A group of south-west mothers say it’s time breastfeeding in public was ‘actively supported’.
The 20 to 30 mums, with children ranging in age from eight weeks to three years, were hosting ‘The Big Feed-in’ at Simon’s Waterfront on Tuesday as part of a global movement to make public breastfeeding more acceptable.
It can just be a scowl. New mums are already stressed with what's happening. There's no need to pass judgement.Emily Hallam
Port Fairy mother and event organiser Emily Hallam said the event was about removing the negative stigma surrounding a ‘normal’ act.
“Breastfeeding is a learnt behaviour and many mothers experience difficulty somewhere in their journey and need support,” she said.
“We aim to raise awareness about the challenges that new mothers and families face and help change the stigma around public breastfeeding.
“Feeding in public is largely supported as a normal part of caring for babies and toddlers.
“These mums need support from our community.”
Ms Hallam said breastfeeding mothers shouldn’t have to miss social outings because of community backlash.
“It can just be a scowl,” she said. “New mums are already stressed with what’s happening. There’s no need to pass judgement.
“Those comments or looks can be more damaging than many people may think.
“As a community we need to support and promote the needs of mothers who breastfeed and we can do this by simply being kind.”
Ms Hallam said it was important the group’s purpose wasn’t misunderstood.
“It’s not about making every woman feel like they should breastfeed in public, it’s about if they want to they should feel comfortable about it.”
Simon’s Waterfront function coordinator Tonia Wilcox said her establishment was offering spare nappies and a change-table in an effort to welcome feeding mothers.
“We understand how hard it is for mums, especially when bubs are really new,” she said.
“We need to look after them.
“Breastfeeding is more than acceptable here.”