Photo: Porcupine Health Unit
Fact: Breastfeeding is a human right and is covered in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Also a fact: That doesn't seem to stop some people from shaming moms who openly breastfeed in public. Women who simply want to feed their hungry babies are still often on the receiving end of glares and rude comments; some are asked to cover up, or even leave establishments altogether. It sucks and it's wrong and we're over it.
That's why we love any new initiative that works toward de-stigmatizing nursing in public, like the one launched today by Porcupine Health Unit (PHU) in Timmins, Ont. The organization has created life-sized cardboard cut-outs of photos of Timmins-area moms nursing their babies, and is placing them at restaurants, businesses and government buildings. One of the cut-outs even shows a mom nursing an older child (he appears to be two or three years old), which will hopefully work towards reducing the still very-real stigma around extended breastfeeding. ("If they're old enough to ask for it, they're too old to nurse." Grrrrr.)
“These life-size cutouts make breastfeeding very real because they are photos of mothers who live here in the community,” says Meagan Potvin, a public health nurse at PHU. “They’ll be featured in communities across the north and we’re hoping that they’ll be real conversation starters.” The goal, adds Potvin, is that breastfeeding in public will one day be accepted by everyone, and not noticed at all.
We think that's a goal worth fighting for.