Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Remove the stigma from breastfeeding

26 February, 2007

Sinn Féin Foyle Assembly election Candidate Councillor Lynn Fleming has called for better facilities for mothers who wish to breastfeed their babies in public places and for a change in social attitudes to remove any stigma attached.

Councillor Fleming said:

"There is a clear need for a change of attitude in providing better facilities where a mother can breastfeed her child in comfort, without having to be pushed into a dark corner of a restaurant or public and recreational areas.

"I am not asking for massive changes, just a recognition that mothers have a right to breastfeed their child without any hassle and it should be seen as the norm that a mother can ask to have to space to feed her child in a clean and relaxed setting.

"We have some of the lowest breastfeeding rates anywhere in Europe. Yet, the evidence shows that there are huge benefits in breastfeeding.

"It's unacceptable for a mother to have to go to the likes of a public toilet to feed her child which is clearly not the best or comfortable place to do it. In many cases there is a social stigma attached to breastfeeding.

"Many young mothers feel uncomfortable feeding their babies in public, and this is a situation that we must address. Mothers should be able to feel relaxed when feeding their babies, not made to feel that this is a socially unacceptable practice.

"Our aim therefore should be to re-establish breastfeeding in Ireland as the cultural norm. Thereby making it the natural choice for the vast majority of Irish parents.

"I am appealing for owners of restaurants and public facilities to help that process and for the health promotion agencies to give those providers with as much advice and assistance available." ENDS

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