The Deputy Mayor of Palmerston in the Northern Territory, Serena Shutt, is hoping to gain funding which will help make her hometown more breastfeeding-friendly after experiencing the lack of support firsthand recently. After giving birth herself a few months ago, Mrs Shutt realised just how few amenities there were for mothers in the Darwin city.
Her pleas have helped to highlight the poor state of affairs in many Australian towns and cities, with often little to no support for breastfeeding mothers in public spaces.
Mrs Shutt is hoping that her $2,000 pledge will be enough to show adequate signage that will help mothers to identify the breastfeeding-friendly places around town, and perhaps even instal privacy screens in libraries and other common areas where women can feel comfortable.
How other towns are solving the issue
The Deputy Mayor of Palmerston isn’t the first to notice this issue of unfriendliness when it comes to supporting breastfeeding mothers, with others in Australia doing their part to help too.
Greater Shepparton in Victoria has a dedicated breastfeeding support page which helps women connect with community services to support nursing and even a Breastfeeding Café held every week at the local Riverside Plaza.
This space allows mothers to catch up in a space dedicated to breastfeeding, with support from local child and maternal health nurses, free coffee and cake, and the company of other mothers.
Breastfeeding in public and the laws
Under Australian state and federal law, mothers have the right to breastfeed their babies in public without the fear of discrimination and harassment. Knowing your rights can be the first step to helping you feel more comfortable about breastfeeding in public too.
Some mothers may feel more comfortable covering up, while others are happy to nurse wherever and whenever they see fit. The aim of these towns and other breastfeeding supporters is to normalise the act so that a mother feels she has a choice.
Helping to normalise breastfeeding
While it may seem to some that these initiatives aren’t required in less conservative places, there are still very many areas in Australia where a mother may feel uncomfortable about breastfeeding. By helping to normalise this natural act in public, these towns are hoping to tear down some of the walls associated with breastfeeding and educate others on its benefits.