Breastfeeding, expressing and child care

You can breastfeed and express anywhere that suits you and your baby, including when you are using childcare services. You do not need to ask permission. It is your right.

You can either keep breastfeeding your child or provide him with expressed breastmilk while he is in child care. It is against the law for a childcare service provider to discriminate against you because you are breastfeeding. The right to breastfeed is protected under the federal Sex Discrimination Act 1984. In addition, individual Australian States and Territories have passed their own laws to protect the rights of breastfeeding women in areas such as work, education and the provision of goods and services. Everybody who provides a child care service is covered by this requirement including: long day care, occasional care, family day care and in home care. It doesn’t matter if the service is not-for-profit or commercial.

Your childcare provider:

• cannot refuse your application for a childcare place, or not offer you a place, because your child is breastfed

• cannot ask you to stop breastfeeding when your child starts in care

• must let you breastfeed or express milk on the premises

• cannot refuse to feed your expressed breastmilk to your child

• must support you to keep breastfeeding or giving breastmilk to your child while he is in care.

Childcare services can be made more ‘breastfeeding friendly’ if they:

• inform parents that they support breastfeeding when the parents first make contact with the centre

• set up a comfortable place in the centre for mothers who want to breastfeed or express milk

• are positive about the baby’s mother leaving breastmilk for her baby.

When your child starts care, you should be able to make arrangements with your childcare service to help you keep breastfeeding your baby. You can download A Caregiver’s Guide to the Breastfed Baby. This leaflet explains how to store, handle and feed expressed breastmilk to babies.

There is more information about how to keep breastfeeding when returning to work on this website.

The Australian Breastfeeding Association has breastfeeding counsellors who are able to help mothers and caregivers with any queries as well as a website with breastfeeding information on a range of topics.

 © Australian Breastfeeding Association Reviewed September 2013