The newest premises to be awarded a Breastfeeding Friendly certification is The Kat’s Pyjamas, cafe and soft play in Tweedmouth.
The scheme has been developed to promote, protect and support parents’ right to breastfeed in public and to increase the acceptability of breastfeeding as a ‘normal’ activity.
Jo Hart, chairperson of Breastfeeding North Northumberland, said: “There have been surveys done in the UK that suggest that the great majority of people find breastfeeding in public acceptable, and it is rare to be challenged on it or to receive a negative comment when seen nursing.
“However, I have recently had an issue with someone who found it offensive and it has really affected my confidence dramatically. I worry about this sort of complaint happening to new mothers, especially those who worry about feeding in public, as it could cause them to stop.
“Breastfeeding is completely natural, and in my opinion if people are offended by the natural way I feed my baby, they should keep it to themselves. The scheme will create lots of safe places for mothers to breastfeed, without fear of being challenged.
“I think it’s really needed in Berwick especially because I know a number of women who have received negative comments locally, and I know from personal experience how intimidating it can be to feed in public, looking around and wondering if anyone will be offended, or worse, complain to you.
“Breastfeeding is normal, and Breastfeeding North Northumberland would love to see more mothers free and happy to feed wherever and whenever they need to.”
Research has shown that acceptance and support are important for encouraging women to continue to breastfeed beyond the early days, so there is an identified need for public places where they feel welcomed and supported.
Any premises open to the public can apply to participate in the scheme, to provide breastfeeding mothers with a seat and attempt to make her comfortable, if possible providing a private space, if required. Above all, the scheme is about staff being considerate and encouraging to breastfeeding families.
Premises in Berwick which have the award are Berwick Garden Centre, Boots, The Maltings and The Kat’s Pyjamas.
Breastfeeding North Northumberland is a constituted group of professionals and local peer supporters offering help and information for breastfeeding mothers.
The Berwick group runs every Monday from 1pm-2.30pm in Berwick Children’s Centre (Sure Start). All breastfeeding mums and families are welcome to drop in for support and information from the Infant Feeding Co-ordinator, Carolynn Reavley, or just to socialise and chat with other breastfeeding mums.
The group are also having a teddy bears’ picnic (weather permitting) on Monday, August 4 at the Walled Gardens in Spittal (next to the splash park), to which all families are welcome. There will be a raffle, games, storytelling and singing, ideal for babies, toddlers and young children.