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Sport Health And Wellbeing

FreetoFeed - A breastfeeding friendly business initiative

All families and their children should feel free to breastfeed in public, anytime, anywhere.

This is the vision of the ‘Free to Feed’ campaign, which aims to help breastfeeding and/or pumping mothers feel confident and relaxed when feeding their baby in public.

It also encourages businesses to sign up and pledge to be a ‘#FreeToFeedCP’ location, where mothers breastfeeding their little ones are openly welcomed to visit, especially if they feel like they need a safe space when out and about. More information for businesses can be found below. 

Breastfeeding has amazing health benefits for both mother and child, but not every mum who wants to breastfeed has the support they need to do so. Here some breastfeeding mums explain why it is important to them, and why all mums should be free to feed in public:

 

FreeToFeed - campaign video from CCS NHS Trust on Vimeo

Nothing beats a recommendation from a happy customer. Breastfeeding mums who are able to sit anywhere while breastfeeding - and who receive a warm welcome from staff, management and customers - will come back, telling their friends and increasing repeat custom. Embracing and normalising breastfeeding will not only help boost your business, but will help improve the overall health of the population and create a better and healthier community for everyone.

How your business can participate 

From making it clear that your business, workplace or venue is breastfeeding friendly with one of our #FreeToFeedCP stickers, to training your staff - there are plenty of actions you can take to support mothers who choose to breastfeed.

Start by signing our Pledge Form to join the campaign. This demonstrates that your business, venue or organisation is ready and willing to join our campaign and support breastfeeding and/or pumping mothers and families. We will get back in touch with you to share campaign materials, so make sure to leave your contact details.

 

If you have additional questions about the scheme, please contact duty.communities@scambs.gov.uk 

Criteria for businesses joining our campaign

  • Hold a staff awareness session to help all staff members understand and support breastfeeding and/or pumping mums.
  • Display the Breastfeeding Friendly #FreeToFeedCP sticker/certificate.
  • Respect a breastfeeding mother’s legal rights under the Equality Act 2010 to breastfeed in public without being discriminated against, which includes being asked to move or cover up.
  • Respond sensitively and support mothers if inappropriate comments are made about breastfeeding and/or pumping.
  • Provide a clean and comfortable environment to breastfeed in and also, if requested, a more private area. Toilet/changing facilities are not appropriate.
  • Other small adaptations might include: easy access and a safe place to park a pram; baby-changing facilities for both mothers and fathers; a small play area or play activities to keep older children occupied while baby is being fed; a statement on your website to show your support.

Families helping families

Thank you for wanting to get involved! Normalising breastfeeding in public is something we can all help with through conversation and support. We are still setting up family champions so please email ccs.cpft.hcp@nhs.net to register your interest.

Looking to promote the campaign?

You can download your local promotional guide for businesses below

Don't forget to use the hashtag #FreeToFeedCP on social media and tag the NHS and District Council.

 

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Healthy Child Programme:

@CambsPboroCYP on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

Free to feed locations

Alternatively, businesses participating can be seen in our #FreeToFeedCP location document [PDF, 0.3MB]

Kat's Story

Kat O’Shea is breastfeeding her third baby, son Lucas, born July 2023. She said: “The #FreeToFeed project is a brilliant campaign as it is easy to look for the sticker in a window. It can make a significant difference to help women feel more comfortable about going in to feed their children. Having that welcoming atmosphere can really empower women to feel safe. Plus, I’m sure it will encourage women to return if they know they can relax in a welcoming environment, so it’s good for business too.

Women sitting down breastfeeding her baby“I love breastfeeding because for me it makes life easier. I don’t have to pack bottles up or plan ahead. I can soothe baby quickly in or out of the house. There’s of course heath incentives and it’s cheaper than formula. I was lucky that both the kids and I didn’t find breastfeeding difficult.

“Out and about, generally speaking, attitudes to breastfeeding women are quite good, but knowing I can find places that are welcoming to breastfeeding mums definitely makes a difference.

“I know women can be put off breastfeeding if they worry about doing it in public. So, knowing there’s supportive places you can go is great. You can also find clothes that make it much easier to do it or more discreetly if you wish to. I can highly recommend the Facebook group Can I Breastfeed in the UK which has real people posting outfits from high street stores, that work well to feed in. Breastfeeding Brasseries are also great as you can connect with others for advice, support and friendship.”

Lucy's story

Lucy Borg, 23, breastfeeds her first baby, son Ashton Ramsay, 10-months old. She said: “We love to go out and about, and for me breastfeeding is easy as I don’t have to pre plan packing up bottles. It is also good for Ashton. There’s not always a designated place where you can go to feed and while I’m happy to feed him in the open, not everyone is comfortable, so the #FreeToFeed project is great for helping give women confidence to feed in public.”

Breastfeeding is good from a cost perspective, you don’t need to prep bottles, it is quick to be able to feed and soothe your baby, it has many health benefits and is recommended for two years by WHO. There is a plethora of benefits for mother and baby and of course for the bonding – there’s nothing quite like it.

“I think it’s important to have spaces where you can go for privacy that are clean, have a comfy seat and where you know you’ll be welcomed, If I know there is a breastfeeding friendly place then I will always aim to go there.

“Seeing a #FreeToFeed sign is a great way to know you’ll feel welcomed by staff. It can make such a difference. I know of mums who have felt anxious breastfeeding in public especially when first learning, so knowing you can find a safe space to go is really helpful.

“For anyone new to breastfeeding my advice is to find a Breastfeeding Brasserie, a group of women and professionals who are friendly and can offer good evidence-based advice. Also great is the App called Peanut, which helps you find other mums nearby who can offer advice.

“Pumping can be more challenging especially in public. Some women who experience latching problems can find pumping easier but then when they pump and bottle feed in public, they can get funny looks. Public awareness around that still needs raising as it can be deemed taboo.

Breastfeeding doesn’t necessarily come naturally, often it takes practice and good advice. Having venues where you know you are welcomed in public can really help women to feel more relaxed, especially those with new-borns who are breastfeeding for the first time.”

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