Mum encourages businesses to become breastfeeding friendly

Faye Ellis and her daughter Violet Photo: Archant

Faye Ellis and her daughter Violet Photo: Archant - Credit: Archant

Mum Faye encourages shops and eateries to sign up to scheme

A Suffolk mum is on a mission to make all Ipswich shops, cafes and restaurants breastfeeding friendly.

While legally all businesses have to allow breastfeeding, only a handful of places in the town centre display a 'breastfeeding welcome' sticker.

And it's situations like the one experienced by an Essex mum, who was told by a fellow diner at a café that breastfeeding was 'putting her off her teacake' that made Faye Ellis decide to try to get businesses to sign up to the scheme.

Mum-of-one Faye, from Witnesham, also had a bad experience when breastfeeding in public.

Early in her breastfeeding journey, Faye was feeding her daughter Violet in an Ipswich café.

'No one else was in the café,' Faye explains. 'I was facing the wall and felt like I should hide, although I shouldn't have really.

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'Violet came off and I was covering up and the waitress looked at me and said 'Really?'

'With that one word, she made me feel upset.'

It's situations like this that start a vicious circle, says Faye.

'You don't see mums feeding public because people stare at them and they don't like to do it in public. That's probably why we have some of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world.'

And many mums don't at first realise you are legally allowed to breastfeed anywhere.

Earlier this year, Public Health Suffolk launched a campaign in which businesses can sign up to register as breastfeeding friendly and display a sticker in their door or window.

Faye says: 'I saw the 'breastfeeding welcome' stickers in the children's centres and thought these should be everywhere to reassure breastfeeding mums it's perfectly fine to feed in public and should be celebrated.'

But, Faye thought, if places don't know about the scheme, how can they possibly sign up to it?

That's when she got in touch with Linda Page, Ipswich Hospital breastfeeding coordinator, to find out how she could help.

Since then, Faye has been in touch with a number of Ipswich businesses, and those who have filled in a form can display a 'breastfeeding welcome' sticker.

Faye has already helped Byron Burger and Clinton Cards in the town centre to sign up to the scheme.

The mum of Violet, aged two, doesn't need to feed in public any more – only breastfeeding in the morning and at night – but wants to help other local breastfeeding mums.

And Faye has a message for the mums who do breastfeed in public. 'Keep going, you're helping other mums and putting out a really positive message.'

Though she was nervous about doing it at first, even breastfeeding in shop changing rooms when feeling self-conscious, since then Faye has breastfed in many places in Ipswich, with people not noticing most of the time.

Faye is passionate about breastfeeding and sees it as one of her biggest achievements, which is why she's so keen for businesses to sign up to the scheme and encourage other mums to breastfeed in public.

'All we are doing is the most amazing thing for our babies. Breast milk is a superfood that can't be replicated.

'The first winter after Violet was born, she had bronchiolitis,' she explains. 'I felt at the time breastmilk was saving her life.'

There are so many benefits to mums breastfeeding and being able to feed when out and about could be the difference in someone carrying on and giving up.

And what would Faye say the benefits are to businesses considering signing up to the 'breastfeeding welcome' scheme?

'You are welcoming new mums into your business, that gets around by word of mouth and it doesn't cost you anything. I feel like it's a win-win. You have nothing to lose.'

If you'd like to sign up to the scheme, email Faye here.