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Normalising breastfeeding key, say local mums

District mums have their say on public breastfeeding after comments by Sydney media personality David Koch sparked controversy last week.

IVY WISE January 23, 2013 4:44am

Local mum Susan Polido (left) relaxes with daughter Payton while Carlie Guinan breastfeeds her son, Jed.


Comments last week requesting mothers show more discretion while breastfeeding in public have been slammed by two district mums.

Breastfeeding counsellor Suzy Lenne and first-time mum Carlie Guinan, who are members of the Australian Breastfeeding Association’s Echuca group, were responding to the controversy surrounding public breastfeeding sparked after comments by Sydney media personality David Koch.

Mr Koch made the comments on the show Sunrise in response to a recent story about a Queensland mother asked to be more discreet breastfeeding at a public pool.

Mr Koch said the woman should have been ‘‘more discreet and modest’’ when breastfeeding in public.

‘‘I think that shows a patriarchal and old-fashioned view point, from ages past. It makes no sense,’’ Mrs Guinan said.

‘‘It’s disappointing that breastfeeding is not seen as a normal thing to do.’’

When breastfeeding her 12-month-old son Jed, Mrs Guinan said she wore a nursing top and would never think to cover his head.

‘‘If people are uncomfortable with it, they need to ask themselves why it makes them uncomfortable. If breastfeeding was normalised, people wouldn’t have that fear,’’ she said.

‘‘I just think there should be more of an emphasis on breastfeeding as a normal way to feed a child.’’

Mrs Lenne, a mother of three, agreed.

‘‘Rather than questioning how a mother goes about breastfeeding, people could focus instead on accepting a baby’s right to feed, whenever he or she needs. And if you feel uncomfortable, you can look away,’’ she said.

Mothers had a legal right to breastfeed or express breast milk wherever they were, Mrs Lenne said.

‘‘How she goes about breastfeeding is up to her and depends on what is comfortable for her and her baby. Many babies do not like to have their heads covered while breastfeeding,’’ she said.

‘‘Also people may not realise that support from a community can make a big difference to a breastfeeding mother, so feeling able to breastfeed her baby at any time is good for a mother’s confidence and her wellbeing.

‘‘When people say ‘I’m supportive of breastfeeding, but... It’s those buts that can undermine women’s confidence. It de-normalises breastfeeding and that’s not good for future generations.’’

The ABA Echuca group’s next meeting is at 11am on February 25 at the Echuca library meeting room.

For information, contact Mrs Lenne on 54826919.

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