Recently, Medela surveyed mums on their experiences with breastfeeding in public. We asked what we, as a community, could do to better support breastfeeding mums.
Does Life Imitate Art?
One of the things Medela has done to better support and enhance the reputation of breastfeeding was to host a gallery exhibition of artwork designed by students to enhance the reputation of human milk. It is also hosting an exhibition of photography of raw images of mums breastfeeding.
This gallery has been promoted by mums, bloggers and health professionals alike and has generated positive images and artwork around breastfeeding.
One of the most popular pieces of art was the piece: “Prolonged Breastfeeding” by Ayako Kawaguchi.
How Do Breastfeeding Mums Want to Be Supported?
Mums have also made their suggestions on what we can do to better support breastfeeding. Some of their ideas are listed below. Let’s take a look. Then, we would love to ask you to share your own ideas on what society could do to better support breastfeeding mums.
“Better signage about breastfeeding and parents rooms. They should also make sure that all staff are aware of facilities so that they can better direct frazzled mums! There are some great facilities but sometimes you just need to know where they are and how to get there.” – Rebecca, Victoria
“Normalization. We can’t change the environments or ask assistance from staff at venues. Breastfeeding is between a mum and her baby. The more women who breastfeed and feel confident to do so in open spaces, in public domains, around our friends and strangers the less we will feel the need to cover up. This isn’t a solution; it needs to be a revolution.” – Georgia, NSW
“It would be nice for the child friendly venues to have better facilities, like a small parents room to be able to breastfeed my newborn” – Melanie, Victoria
“I wish I had more warning that breastfeeding could be really hard and painful in the beginning. Had I known I could have taken measures to help ease this because breastfeeding is certainly worth it!” – Sally, NSW
“If new mums had more support (and confidence), hopefully, any negativity would be like water off a ducks back. I don’t think you can change the way individuals in society behave but you can change the way it affects you.” – Peta, Victoria
“I would like to see more examples and promotion of mums juggling fulltime work and breastfeeding. Most examples are of mums who work casual or part time. Most fulltime mums I know end up switching to formula because they don’t know how they can do it every day. It’s very isolating.” – Kylie, Victoria
“The stigma of just thinking people would not accept me breastfeeding in public held me back. We should make mothers aware that it is ok and tell them ‘don’t hold back because you’re worried about what people will think because it is the most natural thing in the world.’” – Bianca, QLD
“We should provide extra education about the benefits of breastfeeding and exposure goes a long way. We often see sexualized photos filtering media that we never batt an eyelash at, but something as natural and beneficial to a baby is seen as obscene. Educate with context and change the attitudes to breastfeeding.” – Andrea, NSW
“I have gone back to work full time but want to continue breastfeeding. The support my workplace has offered me as a high school teacher was amazing. I know not many other work places may be the same but I’m an advocate for support in the workplace. I have my own clean comfortable private room with storage and a fridge. This act, in itself, showed me I was supported. I have been offered cover here and there when I need it and am even allowed to get bub brought in if needed. More empathy to mums in the workplace is my solution. Circumstance may dictate we need to work but it doesn’t need to dictate what we choose to do with our child. And I choose breastmilk for as long as I can.” – Jacinta, NSW
“I would have liked to have been given more information from the hospital or media on how breastfeeding can be incredibly difficult at the start. Babies do not always know how to latch it’s not as easy as just nature. You have to build up your supply, sometimes, by pumping and being patient with your baby learning to feed. At the end of the day, the experience and bond is incredible and well worth the wait.” – Lisa, QLD
Now, we’d love to hear from you! What do you think that we, as a society, could do to better support breastfeeding mums? Let’s have a conversation here or on the Medela Australia Facebook page.