Breastfeeding Education

Breastfeed Anytime, Anywhere

Nova Scotia's Human Rights Act and Breastfeeding Policy protect your right to breastfeed in public. Public places include restaurants, retail stores, shopping centers, theatres, and so forth. You should not be prevented from breastfeeding your baby in a public area. You should also not be asked to move to another area that is more discreet. If either of these things happens, you can file a complaint with the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission.

One of the great things about breastfeeding is that it makes it very easy for you and your baby to travel together. No fussing with bottles and formula. You can take baby anywhere, with little advanced planning. Your baby can be fed as soon as he or she starts to fuss. It will be easier for you if you can overcome any embarrassment you may have about breastfeeding in front of others. One way to become comfortable with feeding your baby in public is to practice breastfeeding in front of a mirror before you do it in front of others. This will allow you to see what others will see. You'll understand why most people will think your baby is just sleeping while he or she is breastfeeding.

There are many ways to protect your privacy while breastfeeding:

  • You can wear clothes that lift up from the waist.
  • You can drape a blanket or towel around you and your baby.
  • You can use a baby sling that will cover the baby while breastfeeding.
  • You can turn your body away from other people while your baby latches on.

You can also help support breastfeeding by being a role model for others. For example, you can breastfeed in front of children—your own, if you have any, and those of relatives and friends. They will be curious and will ask what you are doing. Answer truthfully and simply. You are educating the next generation.

“When I was new at breastfeeding, I felt embarrassed to feed my baby in front of others. I had never seen it done and neither had my husband. At first, he wanted me to leave the room to breastfeed if we were with his family. Gradually, he changed his attitude, which made it much easier for me. Now, this baby has been breastfed everywhere imaginable -- on the bus, in church, walking down the street. I wear her in a sling and no one even knows I'm feeding her.” ~ a nursing mother

Going to work or school

Breastfeeding can continue even if you return to work or school. Some possibilities are discussed below. You will have to figure out what will work best for you, your child, your family, and your situation.

Breastfeed during your busy day

You may be able to breastfeed during your breaks at work or between classes. This is possible if you are near your childcare provider. Or perhaps your partner or childcare provider could bring your child to you. This is a good option if your child is under six months and you are breastfeeding exclusively. You could even plan to do this short term while you and your baby are getting used to being separated. Talk to your employer or school to see what flexibility can be worked into your day.

“Jacob was nine months old when I went back to work. For the first couple of months, my husband was able to stay home with him. I would skip my coffee break and go home for lunch to breastfeed him. When he was eleven months old, he went to a day home. For the first month of this new arrangement, I continued to breastfeed him at lunchtime. This made the change of routine easier for us both. My boss was great about it. He was a new dad.” ~a nursing mother.

The Nova Scotia's Human Rights Act and Breastfeeding Policy protect you from discrimination at work. Your employer has a duty to try to accommodate you when you are breastfeeding. This could include things like allowing your baby to be brought into your workplace to be fed. Talk to your employer about your needs and plans. If your employer is reluctant to accommodate you, bring the provisions of the Human Rights Act and the Breastfeeding Policy to your employer's attention. The Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission can help you approach your employer about this issue. Employers must accommodate employees unless they can show that employee requests create undue hardship for them.

Feeding your baby when you can't be there

Expressing your breast milk allows your baby to get the benefits of breast milk even when you can't be there. You can do this by:

  • Building up a supply of stored breast milk.
  • Expressing during your breaks. If you don't have access to a refrigerator during your workday, you'll need an insulated container and ice packs to safely store the breast milk you collect. Be sure your baby's caregiver understands how to thaw and warm breast milk safely.

Be sure your baby's caregiver understands how to thaw and warm breastmilk safely. More information on expressing, storing and using breast milk can be found here.