Breastfeeding in Public? Know your rights


You will be harassed if you breastfeed in public.

Everyone's experience varies, but in my two years of breastfeeding in public, I never had so much as a dirty look. But not all our experiences are equal. Below you'll find resources to inform you of your rights. 

Know YOUR Rights

In Canada, Your right to breastfeed anywhere, anytime is protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. That covers every province and territory.

In the USA, there is no national law about breastfeeding in public. It's up to your state to decide. In 49 states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands, there are laws that allow moms to breastfeed in any public or private place.

Read on for links that explain your breastfeeding rights in each province.

In Ontario
According to the Ontario Human Rights Commission  policy, no one should stop a mother from breastfeeding her child, ask her to cover up or move her to another place. It is your right to breastfeed your baby in public.

If someone asks you to stop breastfeeding in public:

  1. Do what you need to do so that you can breastfeed your child comfortably.
  2. Talk to the owner, manager, or the individual who asked you to stop breastfeeding. Tell the person:
    • It is your right to breastfeed in public.
    • You will make a complaint to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario if you are asked again to leave, move or cover up.
  3. Follow up with a letter to the owner or manager. Explain what happened and inform the person that it is your right to breastfeed in public.
  4. Follow up with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario or call 1-866-598-0322.


Here are helpful links for all Canadian Provinces

British Columbia
New Brunswick,
I personally don't like the use of the word "Privilege" in their code. "Breastfeeding is a recognized privilege under human rights law" Breastfeeding (chestfeeding) isn't a privilege it's a human right. 
Nova Scotia
Newfoundland & Labrador This is all I can find, it isn't much. I was disappointed at the lack of searchable policy on the issue of breastfeeding in public. It just doesn't exist online for NFLD and Labrador.

I hope you've found this article helpful. I think social media is full of negative stories about breastfeeding and it can intimidate a first time breastfeeder. Not everyone has bad experiences chestfeeding in public. Dressing for success is key. Make sure you buy a comfortable nursing bra, and clothing designed for chesttfeeding. Having functional tops and dresses is so worth it. 
Why do I keep interchanging breastfeeding and chestfeeding, and what is chestfeeding?

Chestfeeding is the process of feeding a child human milk from a person’s chest. It’s is a term that can be used by anyone, but often is used by transgender and nonbinary people for whom the words breastfeeding or nursing are not an ideal fit.

I've been selling maternity clothing since 2015 and I've been "programmed" to use the word breastfeeding. I understand the the word breast is a sexualized word and a gendered word. Chestfeeding is a more inclusive term.  I'll be using both terms interchangeably in an attempt to be inclusive. 

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