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Mother told off for breastfeeding in Louvre: What are rules in France?

The recent incident follows a similar one at Paris Disneyland last year

A mother was told off by a staff member at the Louvre museum for breastfeeding Pic: Zosel, mrvirgin / Shutterstock

The Louvre has responded to a complaint from a visitor who was told off by a member of the museum’s staff for breastfeeding, saying that it is “absolutely not forbidden” to breastfeed in the museum. 

Jasmin was visiting the Louvre with her partner, sister and her five-and-a-half month old baby in early June. After walking around for several hours, her baby, Lana, was hungry, so Jasmin decided to stop in the Richelieu wing of the museum. 

She said she was breastfeeding discreetly and that the room was nearly empty, but she was approached by a member of the museum’s staff who told her that she may disturb other visitors and that she should go to the toilets. Jasmin and her family ended up leaving instead. 

“It's very ironic, because it's a place filled with paintings of breastfeeding women,” Jasmin told Le Parisien

“I was surprised. We are in France and until then I could breastfeed my daughter anywhere without worry.”

She later wrote a letter of complaint to the museum. 

The Louvre wrote in response:

“While we have not yet been able to identify the staff member in question, we would like to repeat that the visiting regulations absolutely do not prohibit breastfeeding. 

“Perhaps there was a misinterpretation of the rules. This lady was right to write to us, we will “give our staff a general reminder of the rules.”

The museum also mentioned that since mid-December 2021 a family room called the Studio has been open and that it offers an armchair and bottle warmer to cater for people with babies. 

Jasmin’s story quickly spread on social media with many commenters expressing disapproval at the member of staff’s intervention. 

Others pointed out, as Jasmin did, that the Louvre is full of artworks and sculptures depicting naked women and others breastfeeding. 

France’s rules on breastfeeding in public

Breastfeeding in public in France is in no way forbidden.

The only mention of breastfeeding in French law is to state that it is allowed in work places for up to one year after the birth of a baby, with the employee also allowed to take one hour per day to breastfeed. 

However, the incident in the Louvre is not the first time that a mother has been reproached for it. 

Last year, an Australian tourist was told off by security in Paris Disneyland in a similar situation. 

Read more: Staff ask Australian mother to stop breastfeeding at Disneyland Paris

French MP Fiona Lazaar proposed the creation of a new law in 2021 to counter incidents of this type. 

The law suggested a fine of up to €1,500 for people who deny someone from breastfeeding in a public place. It also suggested stating in black and white terms that breastfeeding is permitted in public. The draft bill is still under consideration. 

Related stories

French law proposed to protect women from abuse when breastfeeding

Doctors in France warn against ‘trend’ of cutting ‘tongue-tie’ babies

'Mothers, don’t be put off – breastfeeding is your right'

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