2023 Author: Anita Thornton | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-22 03:30
On maternity leave, getting out of the house is essential for mental he alth. However, some mothers are still reluctant to do so, fearing having to breastfeed in public. Overview of a natural gesture that makes a lot of talk.
Breastfeeding in public, a right protected by law
In Quebec and Canada, breastfeeding in public places is a right. In Canada, this right is protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In Quebec, it is the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms of Quebec that protects this same right, as demonstrated by the following articles of law:
- Article 4: Everyone has the right to have their dignity, honor and reputation safeguarded.
- Article 10: Everyone has the right to full and equal recognition and exercise of human rights and freedoms, without distinction, exclusion or preference based on race, color, sex, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, sexual orientation, marital status, age […]. There is discrimination when such a distinction, exclusion or preference has the effect of nullifying or impairing this right.
- Article 15: No one may,by discrimination, preventing others from having access to means of transport or to public places, such as commercial establishments, hotels, restaurants, theatres, cinemas, parks, campgrounds and trailer parks, and from obtaining goods and services therein available there.
- Article 39: Every child has the right to the protection, security and attention that his parents or persons acting in their stead can give him.
Despite everything, breastfeeding in public is still too often in the headlines. A mother who is taken out of a store because she is breastfeeding, another who shocks by posting a photo on social networks… "In Western societies like in Quebec, breastfeeding has often been relegated to the private sphere, to intimacy. By appearing in the public sphere, it questions the boundaries between the private and the public", mentions Chantal Bayard, doctoral student at INRS and co-director of the collective work La promotion de l' breastfeeding in Quebec, critical views.
Ms. Bayard adds that some people are downright disturbed by the sight of a breastfeeding mother without hiding: "When you read the research that has been done on breastfeeding in public, what has been shown is that people expect women to breastfeed in public places with a certain modesty, with a certain consideration for others, with a certain discretion. »
Promote breastfeeding in public
So that breastfeeding in publicis normalized, even trivialized, more and more women need to perform this natural gesture in full view of all. “The more women there are going to be visible in public places, the more they will become role models, the more people will see women breastfeeding and this will contribute to changing the social norm on this issue. »
Breastfeeding on the bus, in the park, on a public bench, in a restaurant, etc. Remember that one of the many benefits of breastfeeding is being able to feed your baby anytime, anywhere. It's so practical that we would be crazy to deprive ourselves of it!
The Milk Route
To encourage breastfeeding in public places, Nourri-Source Montréal has set up the Milk Route. This is an interactive virtual map on which you can locate in a few clicks the businesses that support and encourage breastfeeding near where you are. Thus, during a sudden craving for baby, take out your smartphone and go to the nearest establishment, indicated on the map. A comfortable chair, in a quiet place, will be at your disposal to breastfeed in peace, and this, without obligation to purchase.
Breastfeeding in public…even if you're embarrassed
Despite knowing that a law protects the right to breastfeed in public, not all mothers feel comfortable doing so. They can be shy to expose this part of the body, usually rather well hidden. Add to that curious or disapproving looks, comments – sometimes inappropriate… there is reason to blush if one is even a little modest or embarrassed!
Fortunately, some “tools” are available to breastfeeding mothers to help them feel better. The most used is probably the nursing apron. Available in a host of colors and prints, this accessory allows you to breastfeed discreetly. Its rigid neckline allows visual contact with baby. Some even have a terry-lined corner, handy for wiping up small spit-ups!