Legally in Canada, you can nurse your baby out in public wherever you and your baby are allowed to be. You may never have anyone say anything negative to you but it certainly does happen. It can help your confidence to plan out what you might say if someone questions your right to breastfeed in a particular place or suggests you should cover up. See LLLC’s Dealing with Thoughtless Remarks for ideas.
Getting comfortable breastfeeding away from your home base can take some time. Many mothers have had their first “public” breastfeeding experience at a La Leche League meeting. Knowing that you are in the company of others who are breastfeeding can help you relax as your baby latches. For those who are pregnant, seeing breastfeeding babies of all sizes can help you visualize yourself breastfeeding your own baby. You can find a local La Leche League Group by checking the LLLC website. You may want to start by nursing in the home of a close friend or family member. With a little practice you can comfortably nurse your baby in many different environments.
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects breastfeeding women from discrimination based on sex and guarantees “gender equality” under the law. The Canadian Supreme Court has ruled that discrimination on the basis of pregancy is a form of sex discrimination. (See Supreme Court of Canada decision, Brooks v. Canadian Safeway Ltd. (1989), 59 D.L.R. (4th) 321 (S.C.C.), Dickson C.J.C.). Many provinces and territories in Canada have protected the breastfeeding rights of parents in their provincial Human Rights Legislation. Below is a list of provincial and territorial Human Rights agencies.
If you need more support please reach out to a La Leche League Canada Leader in your province or territory.
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Updated July 2022