Updated: Saturday, 17th March 2018 @ 7:44pm

Manchester stores avoid National Breastfeeding Week 'boob', with baby nursing rooms praised by mums

Manchester stores avoid National Breastfeeding Week 'boob', with baby nursing rooms praised by mums

By Danielle Wainwright

For many new Manchester mums, breastfeeding can be a tricky job to tackle when out and about with a crying and hungry bundle of joy.

Finding the perfect place to comfortably feed your little one can be a frustrating experience for those who dread the stares and whispers from onlookers.

However, National Breastfeeding Week challenges negative attitudes toward public breastfeeding, with many department stores such as Boots or John Lewis wanting mothers to feel more comfortable by opening feeding rooms.

Embarrassing incidents of breastfeeding mothers kicked out of restaurants and country clubs have become too familiar with one manager of a Belgian resort asking a woman to ‘finish up’ in the bathroom or leave.

Parenting groups and sites have given their support for feeding rooms which many charities and sites credit for creating a calmer feeding environment.

Netmums, the UK’s biggest parenting site, credits the facilities of Manchester shops and restaurants for their welcome approach to breastfeeding but admits that more could be done to accommodate specialised feeding rooms.

Founder Siobhan Freegard said: "As a big cosmopolitan city, Manchester is one of the better places in the UK to breastfeed with shops, restaurants and attractions reasonably sensitive to the needs of nursing mothers.

"However, although some big stores like John Lewis provide special breast feeding areas, most have no facilities set aside to ensure mums' privacy.

"Businesses which do support breastfeeding consistently get good reviews on Netmums so more stores should see it as an opportunity to woo the loyal and lucrative mum market.

"Breast feeding is the most natural thing in the world and local businesses would do well to remember mums make 80% of buying decisions for their household. If you exclude breast feeding mums from your firm, then you've boobed!"

Susan Earlam, 32, a journalist from Manchester, breastfed her young child without experiencing any negative reactions but admits that she was overly considerate when it came to her baby’s dinnertime.

“I do think it's important to consider your seating position when about to breastfeed,” she said.

“I would choose a seat facing outward rather than inward facing people, who could be eating their dinner. It also helps with baby not being as distracted.

“I think it’s awful how some women have been made to feel unwelcome because they want to breastfeed. It can be really tricky to start with and the last thing you need is funny looks or worse people actually saying stuff.

“To be honest I never had any extreme reactions at either end of the spectrum. Maybe I just hid it well and folks didn't realise what I was doing."

Susan had similar praises for department stores such as John Lewis and their welcoming approach to breastfeeding.

“I found my baby was very easily distracted from feeding especially when I was out and about, so if places had a designated breastfeeding area I would use that. Good places that had these sorts of facilities were Trafford centre, Ikea, John Lewis and Boots.”

For more information on National Breastfeeding Week, click here.

Image courtesy of Carol Browne via Flickr, with thanks.

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