by Jill Sunter, Health Promotion Officer, Fife Health and Social Care Partnership
Breastfeeding is really important to the health of both mother and baby, yet Scotland has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in Europe. While many new mums start breastfeeding, some will stop within a few months. This is often because they feel there is a lack of support, particularly when they want to feed their baby outside their home.
Some business may be unaware that The Breastfeeding etc. (Scotland) Act 2005 makes it illegal to stop a mum feeding her child under the age of 2 years, either by breastfeeding or bottle feeding, in premises where the public have general access. The Equality Act 2010 confers the same protection for breastfeeding children over the age of 2 years, supporting families for the duration of feeding.
Now, however, businesses and organisations can actively support new mums by displaying their membership of the Breastfeeding Friendly Scotland scheme. Making premises breastfeeding friendly will help mums to be more confident about breastfeeding and therefore, will be likely to continue breastfeeding for longer. This will benefit both their health and their baby’s.
Every business knows the value of repeat customers and word of mouth. Breastfeeding mums who feel that they and their babies have been made welcome will come back to your business and will also tell their family and friends.
Business wanting to join the scheme can contact their local NHS Board who will provide them with their Breastfeeding Friendly Scotland scheme award and window stickers.
Further advice for employers on the Breastfeeding etc (Scotland) Act 2005 can be found here.