Thursday, 8 September 2011

Breastfeeding Welcome

I'm a Breastfeeding Welcome ambassador for the Bromley area. Basically, I approach local venues to see if they are interested in joining a directory of places where mothers are welcome to breastfeed their children.

When I first had Kit I wasn't really prepared for breastfeeding. I knew I wanted to feed him that way myself but I didn't know anyone who had breastfed (I didn't really know anyone when they had a small child either - I'm the first of my friends to reproduce!). When I was pregnant I was so caught up in preparing for the big event (the labour) I really didn't prepare for what came after that. I just fed him, and I wasn't really sure if he was latching on properly or anything, and then the midwife told me we was jaundice and I wasn't feeding him enough (I had no idea that I should be waking him to feed if he didn't wake up) and then we ended up at A&E because I couldn't wake him up to feed. It turned out he was fine he just takes after his mum and didn't like the heat so wanted to sleep through it!

Anyway, after all of that, once I was sorted feeding him, I faced another hurdle. I wasn't really comfortable feeding my son in public. I started by planning so that I could come home to feed him, or I fed him in the toilets! I was lucky that my local shopping centre (The Glades in Bromley) has a feeding room, so I was always comfortable feeding Kit there. It took me a while to be able to start feeding him at my local cafes though, and the whole time I was feeding him I spent a lot of time in the toilets!

The thing was, I hadn't seen anyone feeding their baby in public. I wasn't likely to really, because most mothers are discrete about their feeding, and you wouldn't know that was what they were doing. Plus it wasn't really something I'd been looking out for until I had my own son. I didn't know where it was 'acceptable' to feed my son. I love the idea of the Breastfeeding Welcome scheme because it identifies places where the owners/managers have declared that they are happy for you to breastfeed in their establishments.

I know that the law now states that you have the right to breastfeed pretty much anywhere, but it being legally acceptable wouldn't have made me feel more comfortable about where I was feeding my son. I think it helps to know that the place you are feeding are happy for you to be feeding there to make you comfortable to do so.

I hope that identifying the venues in my local area who are happy for you to breastfeed will help all the breastfeeding mothers, who were shy to feed in public like I was, to step out of the toilets and enjoy the freedom of feeding their children in nicer surroundings!

The venues in my local area (Bromley) signed up so far are

The Lavender House, Sundridge Park
Belleberry Deli, Beckenham
Brodies, Bromley High Street
Bloomingdelis, Bromley High Street
Chislehurst Sandwich Cafe, Chislehurst
Cake, Downe
The Crown, Bromley Common
Taste-Bud (Love Food), Chatterton Road
Thorntons Cafe, Nugent Shopping Centre, Orpington
Mothercare, Orpington
Fired Up, Petts Wood
Roxby Hair Design, Beckenham
Taste of Cyprus, Beckenham
Risto Italian Restaurant, Beckenham


  1. This is a great idea, do the venues have some kind of sticker to identify them?

  2. Yes. They have a sticker of the image in the post, and also you can search on the website. :)

  3. It's a great idea but also quite sad that mums may feel they can only feel comfortable in certain places that have signed up. I breast fed my second child in numerous cafes and remember a couple of older ladies coming up and saying how lovely it was to see! If only everyone was as accepting as they were! Have you had anyone say no to the scheme?

  4. I haven't personally had any that have said no. I have had some who just didn't seem interested though and so I haven't pressed it.

    Hopefully, schemes like this will encourage more Mums to feel comfortable to feed in public and when there is a bigger presense of it then more people will be accepting so the scheme will become redundant. I only know from my own experience, and really it wasn't until I met another Mum and she fed in public that I even started to become comfortable, although my son's Dad was always uncomfortable with me doing it so I felt awkward when he was around!

  5. I think what you are doing is great. Before I had Martha I assumed because I am a fairly shy person that I would be really awkward feeding in public but actually I have found it fine and am still feeding her at 9months. At first i got my confidence by going to places like starbucks where they are very happy for people to breastfeed and you see others doing it all the time. Now i will feed martha pretty much anywhere.I am always subtle but in a way i really want people to see what I am doing. By people seeing me feeding in public I hope encourage others. I watched that doc by cherry Healy the other month and it may be really sad that people still feel they can't feed in public so it's great what you are doing!



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