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Breastfeeding and the law

A mother’s right to breastfeed her child in public places is protected by law both federally and in every State and Territory. It is illegal to treat a woman less favourably than another person in education, employment or access to premises or services on the basis that she is breastfeeding. For example:

  • A woman cannot be asked to leave a café for breastfeeding her baby
  • A woman cannot be refused employment because she is breastfeeding
  • A woman cannot be expelled from an educational institution because she is breastfeeding.

Further information on the laws protecting a woman’s right to breastfeed her child can be found the following articles

How can you help?

If you have, or someone you know has, been discriminated against on the grounds of breastfeeding, you can:

  • Take this as an opportunity to educate the person or organisation who you believe discriminated against you. Explain that their conduct is illegal and that such conduct is not only hurtful but can also be grounds for a complaint to your local anti-discrimination body.
  • Lodge a complaint with your local anti-discrimination body. This body can help the people involved try to work out a solution, which might involve an apology, a change in policy, staff training programs, refunds of fees and sometimes, compensation for hurt and humiliation suffered.