Cut-outs of breast­feed­ing moms pop up in Tim­mins

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - DANIELA GERMANO

Four women and their nurs­ing in­fants have be­come the poster chil­dren for a north­ern On­tario com­mu­nity’s cam­paign to re­duce the stigma around breast­feed­ing in pub­lic.

The Por­cu­pine Health Unit in Tim­mins launched a cam­paign this week that will have life-size card­board cut-outs of the lo­cal women nurs­ing their chil­dren dis­played around the city.

The ini­tia­tive is to re­mind peo­ple that breast­feed­ing is healthy and nat­u­ral, and that women shouldn’t be dis­cour­aged from nurs­ing in pub­lic spa­ces, health unit nurse Mea­gan Potvin said.

“I think there is some mis­in­for­ma­tion about nurs­ing in gen­eral,” Potvin said. “(Some) have that be­lief that if a mother is nurs­ing her baby, then we see it all, and that re­ally is not the case. If a mother is com­fort­able and nurs­ing, she is fully pro­tected by law.”

About 80 per cent of women in the Tim­mins area start breast­feed­ing af­ter giv­ing birth, Potvin said, but that num­ber starts to de­cline af­ter a few months partly be­cause of fear of be­ing asked to cover up.

“This cam­paign wasn’t nec­es­sar­ily just to push the idea of breast­feed­ing, but to make sure all moth­ers feel sup­ported and that they have the in­for­ma­tion to make the best de­ci­sion for their fam­i­lies when it comes to feed­ing their in­fant — whether that be breast milk, for­mula or both,” she said.

As part of the cam­paign, the cut-outs are be­ing placed in front of places such as restau­rants, re­tail­ers and gov­ern­ment build­ings.

Potvin said the cam­paign so far has re­ceived lo­cal sup­port, with busi­nesses sign­ing up to dis­play the cut-outs and pro­mote them­selves as breast­feed­ing-friendly spa­ces.

Nancy Le­brun, who works at Jorie’s Fine Cloth­ing, said the down­town shop has al­ways al­lowed moth­ers to breast­feed in­side, so it was fit­ting that it take part in the cam­paign.

She said the busi­ness will get its cut-out later this month, but so far there has only been pos­i­tive re­ac­tion from peo­ple in the com­mu­nity.

POR­CU­PINE HEALTH UNIT, THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Por­cu­pine Health Unit pub­lic health nurse Mea­gan Potvin, left, and mod­els Lau­rissa and Win­ter Cro­cetti be­side one of the Breast­feed­ing in Pub­lic cut-outs at Ur­ban Park in Tim­mins.

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