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Cheerful sign welcomes breastfeeding moms
A smiley face punctuates a handwritten sign in front of a café in Cheltenham, England. The sign welcomes breastfeeding moms into the establishment, encouraging them to stop in for a — free — cup of tea and the chance to relax while feeding their children. Breastfeeding is legal in England, which means moms can technically breastfeed in public wherever they please, but anyone who's breastfed knows it's not always a matter of legal status. Restaurants, coffee shops and other public places can be a minefield of stress for moms, with workers asking mothers to cover their feeding infants, asking them to move to a different location within the establishment or verbally agreeing with complaining customers.
Breastfeeding needs to be more than "legal"
Across the U.S., laws are changing to make it easier for moms to breastfeed in public — or at least to make it legal. Legal protection means moms can't be prosecuted for public breastfeeding or asked to leave an establishment, but legal protection isn't the same thing as public acceptance. Breastfeeding moms and their children need more than legal protection.
Feeding a child shouldn't be stressful
Life with children, especially young babies, is a juggling act. The short cycle of eating, diapering and sleeping means any errands or meetings with friends tend to coincide with at least one of those three central infant acts. Not knowing where breastfeeding will be welcome is a source of stress for many breastfeeding moms, who aren't looking to make a political statement, contrary to what some people think. They just want to feed their children.
Welcoming breastfeeding is the right move for businesses
The simple sign in Cheltenham might not seem like much in a place where breastfeeding in public is a woman's legal right, but it has the potential to change a frazzled mom's day. Hopefully more establishments will follow the café's lead and welcome breastfeeding moms. After all, a welcoming attitude has the potential to build customer loyalty — from two customers. After all, that breastfeeding baby may one day be a toddler who needs a snack while his mother is feeding his new baby brother.