Breastfeeding on public transport

A baby on a busSuch is the fast-moving pace of the internet that if we’d started writing this entry at dinnertime, it would have needed a follow-up already. What started as a lead story in the Manchester Evening News about a young woman who was ordered off a bus by the driver for breastfeeding her baby had, by the afternoon, turned into a denial from Stagecoach that the incident had occurred following an examination of the CCTV – though not quickly enough to prevent the story from reaching the attention of the national media.

If the incident didn’t happen as the woman described, this will have been at least the third time this year that stories about a bus driver’s conduct have made the national news, but that CCTV evidence has subsequently seemed to disprove. This follows on from the two-year old ordered off a bus for wearing an England shirt in Stoke-on-Trent and a similar incident with a mother ordered off a bus in Bristol for breastfeeding. We’ll not comment any further on the incident until further developments occur, except to say that the reports in the news will do nothing to enhance the image of public transport in the eyes of the general public, whether accurate or not.

Not having any real experience with babies, it would be interesting to hear from any mothers out there. Obviously if baby wants feeding then baby needs to be fed, but should breastfeeding be encouraged on public transport? There’s little option but to breastfeed whilst flying due to the confined quarters, and trains run on rails which allows them to travel at higher speeds with little discomfort – but with a road vehicle such as a bus or car, does the possibility of sudden braking for other road users pose any significant risk to the baby? Should feeding wait until stationary, even if running the risk of the baby crying and potentially distracting the driver? Please leave your comments below.

[Image credit: “Mother and baby on the bus China” by dcmaster on Flickr]

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About James McCollom

Web geek and public transport user
This entry was posted in Buses. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Breastfeeding on public transport

  1. Martin Bryant says:

    I think, just as anywhere else in public, it should be allowed when it’s an absolute necessity. It’s hardly as if women just expose themselves for the fun of it – funny how such a small thing can cause such a storm.

  2. Nigel Barlow says:

    A starnge turn of events and wonder whether the Manchester Evening News may have been sold a pup by this 22 year old.
    Do people no longer fact check stories anymore in the face of trying to get an exclusive?

  3. I think it’s great that mothers can breastfeed in public places. But after conferring with friends who are mothers, I note that it is a legal requirement for children under three to use the correct child restraint whilst in a car. Buses are slightly different in that there’s no legal requirement to provide and wear seatbelts, and it would be impractical to make such a requirement – but it’s probably not ideal to have to breastfeed on a moving bus.

    If nothing else comes out of this, hopefully it will give drivers a refresher (should they need it) on company policy.

  4. Pingback: Breastfeeding mum update | Manchester Transport

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