O’Neill: Law to protect breastfeeding mothers to be introduced
Health Minister Michelle O’Neill will bring forward legislation to protect mothers who breastfeed their children in a public place.
Announcing her intention, Health Minister, Michelle O’Neill, said: “I have listened to mothers and am convinced that specific legislation is a pro-active and necessary approach to ensure that the rights of mothers and their children are fully protected. It will ensure that breast and bottle-feeding mothers are given equal access to feed their children with confidence and without interruption in a public place.
“My Department’s Breastfeeding Strategy 2013-2023, includes a strategic action to introduce legislation to support and protect breastfeeding infants and their mothers in public places. I intend to take this forward and I aim to do it as quickly as possible. The details of this legislation will be consulted upon as soon practicable and I hope to introduce this to the Assembly at the earliest possible date.”
Breastfeeding rates in the north have remained static over the past number of years. Societal and cultural attitudes are important influencing factors for breastfeeding.
The Minister continued: “The reasons why women choose not to breastfeed, or stop breastfeeding, are varied and complex. We need to provide support to mothers and address the negative influences. This legislation will contribute to increasing public tolerance and acceptability of breastfeeding, as part of a range of activities to improve our breastfeeding rates.”