Evolution Fitness in Regina recently hosted an event supporting moms who choose to breastfeed in public. The event came in response to a call to action from local lactation consultant Kim Smith.
“It seems that it’s not as accepted as we want it to be,” Smith said.
“Moms are a little bit nervous to take that plunge, to put themselves out there and meet their baby’s needs when they are out and about in the community,” Smith said.
Smith said the call to action comes after social media posts from moms sharing experiences where they had problems being allowed to breastfeed in public.
Amy Franks made a comment on the City of Regina Facebook page. She talked about being singled out at a city pool, and asked to go somewhere else while breastfeeding.
The city responded on the Facebook post, saying they treat breastfeeding in or near the pool the same as other food and drink: it’s not permitted. The city said they have also talked to staff on how to handle these situations.
“No one should have to apologize for meeting their babies’ needs in a biological normal way and the way that every health authority recommends and supports,” said baby-wearing and parent services consultant Anna Baker. “So no one should be ashamed or be asked to move.”
Ellice Anderson is a second-time mom. She said she hasn’t experienced being singled out anywhere for breastfeeding, but it makes a difference when public areas and businesses make it known that it’s welcome.
“I like to stay in the area that we are in and just know that people are smiling, and they’re positive about what I’m doing for my baby,” Anderson said.
Smith said that mothers in Canada have protected rights to breastfeed in public, but that doesn’t mean it’s a societal norm.
For moms and others, breastfeeding is an ongoing battle that they feel should be long over by now.
“It’s just a really normal thing to do,” Anderson said.
For a list of more than 20 local spots considered baby-friendly, visit the Regina Children’s Initiative website.