29 March 2015


Hiya Everyone,

On Friday 27th March, the Board passed our new Breastfeeding Policy. This is something that I, as Wom*n’s Portfolio Holder, am immensely proud to have written and put forward for the Board’s consideration. This forms one crucial part of the Parenting Review that I’m working on at the moment. I’m investigating ways that students whom are parents are treated on campus and how accessible services and spaces are to them.

The Breastfeeding Policy comes in two parts; policy and procedure. 

1. Policy:
  • Breastfeeding is welcome in all USU public, student and designated spaces.
  • It is at the feeding parent’s discretion whether they choose to cover or not cover exposed breasts; either is welcome.
  • In addition to public, student and designated spaces, the USU will seek to provide spaces to address the needs of persons to breastfeed eg. Wom*n’s Room (Manning Building) and Parent’s Room (Wentworth Building).

2. Procedure:
  • Elements of this policy will be contained in the Staff Handbook and available for access on the USU intranet.
  • Elements of this policy will be included in all relevant staff training sessions.
  • Signage stating that breastfeeding is welcome in USU spaces will be made visible in all USU buildings.
  • The USU will seek to maintain listing on the Breastfeeding Welcome Here venues list provided by the Australian Breastfeeding Association.
  • New requests for parent spaces will be governed by the Dedicated Spaces Policy.

Breastfeeding isn’t restricted to parents’ rooms or designated facilities, parents can breastfeed at all USU spaces including public and student spaces.

The policy is effective immediately.

So what does this mean?

In June 2011 amendments to the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (SDA) established breastfeeding as a new separate ground of discrimination. Breastfeeding is defined as the act of expressing milk and includes a single act of breastfeeding and breastfeeding over a period of time. Despite this, we know that mothers regularly experience discrimination in open areas and on social media for choosing to breastfeed in plain sight. Facebook and Instagram have both been attacked for removing photographs of mothers feeding their children. [1] This has resulted in fantastic campaigns such as #normalisebreastfeeding[2]
As such, this policy seeks to further iterate the Union’s commitment to fostering a safe and welcoming atmosphere for all. We believe that it is a mother’s right to feed their child anytime, anywhere and that’s why we passed this policy. Its practical applications pave the way for more parent-specific rooms across campus and we look forward to working with the SRC, SUPRA and the University to make this happen.

As I said, this is just one part of a big Parenting Review that I’m currently working on - so stay tuned for more!


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