Ann Keith and Crystal Stewart with her baby Isabella Stewart stand in front of the new friendly feeding sign at the Shelburne Sobey’s community room as a part of local businesses supporting breastfeeding in the community.
Amy Woolvett photo
By Amy Woolvett
While it is the legal right for all women in Nova Scotia to breastfeed their babies at anyplace and anytime, local businesses are helping mom’s in Shelburne County feel more comfortable by showing their support.
The initiative was created through Breast Feeding Nova Scotia with funding provided by the Department of Health and Wellness, Thrive Initiative.
“We are trying to make Shelburne County a baby friendly community,” said public health nurse, Krissy Rose-Muise.
With the help of students from Dalhousie University, an information kit that included stickers to easily identify a supportive environment was created.
A letter was sent out as well as an in-person invitation to most businesses in Shelburne County to an information luncheon late last year.
There were 12 businesses that hopped on board as part of the effort to make their places of business breastfeeding friendly for both clients as well as staff.
“Many times mothers returning to work feel they need to wean off breastfeeding but that doesn’t have to be the case,” said Rose-Muise.
More employers are encouraging mothers returning to work a space to express their milk so that providing breast milk to her baby does not have to stop just because she is returning to work.
As well, the project encouraged local breastfeeding mom’s to take part of the luncheon and help create a supportive community.
“All the mom’s were excited to learn and be a part of it,” said Rose-Muise. “It was very empowering.”
One mom who helped with the program was Deborah Gillbert.
She said while she hasn’t had a problem breastfeeding her child in public but knows other mothers have shied away from it. Stories of shopping mom’s stopping what they are doing to feed their child in their cars or perched in restroom stalls or being asked at a restaurant to move are stories Rose-Muse has heard before and she hopes a program like this give much more comfortable options for mothers and their babies.
“Babies don’t just get hungry at home,” said Rose-Muise.
“It would be awesome to see all the places around town showing their breastfeeding support stickers in their windows,” said Gillbert.
“I think it’s a great program,” she said. “It has opened my eyes to what the community needs.”
Sobey’s in Shelburne and Barrington is one of the businesses that has been enthusiastic about joining the project and becoming a better business by supporting breastfeeding.
They have offered up their community rooms for mothers to use if they need a more private location to breastfeed their baby.
As well TLC pharmacy and Fit Folks, Wilsons Medical Clinic, Little People’s Place, are a few others involved in the effort to be more breastfeeding friendly.
Rose-Muise said she hopes that more businesses and restaurants will catch on once the word gets out that businesses are needed to provide a comfortable place for mothers to feed their babies.
For more information contact Krissy Rose-Muise, public health nurse at 902-637-2352