Simply the breast: Expressing our support for mums
THE LISMORE branch of the Australian Breastfeeding Association has a dream that one day all Lismore city limit signage will be branded with an added welcome message: "Breastfeeding-friendly town".
Ros Fleetwood, Lismore ABA branch president, wants Lismore to be the first Australian city to be breastfeeding-branded, second to the English town of Fleetwood (no relation to Ros).
She believes it takes a whole community to support a woman's right under the Sex Discrimination Act to breastfeed anywhere - it's not the exclusive battleground of vulnerable and hormonal new mothers.
The long-time local breastfeeding advocate said Lismore and surrounds was reasonably supportive of breastfeeding mums.
"We're a community-focused town which includes grandparents and babies," she said.
Ms Fleetwood was buoyed by the news which went global last week of a Northern Queensland cafe owner who booted out a man after he demanded a breastfeeding woman cover up.
"The onus shouldn't only be on mothers to push for their human rights. New mothers are in a vulnerable position. She may be on a hormonal rollercoaster. The whole community needs to come out in support," she said.
However, she maintained that public breastfeeding was a choice.
"Women still need places like public babycare centres where they can breastfeed in private. New mothers who are still struggling with feeding, women with twins or those expressing, particularly, need a private place to go," she said.
It seems, however, that breast branding may be a mere pipe dream.
Mayor Jenny Dowell said, "While I'd love for Lismore to be known as a breastfeeding-friendly town, if we declared everything we were proud of on the signage there wouldn't be any room. Refugee-friendly, Renewable energy leader ...there are just too many.
Cr Dowell supported cafes and businesses that displayed 'Breastfeeding welcome here' insignias.
"But on a serious note, I think it is a pity that we even have to remind people. It should go without saying. It's a human right for women to breastfeed when and wherever they want," Cr Dowell said.
Ms Fleetwood encouraged all cafes in the area to acquire 'Breastfeeding Welcome Here' stickers and be listed on the ABA website as a breast-feeding- friendly business.
Local businesses who wish to add themselves to the local breast feeding welcome register can contact group: ABALismore@gmail.com
For 24-hour breastfeeding support, phone 1800 686 268.