Breastfeeding for Businesses

Your guide to becoming a breastfeeding friendly place

Why Welcome Breastfeeding?

Workplaces must support breastfeeding employees to stay in compliance with the law.

The Ontario Human Rights Commission states, “Women cannot be discriminated against in any way because they have chosen to breastfeed.” The employee and the employer need to collaborate on the arrangements to permit the mother to breastfeed upon her return to work. “Employees who require breaks, such as for pumping or breastfeeding, should normally be accorded those breaks, and not be asked to forgo normal meal breaks as a result, or work additional time to make up for the breaks, unless the employer can show undue hardship.”

What’s in it for your business?

All parents have the right to breastfeed their child in a public area. Many businesses, organizations and municipalities already welcome breastfeeding in their premises. The benefits to becoming a breastfeeding friendly place include:

  • Making an improvement to customer service.
  • Possibly attracting a new customer base.
  • Possibly improving your image and increasing your publicity.

What’s in it for the community?

Breastfeeding is environmentally friendly; it imposes no costs on the environment in terms of production, packaging or waste disposal.
Breastfeeding parents need to be fully supported by all sectors of the community. You are a vital part of creating that supportive environment and in doing so will create opportunities for healthier people, healthier relationships and a healthier community.

Why is breastfeeding important?

  • Promotes closeness and bonding between child and parent.
  • Reduces risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
  • Saves time and money.
  • Safe and secure food source for a child when travelling and in emergencies.
  • Reduces ear, chest and stomach infections in children.
  • Lowers a child’s risk of obesity, diabetes, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and Leukemia.
  • Supports the healthy development of a child’s brain.

Taking Action

What can you do?

Follow these three simple steps to welcome breastfeeding families:

Step 1: Inform your staff

Well informed staff are critical to creating a breastfeeding friendly place. Clear guidelines or policies create clear expectations.

Here are some ways to ensure your staff are well informed:

  • Ensure staff are aware that the right to breastfeed a child in a public area is protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code.
  • Inform your staff of the Make Breastfeeding Your Business campaign, share this guide, Staff Tips, and discuss ways that staff can support breastfeeding in your premise.
  • Inform all new staff that your establishment welcomes breastfeeding families and keep track of staff that have received information.
  • Support breastfeeding employees with breaks for breastfeeding or pumping.

Step 2: Inform families

  • Post the “Breastfeeding is Welcome Here” sticker on the door or window of your business.
  • If you have one, promote that you provide a space for parents who choose to feed their babies in private or to pump.
  • If you have one, promote there is a place is for parents to change their child.

Step 3: Inform the public

"Breastfeeding Welcome Here" symbol/sticker

  • Advertise that you are a breastfeeding friendly place! Take a selfie with the international breastfeeding symbol sticker and tweet it @LetsTalkParents and we will be sure to retweet! Use the hashtag #MakeBreastfeedingYourBusiness
  • Post it on Facebook @LetsTalkParenting and we will share your post! More people will know that you support breastfeeding families!
  • Encourage your staff members to do the same, the greater the reach and promotion for your business, the better!

Where can you learn more about breastfeeding?

Staff tips for supporting breastfeeding in public

Share the information below with your staff to support breastfeeding families in your business. You can also print a poster copy of this information to post in your staff lunch or break area (attached below).

Promoting, protecting and supporting breastfeeding. Respecting the decision each parent makes about how to feed their baby.

Health Canada recommends babies receive only breastmilk for the first six months of life. Breastfeeding is encouraged to continue after solid foods are introduced up to two years of age and beyond.

Here are some ways you can help breastfeeding families feel more comfortable:

  • Ask a person with a baby where they would like to sit so they can pick a comfortable spot.
  • Make eye contact with a breastfeeding parent to show you are comfortable and you support them. Talk to them about their baby.
  • Accommodate a parent’s request for privacy. If available, direct them to an area that is more private.
  • Note that washrooms are not a suitable place for anyone to eat, including a breastfeeding child.
  • Be supportive of coworkers who are breastfeeding.

If a customer expresses concern about a person breastfeeding in public:

  • Explain that you are a breastfeeding-friendly business that welcomes breastfeeding.
  • Explain that the Ontario Human Rights Code protects the right to breastfeed in public. A parent should not be asked to stop, cover up, or asked to move to another area.
  • Offer to move the concerned customer to another seat instead of offering another seat to the breastfeeding parent.