ABA launches new initiative to support breastfeeding in public
The Sector > Provider > General News > ABA launches new initiative to support breastfeeding in public

ABA launches new initiative to support breastfeeding in public

by Freya Lucas

May 08, 2023

The Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) is launching a new initiative to help promote safe physical spaces for mums to breastfeed while they are ‘out and about’, and to raise community awareness of the needs of breastfeeding women and their babies.


The Breastfeeding is Welcome Everywhere program encourages local businesses (including early childhood education and care (ECEC) services) and community venues to self-identify as being welcoming of all families including breastfeeding women and babies. 


There are currently 1,060 venues that have signed up to be a part of this program. 


While breastfeeding is protected under Australian anti-discrimination legislation, national data shows that 96 per cent of mothers in Australia start out breastfeeding, yet by six months of age only 60 per cent of babies are still receiving any breastmilk and only 15 per cent are exclusively breastfed. A lack of support and negative community attitudes to breastfeeding are thought to be key contributors to mothers stopping breastfeeding before they are ready.


Businesses and venues who participate in the program recognise the rights of mothers and babies to breastfeed when and where they need. A business or venue registered as a ‘Breastfeeding is Welcome Everywhere’ venue is recognised as a comfortable space for families.


“Mothers shouldn’t have to be concerned about where and when they need to breastfeed. It is important that mothers feel respected to breastfeed when their baby needs to,” explained Emily Carrolan, Breastfeeding Friendly Environments Team Lead.   


“Perceived judgment from others while breastfeeding in public, unwanted comments or staring, and being made to feel they should cover up are all negative experiences that can impact a mum’s confidence to breastfeed in public or even continue breastfeeding at all,” she added.


The Breastfeeding is Welcome Here program helps to remove these barriers and reduce social stigma by highlighting the role of breastfeeding friendly communities as an imperative support for breastfeeding women. 


“Legislation protecting the right to breastfeed in public does not suffice; there needs to be improved access to breastfeeding-friendly spaces in communities across Australia,” Ms Carrolan said. 


All eligible venues receive a Breastfeeding is Welcome Everywhere sticker for public display in their premises, making it easy for mums to recognise welcoming places where they can breastfeed their baby. There is also an interactive map available for mums to find a venue close by.

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