WOMEN with babies will be encouraged to breastfeed on the terraces of the Riverside Stadium if they need to, after Middlesbrough Football Club became the first major club in the country to openly support it.

Boro has signed up to the Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme, which is promoted locally by councils including Middlesbrough and Redcar & Cleveland.

In the South Tees area there have been over 250 businesses signed up since its launch there in 2016.

Women have the right to breastfeed in any public area but some feel nervous about feeding in public.

The scheme is designed to support breastfeeding women and help them feel comfortable and confident to feed while out and about.

Organisations that sign up are asked to display the Breastfeeding Welcome signs and are listed on the site of officially recognised venues that promote breastfeeding.

Boro has now become the first football club in the country to join the Breastfeeding Welcome scheme.

The club has one of the biggest set of supporters in the Championship who attend matches at the Riverside Stadium on a family ticket. Now the club wants mums who are either going to games or attending functions at the ground to feel comfortable breastfeeding.

MFC Head of safeguarding Brian Robinson said: “We’re delighted to be the first club to become actively involved in this. We pride ourselves on being an all-inclusive football club, and this is another key initiative for us.”

Cllr Julia Rostron, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, said she was also 'delighted' and added: “The club and its MFC Foundation charity are important and strong advocates for many of the public health messages we shout about across Teesside and their support for this scheme is hugely appreciated.

“We would urge all businesses to take a look at the website of the Breastfeeding Welcome scheme and sign up to make the message clear that breastfeeding is indeed welcome in South Tees.”

The move comes just two months after a Middlesbrough restaurant faced a breastfeeding backlash when a mother was told to breastfeed her week-old baby in the disabled toilet.

A protest was held outside the W2 World Buffet after a staff member ordered Ellie Webster, 23, to feed the baby in the toilets.

Supporters staged a nursing protest outside the branch after there was social media uproar.

The restaurant apologised and pledged to join the Breastfeeding Welcome scheme following the major backlash.

For more information about the scheme, visit www.breastfeedingwelcomescheme.org.uk.