Women should be able to breastfeed anywhere and everywhere
I’ve breastfed three babies. I’ve fed them in Parliament, in churches, in cafes, and even perched on the kerb in cities where there was nowhere to sit. Any time my babies were hungry, I fed them.
In fact, in 2017, I was the first woman to breastfeed in the Victorian Parliament in 15 years (!), after Kirstie Marshall was kicked out for doing so in 2003.
You might have heard that recently a woman was kicked out of the Victorian County Court for breastfeeding her baby. In recent years, women have been asked not to breastfeed in other public places, like public pools.
Women should be able to breastfeed their babies wherever and whenever they need to. Telling women they cannot breastfeed in a public place sends the message that women are not welcome in public spaces. This is not acceptable.
It’s a biological fact that when babies need to feed they cannot wait. Delaying or skipping breastfeeding can also lead to serious health problems for the mother, like mastitis.
In Victoria, the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 protects pregnant and breastfeeding people in areas of public life, including work, schools, universities, shops, and rental properties. But there are loopholes and grey areas in the law that still allow people to be excluded from some public spaces, like the courts, simply for needing to breastfeed a baby. Grey areas mean that many in society still don’t feel protected to breastfeed in public spaces.
My Greens colleagues and I have called on the Victorian Government to amend the Equal Opportunity Act to explicitly prevent discrimination against breastfeeding in all public places, including public areas of courts.
If there is ever anything I can help you with, please get in touch at [email protected].
Watch Ellen Sandell’s speech on breastfeeding in Parliament: https://www.instagram.com/p/CqJ2WxDgHeN/