Regional Picnics 2009

24 05 2009
Birmingham Picnic
Monday July 20th, 2009
11am – 2pm
Colmore Road
Birmingham
contact: breastfeeding@codepoets.co.uk
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Poole Picnic
Monday July 20th, 2009
11am – 2pm
Poole
contact: sophiesmailbox@yahoo.com
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Stroud Picnic

Monday July 20th, 2009
11am – 3pm
contact: stroudrose@yahoo.co.uk
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Warrington Picnic

Monday July 20th, 2009
Sankey Street
Warrington
contact: jenniestevenson@googlemail.com
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Salford Picnic

Monday July 20th, 2009
Noon – 2pm
(in front of Mansion)
contact: j.wallsworth@gmail.com
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Durham Picnic
Monday July 20th, 2009
Noon – 3pm
Durham
contact: sonia.bailey@gmail.com
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Invite Your MP To The Picnic

23 05 2009
This year it is truly vital that you invite your MP to the picnic.  Given the horrible implications of Clause 16 in the Equalities Bill, it’s important that MPs know that many people do not support the Bill, and do want real protection for breastfeeding babies in public spaces.
You can find out who your MP is, by putting your postcode in here.  It will then tell you who they are, and will give you an option to click them an email.
For those who struggle with wording, you could use the following:
Dear

As a constituent, I’m inviting you to attend a Breastfeeding Picnic, in Victoria Tower Gardens, on Monday July 20th, 2009.  The picnic runs from noon till 3pm.

I feel strongly that breastfeeding babies should have protection in public spaces in England & Wales, and that Clause 16 in the upcoming Equalities Bill does not give any real protection at all.  What is needed is a similar act to that in Scotland, which makes it an offence to ask a child who is having a milk feed, anywhere the child has a right to be, to stop feeding.  The Equalities Bill will makes matters worse, in my opinion.  This picnic is celebrating breastfeeding, and I’d ask you attend and have a talk with the mothers and children there, about their experiences.  After last year’s picnic, two mothers were harassed, separately, on the London Underground as they returned home.  The Equalities Bill will not cover this harassment, or prevent it happening.  I cannot support legislation that requires that if a breastfeeding mother is asked to leave a cafe, she must go.  It is obscene to suggest that this is ‘protection’.

An epetition has been set up at Downing Street, asking the Prime Minister to bring in such new and separate legislation.  I’d appreciate it if you would consider signing it in support of the right of a hungry child to milk, where and when it gets hungry.

 
There are regional picnics if you are not in Westminster on that day.

Yours




Breastfeeding Picnic – Change of Venue

23 05 2009
Protect My Baby, Protect Me

Monday July 20th, 2009

Noon – 3pm

Victoria Tower Gardens



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Due to some rather ardent protesters taking over Parliament Square for the past two months… and it looks like they’ll still be there for another couple of months…
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We’ve moved the Westminster Breastfeeding Picnic to Victoria Tower Gardens. In many ways, it’s a better venue – not a roundabout on a hot and merciless traffic heavy square. Cooling breeze off the river. Railed in. Nice tree cover. Traffic crossings! But it’s not the super photo shoot opportunity of the Square. It does give a nice side view of Parliament however.
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Many thanks to the Royal Parks, for giving us permission. We’re meeting on the crescent area as you enter the park from the Parliament end, by the Pankhurst statue, and tucked behind the Rodin sculpture. It’s a nice stretch of grass, and the kids can run free on the river side, as it is blocked off by an iron gate to Westminster Palace itself.
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Transport
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Buses come into this area from all around. 3 and 87 stop on St Margaret Street by the park. The nearest Tube is Westminster. Which is a few hundred yards away, down Bridge Street. Westminster Tube is disabled accessible, so it has lifts from all levels, up to street level. The final little lift up to the street, is the Bridge Street exit. So buggies and strollers are fine from that approach. You literally emerge under the shadow of Big Ben. (And there will be tourists taking photos.) You emerge into a very narrow and crowded pavement – so grab children by hand first. You turn right down Bridge Street, cross the road to the front of the Houses of Parliament, carry on down the entire length of the building, and the gates into the Park are on your left, as you walk past the final policeperson at the far end gates.
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You can see all this in very good detail, on Google Maps, if you input Victoria Tower Gardens and click to ‘satellite’. Zoom in, and you will see that the Underground is very close. You will also see the trees, statues, swings and Embankment seating.
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Car parking is very expensive and street parking lethal to try and get into. Disabled badges are not valid for double yellow lines etc, in Westminster. However, if you park across the river, you are in Lambeth, and blue disabled badges are valid there.
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Amenities
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Above Westminster Underground Station as you emerge into Bridge St, in the shadow of Big Ben, is a Tesco Express. It is a long thin corridor, stuffed with food, drink, crisps, chocolate, sandwiches and MP’s ‘run around people’ elbowing the tourists out of the way. The queue is awesomely long looking (the length of the shop) but there is 5 or 6 tills at the end, and it goes fast. No mother should be in Westminster, and not know it exists. Equally, the danish pastries are at toddler grab height.
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The public toilets are stepped, and 50p, but have a disabled toilet they say. They are underground the green triangle of lawn behind Parliament Square and in front of the Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre. However, six feet away, is Methodist Central Hall, which has a lovely cafe and nicer, free, toilets. It’s in Storey’s Gate, across from Westminster Abbey. It has a lot of fancy stone steps, so if you have a buggy, go for the disabled access entry to the left. The cafe and toilets are one level down, by the lift as you enter. Disabled toilet excellent.
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Ironically, the nearest toilet and cafe, and a lovely ‘wet weather’ area is actually inside Parliament. Westminster Hall is a wonder to behold, big enough for toddler freedom, has toilets and a cafe at that level, and has a fancy new walkway down to that level. Anyone can enter Westminster Hall, but you have to go through police security. If you have never been in, it is worth a look. If you appear to be part of the event in the Gardens, they may refuse you. So don’t try and enter with banners, badges etc. But if you have time to go through security (anywhere from 3 to 30 minutes) it is well worth a look. You can use a camera in there too.
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Rules of Engagement
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It is illegal to protest, demonstrate or hold a rally within half a mile of Parliament. It is not illegal to have a picnic, celebrate breastfeeding, and raise awareness of issues as long as you have received the proper permissions from the police. So, we are celebrating, and in doing so, raising awareness of an issue close to our hearts – our breasts! 😉 The Royal Parks are even stricter than Parliament Square, we can’t even have a table, or any posters or placards AT ALL.
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So we ask that no one bring homemade placards or banners. Feel free to wear anything slogany you want to, in terms of t-shirts etc, but bring nothing for your hands that looks like we are protesting.
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We’d like you, if possible, to invite your MP to the picnic.
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Things You Might Need
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The grass is nice, there is some shade, you may bring brollies etc. The breeze off the river can be sharp – so outer rain/wind wear reccommended, Just In Case.
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Bring your picnic, and something nice to sit on the grass with. Bring a rubbish bag, for clearing up.
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Bring cakes!!!!
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If are a baby wearer, babies and younger toddlers best strapped to you. Older toddlers and young children will need one adult to one child for eye-keeping on the side with the gates to the main road. But there is room for a good run about on the other side, and we’ll endevour to keep the kids on that side. We will have adults without kids there, and we will endeavour to help with games and letting them run about for part of the picnic, but we cannot stress enough that keeping the children safe is a priority.
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You can bring soft balls for games for children under 5 etc. Good wind for kites. Very small playground with a couple of swings at far end of park area.
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Bring cameras and take a lot of photos for our photo album.
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Modus Operandi
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The picnic is officially from noon, although there should be organisers there from about 11.30ish. Depends on traffic etc. We’re looking for the main part of the picnic to build up to about 1pm, when press will have been invited to attend, to give people time to relax from the trip. We were dead on our feet last year by 3pm, so we will likely all be gone by 3.05! 🙂
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If you have any particular special needs (such as knowing you are bringing a couple of walking kids and there is only one of you) email us and we’ll give you our mobile phone numbers in case you need help etc picnic@dreyfuss.demon.co.uk Also email if you can offer to help.
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On that, if you are coming and you are an adult without kids – please let us know! We need a dedicated band of adults watching out for the kids like a hawk! 🙂
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See you there!





Tasteless Toddlers – Get Some Class!

21 05 2009

Oh the horror!  A small child pretends to breastfeed a doll.  Doesn’t this lower class, chav like scummy little creature know that nice little girls bottle feed their dolls?  Doesn’t she know she is displaying every attribute of being a crude little attention seeking backstreet floozy?
Doesn’t she know it’s not normal?  It’s depraved and disgusting.
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Before you know where we are, she’s going to grow up and do it for real.
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Quick, get a pot of paint and paint out this obscene image.  Report her family to child protection services.  Get this child a plastic bottle with white fluid in it!  Stat!.
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Alternatively, email or write IMMEDIATELY to the Pennine Acute Hospitals Trust and tell them how wonderful this image is, and how responsible of them it was for them to have it on their walls during National Bash Breastfeeding Week.  Who knows, if we let them know how good it is, they may actually produce an official one for next year.  This one was simply made for the notice board, for that week.
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Do not put it off until later.  Do not do it tomorrow.  They are in the middle of a media storm RIGHT NOW, and the people who put this lovely little snap shot poster together, need to know you are rooting for them.  They need to know they are not going to get sacked/banned, all official materials censored and checked for ‘content’ every time they press print on the printer…and they are not going to be shunned in the canteen… and that what they did was thoughtful, inspiring and lovely.  They need your support: now.
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They also need to know what a lovely photo it is, and to be asked to tell the Mum of this darling little girl “Thank You!” for supplying this photo.  Sounds like the Trust really have got their head screwed on about how to make the breastfeeding is normal message accessible to all.  Pity to see them torn to shreds for innovative thinking, and an image most of us think is cute.  🙂
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This is the reality of lactaphobia people – when toddlers are told off for putting a doll under their shirt.  This is why women get ordered out of cafes. 
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Because breastfeeding is low class, scummy, cheap, tacky and crude.  
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And it’s shocking that a child is pretending to do such a tasteless thing.
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Contact them now: spread the word – support this poster, this child and her mother.  Tell the world that this is actually the normal behaviour.
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Three minutes effort to make a difference.  How often do you get that chance?
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Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust
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Trust Headquarters
North Manchester General Hospital
Delauneys Road
Crumpsall
M8 5RB
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Do this especially if you are one of my non-UK readers.  I imagine the breastfeeding support team at the trust, need to be able to walk in and say “We got congratulations and thanks from all over the world.”  🙂
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Speak Up.  Speak Out.  Speak True.
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EDIT:  The following has been sent in by Dr Karleen Gribble, from her research into breastfeeding and cultural practices:
An unexpected finding of this study was how common it was for children to role-play breastfeeding in games in which they sometimes showed a high level of knowledge of breastfeeding.  Role-play is recognised as a type of learning in which children imitate people around them in preparation for future roles (Edwards, 2000). Breastfeeding role-play has previously been reported in cultural contexts where breastfeeding is common (e.g. Goldman & Smith, 1998) and it is sometimes valued as important preparation for mothering. Thus, anthropological research in northern Australia described how young aboriginal girls practiced breastfeeding via the use of clay ‘dolls’ and ‘breasts’ as a part of their formal learning (Thomson, 1983). Similarly, in parts of Africa, dolls are considered ‘educational toys’ to be used by young girls to practice baby-care, including feeding (Roy, 1981). Interestingly, dolls are commonly used as a learning tool in antenatal classes inwhich positioning of a baby doll at the breast is considered a type of performance accomplishment aimed at increasing post-natal maternal confidence (Noel-Weiss, Bassett, & Cragg, 2006).
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A lack of experience and knowledge of breastfeeding prior to birth has been identified as contributing to breastfeeding difficulties and early weaning (Dykes & Williams, 1999; Hill & Aldag, 1991). However, this study demonstrated that learning about breastfeeding can begin in childhood and that children are capable of acquiring valuable information about breastfeeding though observation, discussion and role-play. It can be hypothesised that the embodied knowledge resulting from girls regularly seeing breastfeeding, talking about breastfeeding and playing breastfeeding games may assist them to breastfeed in adulthood. The high level of knowledge about breastfeeding that some of the children in this study demonstrated is in contrast to previous research in which children were found to have little knowledge of breastfeeding and to consider bottle feeding as the default way to feed a baby (Russell et al., 2004). 
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It is clear that children develop an understanding of what is normal with regards infant feeding by observing what they see around them. Thus, if children predominantly observe babies being bottle fed, they develop an understanding that babies are normally bottle fed. Television and children’s picture books could play an important educative role in this area; however, rather than normalising breastfeeding, these mediums commonly present bottle feeding as ordinary and breastfeeding as problematic (Altshuler, 1995; Henderson, 1999; Henderson, Kitzinger, & Green, 2000). Further, children are encouraged to practice bottle feeding by the almost universal provision of bottles with baby dolls. Thus, even in an environment where breastfeeding is common, children may bottle feed rather than breastfeed their dolls (Nakamura, Veiga, Ferrarese, & Martinez, 2003).
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Since children can learn significant information about breastfeeding through breastfeeding role-play, it is logical to consider whether bottle feeding play may similarly educate children about bottle feeding and, if so, whether this is a problem. There has been no research carried out in this area. However, it can be surmised that bottle feeding role-play could assist children in learning how to hold a baby while bottle feeding, that infant satisfaction is gained by provision of a visually measured amount of milk and that bottle feeding is normal. Such learning could be harmful. Previous experience with bottle feeding negatively impacts the ability of mothers to breastfeed. This is because mothers attempt to transfer knowledge they have gathered about bottle feeding to breastfeeding (Mohrbacher & Kendall-Tackett, 2005; Renfrew, Fisher, & Arms, 2004). This can cause decreased maternal confidence in breastfeeding, physical difficulties with breastfeeding, low milk supply and misinterpretation of infant behaviour in ways that increase the likelihood of weaning (Bailey, Pain, & Aarvold, 2004; Hoddinott & Pill, 1999; Mohrbacher & Kendall-Tackett, 2005; Righard, 1998). Familiarity with bottle feeding over breastfeeding also makes bottle feeding the default form of feeding and so if mothers experience breastfeeding challenges, they more quickly revert to the type of feeding with which they are comfortable (Bailey et al., 2004). In addition, bottle feeding play may create the expectancy of bottle feeding.
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Research has found that modelling of adult activities in play can encourage acceptance of the modelled behaviour as normal and desirable and increase the uptake of that behaviour in adulthood (Dalton et al., 2005; Klein et al., 1992; Klein & St Clair, 2000). This may apply to bottle feeding as a modelled behaviour. Clearly more research in this area is required.
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‘As good as chocolate’ and ‘better than ice cream’: How toddler, and older, breastfeeders experience breastfeeding
Karleen D. Gribble  
School of Nursing, University of Western Sydney,
Sydney, Australia
First Published on: 23 November 2007

To cite this Article: Gribble, Karleen D. (2007) ”As good as chocolate’ and ‘better than ice cream’: How toddler, and older, breastfeeders experience breastfeeding’,   Early Child Development and Care, 1 – 16 To link to this article: DOI: 10.1080/03004430701764176 





The Politics of Breastfeeding

10 05 2009

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Read This Book

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Smoke & Spin

9 05 2009
I mentioned earlier this week about the UK Gov finally stating in their press release that breastfeeding would be covered in the upcoming Equalities Bill.
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I had hoped to be able to take some time and get some answers from my MP, amongst others, as to what the Bill actually proposes. Unfortunately, I’m finding more and more comment and opinion pieces, all over the internet and mothering forums, on how ‘great’ it is that breastfeeding is finally going to be protected in England & Wales, and even suggesting MPs need letters telling them to support the Bill.
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In light of this, I think it’s important to make some things very clear to you all about the wording of the bill. And note, this is the wording of the bill itself, not the wording in media press releases or shiny Government published leaflets.
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Breastfeeding is mentioned in 2 places in the proposed new Bill, Clause 16 and Clause 17. Clause 17 is actually pretty good – it’s about protection in the workplace, so that a Mum must be treated equally if she is breastfeeding. Fab.
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Clause 16 is about treatment outside the workplace, and reads:
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16 Pregnancy and maternity discrimination: non-work cases
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(1) This section has effect for the purposes of the application to the protected characteristic of pregnancy and maternity of –
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(a) Part 3 (services and public functions);
(b) Part 4 (premises);
(c) Chapter 2 of Part 6 (further or higher education);
(d) Part 7 (associations).
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(2) A person (A) discriminates against a woman if A treats her less favourably because of a pregnancy of hers.
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(3) A person (A) discriminates against a woman if, in the period of 26 weeks beginning with the day on which she gives birth, A treats her less favourably because she has given birth.
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(4) The reference in subsection (3) to treating a woman less favourably because she has given birth includes, in particular, a reference to treating her less favourably because she is breast-feeding.
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(5) For the purposes of this section, the day on which a woman gives birth is the day on which.
(a) she gives birth to a living child, or
(b) she gives birth to a dead child (more than 24 weeks of the pregnancy having passed).
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(6) Section 13, so far as relating to sex discrimination, does not apply to anything done in relation to a woman in so far as.
(a) it is for the reason mentioned in subsection (2), or
(b) it is in the period, and for the reason, mentioned in subsection (3).

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(7) In this section and section 17, a reference to a woman being treated less favourably is a reference to her being treated less favourably than is reasonable.
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Notice the reference to breastfeeding in public spaces there? No, me neither. All I see is one line that says categorically “We mean breastfeeding is part of this.” Which is nice…but, and oh this is a lovely big but.. I do see specific mention of 26 weeks. That’s six months. This is the confusion that Downing Street spin sparked last year, when they made an announcement that it would finally be legal to breastfeed a baby under six months in England & Wales. Total claptrap as it is legal to breastfeed in public spaces in England & Wales. When challenged, the Gov admitted that there was no limit to Maternity protection per se. And their press release says ‘no age limit’. Keep that in mind, I’ll get back to this.
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The issue is not about it being legal to breastfeed in public spaces, the issue is about being protected from inteference whilst you are going about your lawful business – ie, feeding your child.
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So where is breastfeeding in public spaces in Clause 16, the very Clause to be used about breastfeeding in public spaces? I’ll tell you where it is, it’s in the examples:
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Examples
• A café owner must not ask a woman to leave his café because she is breast-feeding her baby.
• A shopkeeper must not refuse to sell cigarettes to a woman because she is pregnant.
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So there we have it. Compare it to the Scottish wording:
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2. The purpose of section 1 of the Bill is to safeguard the right of a child under the age of two years of age to be fed milk in a public place or licensed premises, where the child otherwise lawfully permitted to be. Accordingly, the Bill does not affect Scottish licensing law, nor does it prevent a business from excluding breastfeeding on its premises where the lawful custom or practice is to exclude children generally. Where a child is lawfully permitted to be in a public place or licensed premises, that child may be fed bottled milk, and the child’s mother (or any other woman who has charge of the child) will be entitled to breastfeed him or her if she so chooses. Any person who deliberately prevents or stops (or attempts to prevent or stop) a person from bottlefeeding or breastfeeding a child in such circumstances will be guilty of an offence, liable on conviction to fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale (currently £2,500).
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Wee bit different, ain’t it?
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In Scotland, you interfere, and the mother picks up her mobile phone, phones the police, the police come and explain to the person trying to stop the feed, that they are committing an unlawful act which if convicted, will result in a £2500 fine. Mother carries on feeding and is not thrown out of the cafe. Do note this law safeguards the right of the child.
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In England…? What? Well, if I read it right, and I’m not a lawyer… this is what the proposed Equalities Bill says…
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108 Jurisdiction
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(1) A county court or, in Scotland, the sheriff has jurisdiction to determine a claim relating to.
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(a) a contravention of Part 3 (services and public functions);
(b) a contravention of Part 4 (premises);
(c) a contravention of Part 6 (education);
(d) a contravention of Part 7 (associations);
(e) a contravention of section 102, 105 or 106 that relates to Part 3, 4, 6 or 7.
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So, what, the mother thrown out of the cafe, then sues for damages in a county court? This is exactly that has been said is already the case in England & Wales. And has been stated repeatedly, by the Gov, they are just making a bit clearer, and ‘strengthening’ the understanding.
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“This type of discrimination has in fact been unlawful for more than thirty years, and the mother – with a baby of any age – could challenge the owner under the Sex Discrimination Act.” Barbara Follett, July 2008.
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So where is the new protection? What is the new protection? Mentioning it under ‘six months’ Maternity provision? That’s not new, that’s clarifying another way to do things.
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What, in fact, is protection in the eyes of the UK Government, as far as England & Wales is concerned? The ability to claim in a civil court, under your own responsibility and cost, for damages after the event? Or to prevent the event happening in the first place?
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Incidentally, after six months isn’t even in a civil court, if I read it correctly…it’s a Sexual Discrimination tribunal! And we all know how easy, cheap and emotionally smooth those are, for women who’ve got 16 suitcases of files proving they’ve been discriminated against at work! Never mind can prove they were thrown out of a cafe for breastfeeding. What’s the cafe owner going to do, sign a piece of paper stating that’s why he threw her out? Need I repeat this another time?
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Oh, and don’t miss out on the last few words of section 7…. treated less favourably than is reasonable. One wonders what a county court would deem to be reasonable in a case of breastfeeding in public? You don’t think how much breast might have been exposed, may impact on that, do you? Heaven forfend it was an over the top bra motion, and no pashmina!
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I said I wasn’t a lawyer, and I’d not wanted to post on this yet. That’s because I’d asked my MP, Alistair Burt, to clarify all this stuff, by asking directly. Alistair and I don’t see eye to eye on a lot of things, especially Yarl’s Wood, but he is an exceptionally hard working MP for his constituents and he will follow through doggedly on requests for clarity. His office has responded and is on the case… but there simply hasn’t been time to get decent answers out of the Government. So I’d wanted my fears about this proposed new legislation confirmed, so I could bring you answers, not questions.
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However.
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In light of all the publicity sweeping through breastfeeding protection circles, trumpeting this Bill as a glorious new step… I felt it was only right to bring my questions to you all, and ask you to do the same: get your MP to ask the questions about what this Bill actually means. It is really important we challenge what is going on in this Bill, and get a really good sense of what it actually means, before going off on a lovely relaxed break from campaigning as it’s all sorted. I don’t believe it’s all sorted one bit – I think we are being fooled into putting our feet up and putting the kettle on, whilst we still need to be outside The House, demanding protection for our babies to have the right to feed free from interference.
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You can write your MP here, put in your postcode and it will give your your MP’s name and you can then click to email them direct. I know some of you struggle to formulate letters, so you could use the following, personalised for you:
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Dear
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I’m writing to request you seek clarification from the Government on the details of how breastfeeding in public spaces is protected under the proposed Equalities Bill. Specifically, could you ask what would happen if a mother was asked to stop feeding her child, and leave a cafe? Would she have to leave, when asked, and then bring a claim after the event?
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I’d also appreciate you inquiring what protection a mother has if she is approached in the street, or on premises, from a passer-by and not the staff or owner of the premises? If a fellow passenger on the train, for instance, starts to demand she stop feeding and leave the carriage, what protection would the mother have under the Equalities Bill?
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As you know, if this took place in Scotland, the mother could have either staff, or passer by, charged for an offence liable to a £2500 fine. I’m greatly concerned that the proposals in the Equalities Bill are not equal to this and would ask that you seek clarification on my behalf.
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Yours…
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I’d so love to find out I’m wrong, and have egg all over my face…!
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Why is this important, really, challenging them on this? Isn’t that fact that they’ve mentioned breastfeeding at all, a triumph?
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I’d argue not. I’d argue that they’ve been put under huge pressure on this, and they have had to sit up and take notice. But that they have no intention of actually making real changes. This smoke and mirrors Bill is about reducing the pressure. And it’s working: so many people are going on about how great it is. Also, and this is really important, the chances of this Bill being passed are very slim. As soon as a General Election is called, this bill is dead.. and the Bill has serious, serious flaws in it that will require a great deal of work.
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My worry is that all this trumpeting will create the impression that the work is done – we are there, we have protection, and that’s it’s already happened. And even what’s in this Bill, is unlikely ever to be passed. Although that doesn’t appear to matter, as it’s all in law already, right?
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And whilst we all put our feet up, make the tea, and chat about how wonderful it is… somewhere, a young Mum will find herself thrown out a shopping mall for breastfeeding her six week old baby. And she’ll stand there and say “You can’t throw me out, I’m protected.” and the security guards will escort her off the premises regardless. Far fetched? Two weeks ago, Emily Pulling was breastfeeding her six week old baby in a shopping mall in London. She was approached by a security guard. As it happened, baby finished before the guard arrived. Emily asked why the guard was approaching her. The guard said “Oh it’s all right now, you’ve stopped anyway…”
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We’ll see you in Westminster on Monday July 20th.
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EDIT: 13th May, 2009
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I had cause to write to UNICEF UK, and complain that they were asking mothers to write their MP and asking them to support the Equalities Bill as it was introducing breastfeeding protection. I said to UNICEF UK, what I said above, that as far as I could see, there was no new protection, and if a mother was asked to leave a cafe, she would have to go. UNICEF UK replied that this was correct.
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So we do have confirmation that indeed, under this legislation, which is already in place anyway, if a mother is asked to leave premises, SHE MUST DO SO.
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My point to UNICEF is my point to all and any breastfeeding support agencies who make public statements about supporting Clause 16: you are setting back the date, significantly, on getting proper protection for babies and mothers in England & Wales. Every time any agency says up front it is supporting Clause 16, you are saying It Is Good Enough. And when we ask for more, we’ll be told “Everyone was happy with this legislation.” It will be used to close down any dialogue and to resist pressure for proper protection. It may be a generation before we get back on track.
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It is perfectly feasible to state you are happy that the Government is taking breastfeeding protection seriously, and you support Clause 17 wholeheartedly, but that Clause 16 is not good enough. It is perfectly feasible to respond to overtures from the UK Government about improvements, without rolling over dead and letting them tickle your tummy.
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Please spread the word, that if a mother supports Clause 16 she is supporting a law that means if she is asked to leave a cafe for breastfeeding, she has to do so. No one should sign up for this, without knowing that is what they are doing. In my opinion, none of the breastfeeding protection agencies should be mentioning this Bill, without making this fact expressly clear, and stating that this is Just Not Good Enough.
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Dear Morgan,
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Thank you for your email about the Equality Bill.
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UNICEF UK welcomes the breastfeeding provisions in the Equality Bill as we see them as an important step towards realising objective 5 of the Breastfeeding Manifesto to develop policy and practice to support breastfeeding in public. Legislation is only one part of the framework required to encourage a supportive environment for breastfeeding mothers however we believe these clauses send out a message that breastfeeding is an important and natural practice.
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The Equality Bill is anti-discrimination legislation whereas the law that was introduced by Elaine Smith in 2005 in Scotland introduced a criminal offence which made it illegal to prevent a child being fed milk (artificial or breast) in a public place..
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UNICEF UK welcomes legislative measures that lead to a more supportive environment for breastfeeding. For this reason, in 2005 we supported David Kidney MP’s attempt to introduce legislation in England and Wales that was similar to Elaine Smith’s Breastfeeding etc. (Scotland) Bill. His Bill did not become law however we continue to support attempts to promote and protect breastfeeding through legislation and other means.
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It is true that if this Bill becomes law as it is, a café owner could ask a woman to leave the café, but this bill would make that request unlawful. This is not the same as what parents in Scotland have, which is an absolute right to feed a child under 2 years milk (breast or formula) in a public place. By welcoming this provision in the Equality Bill we are not suggesting that there is not more work to be done. Far from it, we are actively working to create a better understanding of the importance of breastfeeding in Parliament and Government. To coincide with National Breastfeeding Awareness Week we have published
The UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative: Improving the health of the UK through breastfeeding which outlines the barriers to breastfeeding as well as the work of the Baby Friendly Initiative to overcome these. It you would like a hard copy of this briefing paper please send me your address
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Regards,
Senay
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Senay Camgoz
Senior UK Policy and Parliamentary Officer




Anti-Breastfeeding Backlash Antidote

9 05 2009

Double click the image, if you find the edge trim annoying – it will take you to the full width clip on YouTube