Breastfeeding Support in Public Spaces
Breastfeeding is a natural part of motherhood. Breastfeeding gives children the healthiest start in life and provides important health benefits for mothers as well. Today's active mothers are out and about with their children. Wisconsin statutes 944.17(3) and 944.20(2) protect mothers' rights to breastfeed their children in public in Wisconsin. What can you do to protect and support breastfeeding mothers and children in your communities' public spaces (malls, retail stores, restaurants, schools, parks, recreation facilities and other public areas)? - Establish a supportive breastfeeding policy and be sure that all staff are aware of it and follow the policy. - Provide orientation and training for staff. - Actively support mothers' choice to breastfeed. - Display stickers, signs or decals welcoming breastfeeding families, such as "Mother-Baby Friendly: You are welcome to breastfeed here." These should be displayed on entrance doorways and are not to be placed on restroom doors. - Provide a clean, quiet space with comfortable seating for mothers who wish to breastfeed in a more private location. This space may adjoin a restroom area, but a toilet stall is neither clean nor appropriate as a space to breastfeed a child or express breastmilk. Using the handicap stall in a restroom to nurse a child or to express breastmilk denies access to a person with physical disabilities who depends on the availability of that space. Nearby availability of handwashing facilities and diaper changing space is helpful, but not a requirement. - Let mothers know that they may choose to breastfeed in a more public part of the facility if they wish and be sure that no one interferes with their rights to do so. - Praise women for breastfeeding their child. Thank them for doing the best that they can for their child and family.
Adapted from the Mississippi Breastfeeding Coalition's Building Breastfeeding Friendly Communities project by the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services in collaboration with the Wisconsin Breastfeeding Coalition Division of Public Health – Nutrition Section PPH 40074 (2/04) http://dhfs.wisconsin.gov/WIC