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Breastfeeding mums in Weymouth celebrate law change

Tracey Benfield of Weymouth Breast Friends with baby Daniel and son Edward and, right, student breast feeding counsellor Vicky Turner

Tracey Benfield of Weymouth Breast Friends with baby Daniel and son Edward and, right, student breast feeding counsellor Vicky Turner

First published in News Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by

IT’S not a sight you’ll see every day.

Proud breast-feeding mums will line Weymouth seafront tomorrow to celebrate a change in the law that will allow them to feed their children in public.

Members of the Weymouth, Dorchester and Blandford branch of the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) are inviting people to show their support and join them for a Big Feed on the beach.

Discrimination against breast-feeding in public places has been outlawed under a new Equality Act – meaning that women are entitled to breast-feed in shops, cafes and restaurants nationwide.

Weymouth mum-of-one Vicky Turner, an NCT breast-feeding counsellor, said: “This is something that the NCT has been campaigning for a long time.

“It’s a shame that there needs to be an act in the first place but we hope that this will empower women to have the confidence to breast feed in public.

“Some women have been put off in the past because of complaints.”

Vicky, 28, who is mum to Phoenix, aged two, said she breast-fed her son in public without problems but some of her friends have received complaints.

“A lot of them have stuck to their guns and continued with it but some women have given up breast-feeding because they haven’t had the confidence to do it.

“There are a lot of social and cultural factors associated with it and it is taking some time for acceptance that breast-feeding is a normal thing to do.

“We hope that this will enable more women to get on and breast feed,” she said.

The NCT is urging shops in West Dorset to display stickers in their window and let mums know they are welcome to breast feed on site.

One of the most mum-friendly shops in Weymouth town centre is Papoose, Vicky said.

“It’s an amazing place with a special baby feeding corner. We hope that more shops do something similar to encourage mothers to visit their premises.

“So many mothers like to get out and have a coffee, so it will bring a lot of custom for them,” she added.

The Equality Act will come into effect in the autumn. The Big Feed celebration, which coincides with National Breast-feeding Week 2010, takes place on Saturday between 2pm and 3.30pm.

Mum, families and anyone else who wishes to show support are asked to assemble opposite the Dorothy Inn.

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