Campaign encourages moms to breastfeed in public

Grants Pass, Ore. — Statistics in Josephine County show while 96% of moms breastfeed their children at birth, only 46% continue to do so beyond the baby’s first 4 to 6 months of life. Oregon law allows moms to breastfeed in public, but it isn’t always embraced. However a campaign by 2 Rogue Valley students hopes to change that.

“We need something that tells them they can stop, and go in, and not even have the opportunity to be judged or feel uncomfortable so that’s where our eat local campaign kind of came from.”

Amanda Strahm is a nursing student at OHSU. She and her classmate Joy Huston partnered with the local health department and WIC to initiate a campaign promoting breastfeeding in public.

“One of the biggest barriers that they identified to us was support from the community to breastfeed or feeling uncomfortable breastfeeding in the community,” Strahm says.

The pair reached out to businesses in downtown Grants Pass inviting them to hang a flyer, and since it’s launch, at least 10 businesses have latched on to the idea. From downtown restaurants, to local retail stores.

“If we went out to a restaurant and we were told that we needed to eat under a blanket, you know that’s probably not very enjoyable,” Kylie Baker, manager of Eco Tots Boutique says.

“Babies shouldn’t have to eat their lunch in the bathroom,” Shelly Solomon owner of The Horny Goat adds, “it should be a normal part of a mom being able to take care of her children.”

The idea is that the signs will serve as an invitation to moms to feed their babies without a second thought, and the hope is that eventually the invitation won’t be necessary.

“The perception to the mothers is that it’s not welcome, but the owners they want it,” Strahm says, “the hope is that we just keep building on this and then it does just take off and mothers all around Oregon will feel be empowered to breast feed no matter what.”

Participating businesses in Grants Pass include Rogue Roasters, The Horny Goat, The Laughing Clam, Eco Tots Boutique, Ma Mosa’s, The Haul, Bluestone Bakery & Cafe, and River Valley Community Church.

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