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Sunday 29 January 2023 Dublin: 6°C
# feeding frenzy
This 'Breastfeeding Welcome Here' sign is coming to a cafe near you
And more businesses are being urged to join in.

CAFES, RESTAURANTS AND businesses across the country will now display ‘Breastfeeding welcome here’ signs as part of an initiative to help change attitudes towards nursing in public.

And more businesses are being encouraged to get on board.

Insomnia coffee shops, Boots pharmacies, Blanchardstown shopping centre, Arnotts department store and chef Neven Maguire’s MacNean Restaurant will all display the prominent logo encouraging women to breastfeed their babies on premises.

The sign was developed by First 1,000 Days, the organisation which helps raise awareness about pregnancy and early childhood nutrition.

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“We’ve all heard stories of women who were breastfeeding in public and told to cover up or leave, so you can understand why some women would be fearful of breastfeeding in public,” Michelle Gray, dietician with First 1,000 Days, told TheJournal.ie.

“But breastfeeding in public is a legal right and it’s not as if women are trying to make a statement or put on an exhibition when they’re breastfeeding.

They’re simply feeding their baby who is hungry and they should be able to do so without feeling uncomfortable.

Ireland has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world. Research shows just 56% of mothers give breastfeeding a try and this drops to 42% after 48 hours.

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends babies should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months but just just 6% of Irish mothers still exclusively breastfeed at six months.

“Breastfeeding is not something we’ve really been exposed to growing up,” Gray says.

“We don’t see it at a young age and we’re not taught about breastfeeding in school. So when it comes to the time when we’re at the stage of having babies, breastfeeding can seem alien to a lot of us.

“But the more women we see breastfeeding in public, the more normal it will become.”

Putting up the ‘Breastfeeding Welcome Here’ mark doesn’t cost businesses anything and could help increase customer footfall, Gray added.

The only criteria is that they welcome breastfeeding mothers into a friendly environment and make them feel as comfortable as possible. It’s also important that all staff and new staff are made aware of their company’s stance on breastfeeding.

Businesses looking to join up can visit the First 1,000 Days website to order display materials.

Read: Hundreds of Irish babies were breastfed in public and nobody noticed

Read: Claridges Hotel ‘didn’t mean to upset’ breastfeeding woman who was told to cover up

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