Cape Breton regional council has voted to create a new breastfeeding policy for the Cape Breton Regional Municipality‚Äč that will support a mother's right to nurse her child in public places.

The police will also help create breastfeeding friendly areas for those who prefer to nurse in private.

"I'm really glad to see there's an option for privacy because not everybody is as open," said Coun. Mae Rowe, who made the motion for the policy.

"I would have appreciated a private place to go when I was nursing my children. It tended to isolate me a lot because it was difficult to go in public places at the time."

Dr. Monika Dutt, the medical officer of health for the Cape Breton District Health Authority, said it's a proven fact that breastfeeding gives babies a great start in life.

"It's helpful to prevent different kinds of cancers, it helps them to prevent weight gain, we know that obesity is one of the issues we're facing," she said.

Dutt said not enough people are taking advantage of the benefits of breastfeeding.

The Cape Breton District Health Authority has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the province at 67 per cent. Dutt said the national average is 87 per cent.

Rowe said she remembers what it was like when she was breastfeeding her children and it's vital that nursing mothers be supported by a policy when they are in public places.

"It wasn't a popular thing. It was a really difficult thing to break into. So we've come a long way and we just have to keep moving with it," she said.

Municipal staff will now prepare a document that creates a policy and also supports Public Health Services in its promotion of breastfeeding.