Health and Wellbeing

New scheme launches to encourage businesses to be breastfeeding friendly

Posted on: 31 July 2019

Businesses in Devon are being asked to support parents to feel more comfortable feeding their babies in public.

The Devon Positive About Breastfeeding Scheme urges all businesses in the county, from cafes and libraries to factories and offices, to make their environment as friendly and comfortable as possible to encourage parents, and particularly breastfeeding mothers, to feel confident feeding there.

Public Health Devon is launching the scheme this week (Thursday 1 August) as part of World Breastfeeding Week. Dr Virginia Pearson, Director of Public Health for Devon, explains how she hopes it will help foster greater acceptance, encouragement and support of breastfeeding in public, alongside other feeding methods.

“We are positive about breastfeeding and we believe that every parent – however they are feeding their baby, should be welcomed to feed in public.

“Choosing how to feed your baby isn’t always a straightforward or easy decision, and this can leave many parents feeling insecure and vulnerable or judged by others about their feeding choices. This is often made worse if they encounter a negative reaction to feeding in public, especially when a mother is breastfeeding her baby.

“Self-consciousness about feeding in public is a major barrier to breastfeeding so we need to do more to make sure mothers feel confident that they can breastfeed their baby in a comfortable and safe environment with no fear of discrimination.”

The scheme aims to create a countywide network of recognised breastfeeding friendly places for families to visit and feed their babies in confidence.

Business are invited to download a free information pack with lots helpful guidance about how to better support parents to feel comfortable feeding in public, the challenges families feeding their baby might face and what to do if someone complains about a mother breastfeeding. It also includes information about the significant health benefits of breastfeeding both for mothers and babies, and the legal protection breastfeeding women have.

Businesses can also display the Devon Positive about Breastfeeding certificate of commitment, so parents are reassured it’s a welcoming environment with a positive attitude from all the staff and to show other customers and visitors they support and encourage breastfeeding on their premises.

Dr Pearson explains:

“Every baby has the right to the best start in life and to develop close and loving relationships, and feeding is a big part of this.

“It’s important that we empower parents to feel comfortable to regularly feed their babies wherever they are, and businesses play an important role in providing the right environment to do this, especially enabling mothers to feel confident breastfeeding publicly.”

Kayleigh Diggle owns Liznojan Books on Gold Street in Tiverton and has already signed up to the scheme.

Kayleigh Diggle, owner of Liznojan Books stands with her certificate

She said: “Creating a safe and welcoming environment for mothers to feed their babies has always been a part of our idea for the bookshop and coffee shop.

“As a mother of two breastfed boys, I understand that knowing there is a place to dash to when baby suddenly needs feeding can be a mother’s saviour. We provide a free glass of water or juice for feeding mothers, find some pillows if needed and have created a peaceful space to feed.”

For more information or to sign up, please visit the Devon County Council website. 

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