Breastfeeding Protection Pledge launched in Saskatoon
Restaurants, other businesses and organizations guarantee support for breastfeeding moms
Breastfeeding mothers in Saskatoon now have a list of places in the city where it's guaranteed they can nurse their babies any way they choose, in peace.
"Mothers can be assured that they will not be asked to cover up, move or leave while breastfeeding in any of these facilities," said Martha Neovard, a member of the group Saskatoon Breastfeeding Matters.
Participating locations are listed in a breastfeeding "passport" brochure, and also on display in a window sticker. They have signed a pledge guaranteeing that staff have been trained on how to handle complaints by patrons or other members of the public.
The program is a joint effort of the Saskatoon Health Region's Population and Public Health, and the group.
We're past the days of asking a mom to go to the bathroom- Quincy Lambe, member of Saskatoon Breastfeeding Matters
The group has made up a staff room poster that participating restaurants and other businesses and organizations can put up.
"They can acknowledge the other person's complaint, and let them know that they could reseat that patron to a different area, but that they wouldn't be approaching the breastfeeding mother," said Quincy Lambe, another member of the group.
"I feel like we're past the days of asking a mom to go to the bathroom and breastfeed their baby, but that does happen still," Lambe added. "so they have to know explicitly that the cannot ask a mom go breastfeed in the bathroom, or go breastfeed in a different location."
One less obstacle to breastfeeding
Lambe said it's hard enough for mothers to stick with breastfeeding, without the discouragement they sometimes encounter in public places.
In the Saskatoon Health Region, only 43 per cent of mothers are still exclusively breastfeeding two weeks after giving birth. However, 90 per cent of mothers who breastfeed aim to do it exclusively for their baby's first six months.
It can have a mental health impact. Lambe cites a 50 per cent increased risk of depression among mothers who do not reach their breastfeeding goals.
In all, ten restaurants have signed up, including Cora's at Preston Crossing, where in March one mother complained about being asked to cover up.
"That was really interesting timing for us, because it allowed us the opportunity to reach out to Cora's and help educate them and ask if they wanted to get on board, which they did," Lambe said.
The other participating restaurants are Fuddruckers, Leyda's Cafe, Night Oven Bakery, Smileys Family Restaurant, Earthbound Bakery and Delicatessen, City Perks Coffeehouse, Bottega Trattoria, Citizen Care & Bakery, and Drift Sidewalk Cafe. Saskatoon leisure centres, public libraries, Station 20 West, the Mothers Centre, and the Friendship Inn have also signed on.
An initial 1,000 passports will be handed out by public health nurses to new mothers. After that, the program will be evaluated "to see if this has created a win-win situation for new mothers and for businesses," Neovard said.