“You can’t do that in here!”
Those words can rattle even the most confident mother while she’s trying to take care of her child. Breastfeeding in public, especially in restaurants, is a hot topic right now. With several recent cases being featured in the media, everyone seems to have an opinion. At Saskatoon Breastfeeding Matters, we’re no strangers to the issue. For too many years we have heard the stories. Stories of mothers fighting for their rights, of mothers feeling shamed, of mothers not going out due to fear of judgement, of mothers not breastfeeding as long as they’d have liked because it was too hard to stay home. These stories of women being told when, where and how to breastfeed have inspired us to create some positive stories! We want to help restaurants understand the issue and support them through some simple steps to become breastfeeding friendly. Saskatoon Breastfeeding Matters, along with Population and Public Health, is about to roll out a big campaign to promote and protect breastfeeding in public!
In early May we plan to officially launch our Breastfeeding Friendly Business Initiative. We have already held focus groups to get feedback from restaurant owners/ managers/ staff. We have also developed new resources for restaurants to use to help educate their staff about the rights of breastfeeding mothers and how to respond to complaints.
I am often passionate about the work we do as a group, but it can sometimes feel like we are pushing against a system and culture that isn’t really interested. One of the exciting things about this project is how much interest we are getting. I keep getting messages form mothers wanting to know where they can nurse comfortably, or from businesses wanting to know how they can identify as breastfeeding friendly, or wanting information about breastfeeding rights. It’s like we can’t work fast enough to meet the needs and interests of our community! So take this as a promise that we are working on it and there is so much positive energy in our city right now.
As we roll out our program we are going to be creating an ever growing list of businesses who have signed a pledge to truly protect nursing mothers and children. These businesses will also be displaying the international Breastfeeding symbol on the windows to help you know they are a welcoming and safe place for to enjoy you visit. I can’t wait to see this all roll out!
Want to be part of this exciting campaign? Tell me your stories about breastfeeding in public! Send me your pictures! We are going to create a wave of support through our communities!