Bicester businesses offer new mums a warm welcome to feed their babies in public

From car mechanics to chiropractors, businesses across Bicester have joined together to show their support for new parents wishing to feed their babies in public places.

Published: Thursday, 1st August 2019

Today (Thursday 1 August) marks the start of World Breastfeeding Week and community wellbeing partnership, Healthy Bicester, have gathered a list of venues where mums will be made to feel welcome to nourish their little ones, however they choose.

One of those putting their name to the initiative is Bicester Tyre and Exhausts, a family-run business off Victoria Road. The owner, Thomas Marshall, is expecting his own baby imminently and was keen to take part. Thomas said: “If customers need to feed their infants, they are more than welcome to do so on our premises. We will always try and make it as comfortable as possible for them.”

Also on the list is Bicester Leisure Centre. Liyen Matthew is General Manager and said: “Mums shouldn't need to choose between going out or feeding their babies. All parents are welcome to bring their little ones with them to any of our centres, including Bicester, the Spiceball Leisure Centre in Banbury and the Kidlington and Gosford Leisure Centre. They'll always have the support from our staff. ”

Healthy Bicester is a scheme designed to promote the physical and mental wellbeing of residents living in the town. The project was previously funded by the NHS but since March has been financed by Cherwell District Council.

Cllr Andrew McHugh, Cherwell’s lead member for health and wellbeing said: “Being a new parent can be difficult at the best of times. Sometimes even going outside can feel like a challenge. That’s why it’s so important that businesses in Bicester have come together to offer their support.

“This isn’t about the science of what’s best to feed your baby. It’s about showing mums and dads that wherever they go in the town, whether it’s for an opticians appointment or a tyre change, they are welcome to nourish their baby whilst they are there.”

Treating women unfavourably because they are breastfeeding is discriminatory under the Equality Act 2010. That applies to anyone providing services, benefits, facilities and premises open to the public. Owners of these businesses have a legal requirement to allow women to feed their youngsters on the premises and cannot ask them to move or ‘cover-up’.

The following establishments have pledged to support new parents by declaring themselves to be “baby feeding friendly”. This is not an exhaustive list and any business wishing to be added can contact the Healthy Bicester team via their social media pages:

  • Bicester Chiropractic (at 2a Sheep Street)
  • Bicester Tyre and Exhausts
  • Warrens Bakery
  • Dove & Conway Opticians
  • Stansfield & Hoole
  • FLTR
  • Thirteen Bicester
  • Savoir Fare
  • Bicester Leisure Centre
  • Kingsmere Community Centre and café