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Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme

The Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme aims to:

  • Support and empower mothers and families to feel confident breastfeeding out and about in the community
  • Offer an easy way that communities and businesses can show they welcome and support breastfeeding
  • Raise awareness about the benefits and barriers to breastfeeding
  • Support businesses and organisations to be more breastfeeding friendly

Who can sign up to the Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme?

The Scheme is open to any business, venue or organisation that has public premises and who wishes to show that they welcome breastfeeding mothers and families.

The Scheme does not cost anything to join, but we do ask that you sign up to our breastfeeding welcome policy for your organisation and display the Scheme sticker in your window.  In addition, we require all Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme venues to be included in the Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme section on the Dewis Cymru website. This will not affect any other listings you have on Dewis Cymru.

How do I join the Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme?

To join the scheme you need to complete the Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme Agreement Form

After you have submitted your details, you will receive a bilingual sticker, and the Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme Introduction Pack will be sent to you electronically. We ask you to share the details in this Introduction Pack with all your staff and volunteers so they know about the Scheme and how to support breastfeeding mothers on your premises.

Why do we need the Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme?

Breastfeeding is good for mothers, babies and the environment. The law (Equality Act 2010) protects a woman's right to breastfeed her baby in public places, but many new mothers feel nervous about breastfeeding whilst out and about. This can mean that women end up staying at home when their baby is born, which can make them feel lonely and isolated, or they choose not to breastfeed or stop breastfeeding before they wanted to. 

In North Wales, although over half of all new mothers start breastfeeding when their baby is born, by the time their baby is 6 weeks more than half of these mothers stop breastfeeding.

The Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme is a way that businesses and organisations can show to breastfeeding mothers and families and the wider community that they welcome breastfeeding mothers and will help them feel more comfortable whilst feeding out and about.

What is the law on breastfeeding in public?

The Equality Act 2010 says that it is discrimination to treat a woman unfavourably because she is breastfeeding. It applies to anyone providing services, benefits, facilities and premises to the public, public bodies, further and higher education bodies and associations. Service providers include most organisations that deal directly with the public. Service providers must not discriminate, harass or victimise a woman because she is breastfeeding.

Discrimination includes refusing to provide a service, providing a lower standard of service or providing a service on different terms.

Breastfeeding women are protected in public places such as parks, sports and leisure facilities, public buildings and when using public transport such as buses, trains and planes. They are also protected in shops, public, restaurants and hotels regardless of how big of small, and also in places like hospitals, theatres, cinemas and petrol stations. 

Why is breastfeeding important?

Breastmilk is the best nutrition for babies. The recommendation from the NHS is that babies should receive nothing but breastmilk until they are six months old and then that breastfeeding should continue, alongside other foods, up to 2 years of age and beyond if the mother wishes.  Breastfeeding is recognised as being one of the most important interventions in improving children’s health and is considered key to reducing inequalities in health. 

Breastfeeding offers protection against lots of childhood illnesses including chest, stomach and ear infections, diabetes and childhood obesity.  Mothers who breastfeed can also gain health benefits, as they lower their risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and hip fractures in later life. The longer a mother breastfeeds, the more health benefits both she and her baby will receive.

Mothers cannot always predict when they will next need to feed their baby and the NHS recommends that a baby is breastfed whenever they show that they are hungry, so mothers need to be able to feed their baby wherever they are – including when they are out and about.  A huge advantage of breastfeeding is that breastmilk is always ready and just at the right temperature so there are no need to carry sterilised bottles, milk powder or bottle warmers. 

  • Remember that no mother should ever be made to feel uncomfortable about breastfeeding in public and a mother should never be expected to feed in a toilet, changing room or asked to stop feeding and move somewhere else. 
  • Mothers don’t always know when their baby will need to be fed and they will often be out and about when their baby gets hungry.
  • This might be the first time a mother has felt brave enough to breastfeed in public and the support she gets today might help her feel more confident next time.

Collecting feedback and evaluating the Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme

We want the Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme to work well for breastfeeding mothers and families and the businesses or venues that have signed up to it.

Once a year, you will be contacted by the BCUHB Public Health Team to find out if you are still happy to be on the Scheme and to check if any of your details have changed.  This is done to keep the list of Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme venues current and up-to-date on the Dewis Cymru website. If you have decided to leave the Scheme, we would ask that you take down the Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme sticker from your window, and we will remove your details from the Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme section of Dewis Cymru (this will not affect any other listings you may have on Dewis Cymru).

By joining the Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme you can make a big difference to children’s health in North Wales!

By signing up to the Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme you will be raising awareness of breastfeeding and show that is valued by the wider community.  This can support families to feel more comfortable breastfeeding in public and help protect the health of mothers and babies in your community. 

Seeing the Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme sticker displayed in local venues shows breastfeeding mothers and others that their community is supportive of their choice to breastfeed and can help start conversations and normalise breastfeeding. 

Your business/ organisation will also be demonstrating that it cares about its customers, and that will be good for you as families will come back again and again and bring their friends as well!