Breastfeeding in public: a Louvre agent refuses a mother to breastfeed

After two hours of visiting the Louvre, Jasmine sits on a bench in the Richelieu gallery to breastfeed her five-and-a-half-month-old daughter. But an agent of the Parisian museum clarifies to him that breastfeeding is not allowed, considering “that it could disturb some of the visitors”. What the law says ?

Breastfeeding at the Louvre Museum: an agent opposes a young mother

Last July, an Australian mother saw herself prohibit breastfeeding in public, at the Disneyland Paris park arousing the indignation of Internet users, including Minister Marlène Schiappa who had recalled that breastfeeding in public was not a deli. This time it’s at Louvre Museum that an agent intervened to clarify that breastfeeding in public was not permittedoffering the young mother to go to the toilets of the Parisian museum on the grounds that “this could disturb some of the visitors” tells Jasmine to the newspaper Le Parisien. “My little Lana, five and a half months old, was hungry. It was 5 p.m., there was hardly anyone in the room. So I decided to feed her here,” specifies the young mother, Franco-American. But the agent doesn’t seem to want to hear anything. We stayed for two minutes and then we decided to leave the museum so I could breastfeed outside. I was surprised. We are in France and until then I could breastfeed my daughter everywhere without worry.“, she adds. Following this controversy, the Louvre Museum apologized, stating that the agent in question had not yet been identified. The museum reminds the Parisian that the visiting rules absolutely do not prohibit breastfeeding in the rooms. “There may have been a misinterpretation of the rules. This lady did well to write to us, we are going to give a general reminder of the instructions” specifies the management who also recalls that a space is dedicated to young mothers, with a armchair and armrests, as well as a bottle warmer to take care of baby.

Are we allowed to breastfeed in public?

Currently, there is no law prohibiting breastfeeding in public, in any place. There is even a special mention to allow women to breastfeed in their workplace, in the labor code. They have one hour a day to feed their child on site. A bill led by Bérangère Poletti aims to legislate the question of breastfeeding and to promote it in the public space, because “the direct environment in which breastfeeding takes place by the mother is decisive” specifies the text of the law. The objective is to offer a legal framework to women who decide to breastfeed their child, without anything being able to restrict or oppose them. “There is no justification for refusing to breastfeed a child, regardless of the place”specifies bill number 3964. This proposal was born from the observation that breastfeeding is declining in France, and that its duration is often too short, according to the Epifane Survey (Epidemiology in France of food and the state nutritional status of children during their first year of life) of 2012. In France, breastfeeding in the public space is still often rejected from a cultural point of view today. Because giving the breast is often perceived as exhibitionism. Although the definition of this act has nothing to do, since it is a “sexual deviation in which the public exhibition of the penis, accompanied by masturbation, replaces any other form of sexual intercourse”, according to the Larousse.

Where to breastfeed in public?

In France, it is authorized to breastfeed absolutely everywhere, including in indoor or outdoor public places.. If the law still lacks clarity on this subject, it advocates breastfeeding unconditionally, in view of the many public health studies on the benefits of it. So you can breastfeed in the street, in a park, at the post office, in a waiting room a doctor or a town hall… There is no geographical contraindication to breast-feeding.

Breastfeeding in public with a diaper, clothes and tips?

Since breastfeeding in public is allowed, there is no obligation for young mothers to use special clothes. However, some feel more comfortable with nursing clothes, T-shirts, dresses, sweatshirts, sweaters that make breastfeeding convenient, such as models of the French brand Tajine Banane.

nursing-top-les-boobies
Les Boobies nursing tops © The Boobies

They allow you to breastfeed without having to lift your T-shirt, without getting cold and without having to reveal yourself too much in public. Their objective is not to preserve others from seeing the breast, but to simplify breastfeeding for women. This is also what another French brand offers, Boobies. Its clothes are produced in Nîmes with respect for the environment and have an exclusive and patented closing system. A well-placed opening on the sides allows you to breastfeed in peace, with an ideal size so that baby can suckle without the breast being compressed in the slot.

You can also opt for a nursing bra which helps to have easier access to the breast, or wear clothes that unbutton in front (dress, blouse). Another option, for those who are uncomfortable breastfeeding in public, is to cover yourself with a diaper while the baby suckles. But none of these solutions are mandatory, they are simply intended to offer peace of mind to nursing mothers.

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