their facebook page here.