Breastfeeding in Public: Where to Breastfeed, What the Law Says

Breastfeeding in Public: Where to Breastfeed, What the Law Says

After a woman was slapped for breastfeeding in public in Bordeaux, an Australian mother was asked to stop breastfeeding her baby at Disneyland Paris. Marlène Schiappa reacted. We take stock of the rights of breastfeeding mothers in the public space.

[Updated July 12, 1:27 p.m.]. Laura, an Australian tourist visiting Disneyland Paris with her children did not expect such an arrest by park officials. While she was quietly breastfeeding her two-month-old baby on a bench, the latter asked her to stop breastfeeding, "on the grounds that it shocked foreign customers" according to a tweet relayed on the social networks.

Minister Marlène Schiappa reacted to remind that breastfeeding in public is not a crime. "That you have dedicated rooms is good, but we don't decide where and when a baby is going to be hungry. Don't start stigmatizing mothers too, it's hard enough like that everywhere else" he said. she declared. The park replied that a daycare center called "baby care center" was "made available to mothers with suitable and comfortable equipment such as special breastfeeding seats". But the number of places remains limited due to the Covid and the wait is sometimes long, specifies Marie, at the origin of the first tweet. The Australian mother also confided in the newspaper Le Parisien. “We didn't see much… They told me that if I didn't want to, I had to go somewhere else. That there were people from other cultures and other religions who could see me,” he confided. she still shocked. To support her, Marie says that she sat next to her, and that despite their inconsistent rules, she breastfed her child at her side. "The annoyance and then this wonderful help, it was too much emotion for me", says the Australian mother. The park ended up apologizing: "We deeply regret this situation and once again offer our sincere apologies to the mother concerned. The request made to her is not in line with our rules of procedure and our values. there are no restrictions on breastfeeding at Disneyland Paris". But this is not the first time that breastfeeding in public has created controversy...

Mum slapped in Bordeaux for breastfeeding in public

In early May, a young mother named Maylis was insulted and slapped in Bordeaux while she was breastfeeding in public, in the line of waiting for the post. She was accused of flaunting her breast in public, of shocking passers-by, and despite the attack, no one came to her defense. This is not the first time that breastfeeding in public has aroused a reaction of rejection in France, other examples had already been reported by the media, it had happened in particular that a woman was asked to leave a Pôle Emploi meeting for this reason. This latest event sparked a wave of indignation in the press and on social networks, among other things for its violence. On social networks, the movement I want to breast free (#Iwanttobreastfree) born of other attacks of the kind against breastfeeding women, has again mobilized. A wave of photographs of mothers feeding their babies have been posted on Instagram, along with other hashtags like #supportMaylis.

Are we allowed to breastfeed in public?

Breastfeeding in public: where to breastfeed , what does the law say?

Currently, there is no law prohibiting breastfeeding in public, in any place. There is even a special mention to allow women to breastfeed in their workplace, in the labor code. They have one hour a day to feed their child on site. A bill led by Bérangère Poletti aims to legislate the question of breastfeeding and to promote it in the public space, because "the direct environment in which breastfeeding takes place by the mother is decisive" specifies the text of law. The objective is to offer a legal framework to women who decide to breastfeed their child, without anything being able to restrict or oppose them. "Nothing justifies refusing to breastfeed a child, regardless of the place", specifies the bill number 3964. This proposal was born from the observation that breastfeeding is declining in France, and that its duration is often too short, according to the Epifane Survey (Epidemiology in France of the diet and nutritional status of children during their first year of life) of 2012. In France, breastfeeding in public spaces is still today often culturally rejected. Because giving the breast is often perceived as exhibitionism. Although the definition of this act has nothing to do, since it is a "sexual deviation in which the public exhibition of the penis, accompanied by masturbation, replaces any other form of sexual intercourse", according to the Larousse.

Towards the creation of an offense of obstructing breastfeeding in public?

This is what the deputy of Val-d'Oise, Fiona Lazaar (ex-LREM) proposes , which calls on the government to clarify the law which would specify "without nuance" that giving the breast in the public space is not a sexual exhibition and in no case an offense. For the time being, this proposal has not yet been studied in Parliament.

Where to breastfeed in public?

In France, it is authorized to breastfeed absolutely everywhere, including in indoor or outdoor public places. If the law still lacks clarity on this subject, it advocates breastfeeding unconditionally, in view of the many public health studies on the benefits of it. You can therefore breastfeed in the street, in a park, at the post office, in a doctor's or town hall's waiting room... There is no geographical contraindication to breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding in public with a diaper, clothes and tips?

To help women breastfeed and make them more comfortable, many movements have been born, with concrete proposals to make it easier to breastfeed, everywhere. In particular, there are breastfeeding clothes, T-shirts, dresses, sweatshirts, sweaters that allow you to breastfeed in a practical way, such as the models of the French brand Tajine Banane. They allow you to breastfeed without having to lift your T-shirt, without getting cold and without having to reveal yourself too much in public. Their objective is not to preserve others from seeing the breast, but to simplify breastfeeding for women. This is also what another French brand, Boobies, offers. Its clothes are produced in Nîmes with respect for the environment and have an exclusive and patented closing system. A well-placed opening on the sides allows you to breastfeed in peace, with an ideal size so that baby can suckle without the breast being compressed in the slot.

You can also opt for a nursing bra that helps to access the breast more easily, or wear clothes that unbutton in front (dress, blouse). Another option, for those who would be uncomfortable breastfeeding in public, is to cover yourself with a swaddle while the baby is nursing. But none of these solutions are mandatory, they are simply intended to offer peace of mind to nursing mothers.

Public breastfeeding: where to give the breast, what does the law say? ...

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