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Breastfeeding in public

The thought of breastfeeding in public may make you feel nervous. You may be worried about other people's reactions, and how and where you'll be able to do it. Here we explain what your rights are and how to do it comfortably and confidently.

Am I allowed to breastfeed in public?

Yes, the law protects breastfeeding mums. You are legally allowed to breastfeed your baby in public.

That might be a café, shop, library or on public transport (basically any business that provides a service to the public).

The Equality Act states that it is sex discrimination to treat a woman unfavourably if she is breastfeeding.

If you feel self-conscious, try to remind yourself that you're doing the most natural thing for your baby. The more it's done, the more normal it will become.


In a Start for Life survey, 72% of people said they supported women breastfeeding in public.

Know your rights

If you are asked to leave somewhere because you are breastfeeding, you are within your rights to challenge that request. Contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service for advice.

Where's the best place to breastfeed?

While you are legally allowed to breastfeed anywhere, you may feel more comfortable going to local breastfeeding-friendly places.

Ask your friends, midwife or health visitor for tips on good places to go. And look out for Breastfeeding Friendly or Breastfeeding Welcome stickers in the window.

Breastfeeding Friend from Start for Life

The Breastfeeding Friend, a digital tool from Start for Life, has lots of useful information and expert advice to share with you 24/7.

Breastfeeding clothes

You don't need to spend lots of money on nursing clothes.

A large muslin, or scarf to cover yourself while breastfeeding may be enough. Or you may prefer wearing 2 stretchy tops – 1 to cover your tummy and the other to cover your breasts. A loose top that can be lifted up may also work.

National Breastfeeding Helpline

For confidential breastfeeding information and support, call the National Breastfeeding Helpline on 0300 100 0212.

Lines are open 9:30am to 9:30pm every day.