Mothers in Shepparton have shared their stories at a health forum in Shepparton on the difficulties they have faced breastfeeding their babies in public.JOHN LEWIS March 26, 2014 4:53am
Mothers still face difficulties breastfeeding in public in Shepparton, despite 70 businesses and organisations displaying ‘‘breastfeeding friendly’’ stickers, a health forum was told on Monday.
Eight mothers with young children attended the forum Greater Shepparton City Council Best Start breastfeeding project officer Kristie Welch presented at Primary Care Connect on Wyndham St.
Ms Welch said the aim of the forum was to examine ways to help make Shepparton a breastfeeding friendly city.
Ms Welch said the problem was highlighted by weekend media reports of a Sunshine Coast mother breastfeeding in public for the first time who was reduced to tears after a stranger told her it was disgusting.
‘‘It’s all about community perception and gaining support for what is a perfectly natural thing. We wanted to bring this issue to the table and get the conversation going,’’ Ms Welch said.
Most of the women talked of feeling embarrassed when feeding in public for the first time.
Many spent hours in car parks trying to breastfeed away from the public gaze, but not always successfully.
‘‘My first experience was in a car park, but the looks we got were amazing,’’ Shepparton mother Jo McGregor said.
Shepparton mother Kirby Cirillo told of one man who kept moving his position so he could watch her breastfeeding in her car.
‘‘He kept moving himself back and forward to see some boob — my husband was ropeable. Eventually I had to shut the door,’’ Ms Cirillo said.
The mothers said a clean, comfortable and safe facility in central Shepparton would benefit nursing mothers.
Ms Cirillo said new mother and baby facilities at shopping malls such as Highpoint were beneficial.
‘‘The new feeding rooms there are amazing, with music and playing areas for older kids,’’ she said.
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