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    Woman kicked out of Aalst café for breastfeeding baby

    Breastfeeding in public is allowed "anywhere" and at "anytime" in Belgium. Credit: Pixabay

    A woman in Aalst took to social media to call out the managers of a café who removed her from their establishment for attempting to breastfeed her 3-month-old baby, telling her to “put in on Facebook” if she wasn’t happy.

    The woman said she was sharing a drink with her mother and a friend at The Dutch Inn, a café near the train station of the Flemish city, when her baby got hungry.

    “When I wanted to breastfeed, the woman immediately told me that there was ‘no place for this in a catering business’,” the woman wrote on her Facebook profile on Saturday.

    She said the couple who ran the café had already shown their dissatisfaction when she changed her infant daughter, writing that they had reacted “strangely.”

    Ik werd vandaag weggestuurd uit The Dutch Inn in Aalst toen ik mijn baby borstvoeding wou geven.Ik zat er samen met…

    Posted by Leonee Vannut on Saturday, February 15, 2020

     

    “When I tried to talk with them, the man took our drinks away and sent us away from the business, telling us: ‘Put it on Facebook if you don’t like it’,” the woman said, adding: “So here you go.”

    The woman’s post prompted outrage on Facebook and has been shared over 50 times, with dozens of commenters denouncing the café managers and others pointing out that their handling of the situation was against the law.

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    “Yes, you have the right to breastfeed anytime, anywhere,” a statement on the Federal Public Health Service’s website reads, adding that while catering establishments can opt to use a sticker to indicate breastfeeding is welcome, the sticker is not a prerequisite to allowing a parent to breastfeed their child.

    At the end of January, lawmakers voted to recognise breastfeeding as a “protected criterion,” a designation which makes it easier to legally challenge discrimination for breastfeeding, in a vote which granted the same protection to fatherhood and recipients of in-vitro fertilisation.

    A federal MP with the Flemish green party, Groen, called the incident “unacceptable” on Twitter, citing the recent vote to encourage the woman to contact the Institute for the Equality of Women and Men over the incident.

    The incident on Saturday was not the first time a parent is excluded from a public establishment when attempting to breastfeed.

    Last year, a lifeguard in a swimming pool in Leuven told a woman to go breastfeed her child in “a more discreet place,” while a police officer in Bruges threatened a woman with a fine for “public indecency” for breastfeeding inside her vehicle.

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times