A well informed staff is critical to the support of breastfeeding patrons within an establishment. Clear guidelines minimize confusion or misinterpretation of expectations.
Staff need to know why welcoming breastfeeding in public is important, and what is expected of them.
1. Staff are expected to welcome mothers to breastfeed anywhere customers are allowed. Welcoming can simply mean allowing the mother to breastfeed undisturbed. Welcoming can also mean accommodating a mother’s needs. For example, if a mother requests a place to sit, staff may direct her to the nearest chair. Each mother decides how much she will or will not cover up based on her personal comfort level and the needs of her baby.
2. If a mother requests privacy, staff are expected to direct her to a designated private location. Staff are expected to respect the law. Alabama law does not require that a mother go to a private location or bathroom to breastfeed her child. Staff should be prepared to advise mothers about a nearby non-bathroom private location if she requests privacy.
3. If another customer complains to staff in regards to the breastfeeding mother, inform the customer that the law supports breastfeeding in public. Offer to make other accommodations to help the customer be more comfortable while maintaining the mother’s right to breastfeed without relocating or being asked to cover.
“I hear and understand that you are uncomfortable. However, Alabama law protects breastfeeding in public, and our policy is to welcome breastfeeding within our establishment. Is there something that I can do to help you feel more comfortable?”
Ala. Code § 22-1-13.
“A mother may breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be present.“
The National Conference of State Legislature website lists breastfeeding laws by state. (http://www.ncsl.org/research/health/breastfeeding-state-laws.aspx)
Breastfeeding support policies provide a clear message to business employees and patrons about the organization’s position on breastfeeding.
A sample policy might state:
[Business Name] provides a welcoming environment to breastfeeding mothers. Mothers are permitted to breastfeed in any location patrons are normally welcomed within [Business Name]. Personnel provide a welcoming environment, and, to the fullest extent possible, encourage support from other customers.
For a breastfeeding support policy pertaining to breastfeeding employees, please see this sample provided by the Kansas Business Case for Breastfeeding. (http://kansasbusinesscase.com/for_employers/nursing_policy_example)
Open your doors to breastfeeding families
& welcome breastfeeding today!