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odile
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[quote user="Quillan"]

where mothers can go and breast feed in comfort away from the gaze of others. .

[/quote]

Maybe the others should stop gazing.  [:)] If I hadn't breastfed in cafes and restaurants I probably wouldn't have been able to leave the house for the first eight months!  Breastfeeding is done on demand, so when the baby needs feeding, you have to jump to it: you can't plan to be finished your dinner before the next feed.  Most women who breastfeed in public are pretty discreet and you would have to be watching pretty carefully to see anything more than a mother cradling her baby.  

I don't see what is so weird about a child feeding in a restaurant and would resent being put in another room to breastfeed because others have issues with it. Surely it is the perfect time and place to feed a child?  Breasfeeding does a lot more than just pass on antibodies - the health advantages to child and mother are enormous.  A breastfeeding rates are low in France as well as the UK, everything that can be should be done to encourage women to feed and other to find it as acceptable as giving a baby a bottle in a restaurant.Essentially Quillan you are saying breastfeeding is ok as long as you don't do it in public - what other public places can you imagine women feeding in that wouldn't make you feel uncomfortable? 

In Ireland, it is actually illegal to ask a women to stop breastfeeding in public or to move to another room in a restaurant and I think some restuarants put up stickers to welcome breastfeeding mums - mums catching up for coffee midmorning / lunch are a source of revenue as well as annoyance!  I had one comment from a local restaurant in France - we spent a lot of money there and would regularly have brought visitors there.  They have not seen me since.  Apart from that, I had no negative experiences feeding my child in public in France.

 

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I fetched my daughter from Surrey a few days after the birth of her first baby. We stopped at a motorway station on the way back. Their website said they had facilites for nursing mothers. This turned out to be a chair in the toilet, next to the WC. It was clearly not suitable. I spoke to staff and they told me the restaurant area had a section for feeding babies. When we got there the said facilities turned out to be a microwave to warm bottles! She therefore had to feed in a corner of the restaurant area, and she felt very embarrassed especially as she was not used to feeding yet. And the baby area was next to the smoking area. How ridiculous is that!

I agree that a bit of discretion is required, but why should mums have to hide to do the most natural thing in the world and the best for their babies.

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[quote user="odile"]I fetched my daughter from Surrey a few days after the birth of her first baby. We stopped at a motorway station on the way back. Their website said they had facilites for nursing mothers. This turned out to be a chair in the toilet, next to the WC. It was clearly not suitable. I spoke to staff and they told me the restaurant area had a section for feeding babies. When we got there the said facilities turned out to be a microwave to warm bottles! She therefore had to feed in a corner of the restaurant area, and she felt very embarrassed especially as she was not used to feeding yet. And the baby area was next to the smoking area. How ridiculous is that!

[/quote]

That's exactly why I think there needs to be some form of education and incentive to provide proper comfortable places in restaurants for mothers to use. I think I would feel the same way as your daughter.

I don't think the argument is so much about giving women the right to feed their babies in public I think its more about public places being made to provide suitable facilities for a mother to breastfeed her baby should there be a need, not a seat in the corner of the women's toilet which to anyone's mind is not acceptable.

I would imagine there are a lot of women out there who would love to be able to breastfeed when out in public but I don't think this means in the middle of a bar, supermarket or football stadium. They want proper facilities.

I wouldn't be upset if a woman next to me on a train or bus started to breastfeed her baby, I just don't want them to do it in front of me when I'm eating in a restaurant. Its a bit like smoking in a restaurant, I don't like that either and yet I smoke, thankfully that does not happen anymore. Personally I would walk out which is my right just as much as it may be the right of the woman to breast feed in a restaurant. To stop getting to that point however there has to be a middle way.

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[quote user="Quillan"]

I don't think the argument is so much about giving women the right to feed their babies in public I think its more about public places being made to provide suitable facilities for a mother to breastfeed her baby [/quote]

It would be a lot cheaper and more practical if people simply didn't have issues with women breastfeeding in public.  The facilities I need are is a chair and shelter from sun / rain.  That is it.  Private facilities can be a godsend to women who are shy about feeding in public: but they are often shy solely because of attitudes like Quillan's and don't want to be stared at.  And as for walking out of a restaurant if a woman starting feeding her child - that kind of attitude is precisely why rates are so low and so many women refuse to even try to breastfeed.   When I started off I would choose a quiet corner of the restaurant/cafe and sit with my back to the room.  Then as my confidence grew, I could sit anywhere and you would really need to be staring at me to see any part of my skin.  But it can take a lot of confidence and you need to feel like you will be supported.  I felt really terrible when the restaurant owners made a snide comment and it did give me a big knock.

You can't promote breastfeeding and then shove all the women who want to do it into a private room.  To increase breastfeeding rates, a normalisation of attitudes is needed and it should be ok to breastfeed anywhere you would bottle feed.  Otherwise, it is difficult to leave the house.  Finding a place to change a nappy can be difficult enough: needing to find breastfeeding facilities would be a logistical nightmare, especially in rural France and the mothers of small babies have enough hassle getting out the door!  Getting a table a langer or even a toilet large enough to change a nappy is a triumph in the large towns near me.

 I am shocked that you can compare it with smoking in a restaurant: a women breastfeeding a child has no impact on your health for a start.  All you need do is not look.  You may think you support breastfeeding Quillan, but your attitudes are really anti-breastfeeding. I don't want to offend anyone but feeding a child in a place where others are eating is a normal thing to do and I don't think people who have some kind of weird issue with that should be pandered to. 

Have you ever seen a women breastfeeding beside you in a restaurant and if so, why would it bother you to the extent that you would walk out of the restaurant Quillan?  Would you do the same for a bottlefed baby?  I think some people think a woman practically undresses to breastfeed in public, but this is really not the case.  Please do try to think about the effect your actions and attitudes would have on a woman trying to establish feeding.  It really can be difficult enough to do without having to worry about insulting those around you.

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Quite right!

 

When a woman is used to breastfeeding after a few weeks, no one would ever need to see a bit of breast. Give us a break , it is the most natural thing in the world.

I wished one of the feeding musms in our village "bon apetit" when she was on the place with her baby and todler........her grin was a joy.

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Pangur, you have very eloquently said exactly what I was going to say- but much better!

We have an obesity crisis which starts with bottle feeding and weaning too early on to solids to get babies to sleep through the night. It is a health time bomb, and promoting breastfeeding and supporting mums is very important. My children were born in the early 70s, and it was even much harder then. fortunately all my entourage were nurses and doctors- so it was easy among friends.

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