Breastfeeding mums will be recognised in a new project aiming to normalise feeding in public and support the women who do it.
Health and children’s services in Hull and East Riding have teamed up to launch small ‘thank you’ cards, designed for people to give to a mum they spot breastfeeding in a public place. The idea is that the recipient then passes the card to a woman she sees, and so on. The cards are business- card-sized, so that they can easily be kept in a purse or pocket.
Each new mother who chooses to breastfeed will receive a card when she has her baby, and they will be distributed to breastfeeding mums by health visiting teams, children centres, doulas, peer-support groups, and available through Breastfeeding Friendly cafes and other premises.
Hull mums welcomed the new project. Lucy Carr, mum to William, eight-months, said: “Even before I had William I’d see a woman breastfeeding in public and feel like I wanted to say something. I was worried that I might make her self-conscious, so I’d smile instead and hope she knew why.
“The cards are a good way to recognise someone feeding, and you could make a mum feel less alone. It could be that it’s her first feed in public and that one thing could make her feel like she could do it again, and she’ll then look out for other mums. It’s a small thing that could make a huge difference.”
Danielle McKenzie, mum to Max, 20-months, and a breastfeeding peer supporter, said: “I got lots of lovely comments in the early days which I appreciated. I was feeding him when he was seven days old and an elderly couple came up and said how lovely it was to see a breast-feeding mum.
“The cards could help sway the balance a bit on social media, because it can give the impression you’ll experience negative comments. Women seeing the cards on social media instead might feel less anxious.”
Michele Moran Chief Executive of Humber Teaching NHS Trust and the Trusts Baby Friendly Initiative Guardian said: “One of the great benefits of breastfeeding is that it can be done anytime, anyplace and anywhere, so we need to help new mothers feel comfortable in feeding their babies wherever and whenever they need to and we all have a role to play in that.
“We would like to know what mothers and their families think of these cards so let us know.”
In addition to handing them to women, people will be encouraged to share the cards on social media. Get information and support for breastfeeding here.