Cut-outs of breastfeeding moms pop up in Timmins
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 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.