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Hertfordshire County Council

Due to the overwhelming evidence that demonstrates the benefits of breastfeeding, improving the breastfeeding rates in Hertfordshire is a public health priority and why we are introducing the Breastfeeding Friendly scheme in Hertfordshire.


You can complete the form online or:

Download the form and email it to breastfeedingfriendly@hertfordshire.gov.uk

Ensure you complete your correct physical details as this is the name of your business that will be listed online and provide your postal address to receive the decal/sticker and poster

View our breastfeeding friendly venues on our map

What will businesses need to do as part of the scheme?

Its simple!

  • Complete our registration form and submit to us.
  • Train staff to provide a welcoming, helpful attitude. Our training pack also includes facts about the value of breastfeeding should more information be required.
  • Greet mothers and babies with a smile and an offer of assistance. Perhaps offer a glass of water? Do they need help with a pram?
  • Provide space that’s clean and seating that’s comfortable, and if possible, a little out of the way -  it costs very little to re-arrange furniture to provide a little privacy. Simply moving furniture around or adding a screen can guarantee privacy in the busiest of spaces, e.g. libraries, GP waiting rooms, leisure centres etc.
  • Write up a policy for your staff to follow and include it in staff training
  • Display Hertfordshire Breastfeeding Friendly material (you’ll be provided with a poster), certificate of participation and window decal/sticker).

It helps if other customers and visitors know and accept that babies may be breastfed there. Remind them of the law if there are negative comments.

National and local priority

Breastmilk is the perfect food for human babies. Among many other health-giving properties, breastmilk contains nutrients that promote the healthy growth of nerves, brains and gut.

In addition to health benefits, it can help reduce health inequalities, save families money and lower public healthcare expenses by reducing the need for services to address healthy issues that arise more frequently when babies are not breastfed.

Despite these advantages, breastfeeding rates in England remain low. 

The Equality Act makes it clear that it is against the law for anyone to stop feeding their baby in a public place or ask them to leave.

Early years high impact area 3: Supporting breastfeeding - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Why a breastfeeding friendly scheme?

Mothers’ reasons for not breastfeeding are complex and varied. Women stop breastfeeding before they would like to stop, saying they feel unsupported to do so or that they feel uncomfortable breastfeeding in public.

Although Polls reveal that seeing a woman breastfeeding does not bother 85% of adults, 63% of breastfeeding women report that they have been on the receiving end of unsupportive comments or behaviour while breastfeeding in a public place.

Half of new mothers report that they never attempted to breastfeed in public for the first few weeks of their babies’ lives. Furthermore, only 39% of breastfeeding women have fed their baby in public by the time the child is 4-6 months old, compared to 67% of bottle-feeding women.

By actively involving businesses, we can foster an external environment that embraces and supports breastfeeding mothers.

Views of mothers

In a recent survey this is what mothers told us affect them:

  • Not being able to find a comfortable chair – it is difficult to feed at benches that are close to tables as there is not enough room
  • Lack of somewhere to sit down or, if outside, no sheltered seating that is not facing onto a main road/path (i.e. lack of minimal privacy)
  • Unsuitable environment e.g dirty, too cold, too exposed to sun
  • Lack of changing facilities
  • People making comments
  • Struggling to latch baby because of uncomfortable environment
  • Busy, male dominated staff; no where discreet enough, cleanliness
  • Music too loud or lights too bright.
  • The looks people give you when you breastfeed in public: restaurants, park, in a cafe, it made me feel awful and I felt I was doing something wrong

What's in it for me?

  • It makes a real improvement to customer/client relations and can attract a new customer/client base (we cant ignore the spending power of mothers!) 
  • Training staff to be welcoming and helpful to breastfeeding mothers will encourage ongoing supportive and considerate customer service to all customers.
  • New mothers commonly make special efforts to get to know other women in their situation. When they find a place that welcomes them to feed their babies, they pass on the good news and customer numbers grow as a result.
  • New mothers’ visits tend not to coincide with the busiest times of day, so they may bring new custom at what might have previously been quiet times. 
  • When venues such as community centres make efforts to welcome breastfeeding mothers, they see an increase in numbers of people using the other services they provide. Breastfeeding friendly businesses and venues both report a good level of customer/visitor return rates.
  • When businesses choose to welcome breastfeeding mothers, they are making a positive contribution to public health — as well as demonstrating that they are community focused and not solely motivated by profits.
  • Most businesses and venues do have an open attitude to breastfeeding, but women have no way of knowing this. Mothers have told us that seeing breastfeeding friendly signage and information gives them confidence to be in a place they trust will welcome them
  • Businesses that become breastfeeding friendly will get publicity from being listed on our website, as well as the word-of-mouth recommendations that will happen between families.

What if I run activities in lots of different venues but don't have my own premises?

If you run activities like baby music, yoga or massage and move around different venues you can still sign your centre, organisation or business up to show that you are breastfeeding friendly and that you welcome breastfeeding parents.

What do I do if another customer asks me to tell a mum to stop breastfeeding her baby?

The law in both England, Scotland and Wales (The Equality Act) means that a mum cannot be stopped from breastfeeding (or bottle feeding) her baby in any place that she is legally allowed to be. You may be responsible if other customers’ behaviour is brought to your attention and you fail to act. You have an obligation to ensure that a customer who is breastfeeding while receiving a service you provide, is not treated unfairly. You could ask the person who raised the concern if they would feel more comfortable moving to sit somewhere else if that is appropriate (you must not ask the mum to move). The Equality Act 2010 aims to give women complete confidence to breastfeed while going about their day-to-day business. Businesses must facilitate this. 

Do I need to do any training about the scheme, for me or wider staff?

The staff information sheet has some brief information about the law that protects breastfeeding, why breastfeeding is important and why the scheme is needed. Asking staff members to read the sheet and to be aware of what to do if a breastfeeding family come into your premises is sufficient. Perhaps you’d like to keep this on the agenda in team meetings as a check/refresher.  If you want more training or information please contact dee.debruin1@hertfordshire.gov.uk.

Are you looking to breastfeed?

While you are out and about in Hertfordshire, with your baby or young child you are breastfeeding, you will want somewhere comfortable to feed them.

You can now spot a Breastfeeding Friendly place thanks to businesses who sign up to join Hertfordshire’s new Breastfeeding Friendly scheme.

Why is breastfeeding important?

Breastmilk is the perfect food for human babies – evidence shows breastfeeding helps protect them from:

  • Severe diarrhoea and vomiting
  • Chest infections 
  • Eczema 
  • Cot death 
  • Ear infections 
  • Becoming overweight 
  • Asthma 
  • Coughs and colds 
  • Diabetes

Breastfeeding helps protect mums from:

  • Ovarian and breast cancer 
  • The risk of obesity and cardiovascular disease
  • Osteoporosis which is a condition that affects bone strength

In addition to these health benefits, it helps reduce health inequalities; can save families money and lowers public healthcare expenses by reducing the need for services to address healthy issues that arise more frequently when babies are not breastfed.

Despite these advantages, breastfeeding rates in England remain low. 

The Equality Act makes it clear that it is against the law for anyone to stop feeding their baby in a public place or ask them to leave.

Due to the overwhelming evidence that demonstrates the benefits of breastfeeding, breastfeeding is really a great way to get your baby off to the best start

About the scheme for families

Participating businesses are asked to have our Breastfeeding Friendly logo visibly on the window or door, display their certification and a Breastfeeding Friendly poster, to show their support for breastfeeding families, and so that you can recognise a member of the scheme.

Scheme members are encouraged to ensure there is comfortable seating, staff are aware of the rights of breastfeeding mothers, are polite and welcoming, happy to provide you with a glass of water and generally be welcoming. (If you do not find this, please feel free to email us with the business's details to breastfeedingfriendly@hertfordshire.gov.uk)

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