Green party demands breast feeding law

Mothers should have a guaranteed right to breastfeed in public, the leader of the Green party has demanded.

As World Breastfeeding Week drew to an end, Natalie Bennett said England should follow Scotland's example and make it an offence to stop nursing mothers from feeding their babies in public places.

"Many women who want to breastfeed are prevented from starting or continuing to because of lack of adequate support and advice, as well as the continued stigma about breastfeeding in public spaces. This is despite the fact that it is one of the most natural acts on the planet," Sarah Cope, chair of Green Party Women, said.

"The more women that are supported to breastfeed, the more normalised breastfeeding will once again become.

"The wealth of evidence about the multiple health benefits of breastfeeding to both mother and baby means this is something we need to urgently support, and a change in the law in order to bring England in line with Scotland would do just that."

The call comes after a mother of five was ordered out of a Jobcentre meeting when she started to breastfeed her baby.

Tara Powell, 29, covered her baby with a blanket but was still asked to leave the Bromley office.

"My son was hungry and crying so I took him from his chair and undid my bra and started feeding him," she told the Mirror.

"There was just me and the one woman in the room so I didn't think it would be an issue. She told me to 'stop that' when I started feeding and I was stunned.

"She said it was making her feel uncomfortable and that's when I covered him over, but she then said the appointment would have to be 'terminated'.

"She kept repeating how disgusting it was and just got more worked up. I told her I didn't want the meeting to be rescheduled because I am moving house but she wouldn't listen."

She later won an unreserved apology from the Department for Work and Pensions.

"We have apologised to Ms Powell," a spokesperson said.

"Mothers are welcome to feed their babies when visiting us."