First official 'Breastfeeding Friendly' café opens in Nottinghamshire
A new café designed to offer support and a welcoming atmosphere for young families has opened in Nottinghamshire, as part of a scheme to make the area ‘breastfeeding friendly’.
The Milk Lounge has become the first business to sign up to Gedling Borough Council's scheme, offering feeding and mental health advice from professionals, as well as tea, coffee and cakes.
Video report by Charlotte Cross:
The council’s equalities policy adviser, Roxanne Ellis, told ITV News Central that they launched the campaign after a number of incidents across the Midlands where mothers were apparently asked to leave public places because they were breastfeeding.
One such case, at a sports shop in Nottingham, led to protests in the street - while others gathered in Rugby when a mum was labelled a ‘tramp’ on social media.
Firms now have the chance to be officially recognised as ‘Breastfeeding Friendly’ if they meet a list of criteria.
The checklist includes meeting high standards of cleanliness, spacious facilities to accommodate buggies, changing rooms, and special feeding rooms; as well as offering toddler activities and healthy food options for those weaning.
The Milk Lounge is being run by young mother-of-one Charlotte Purdie, who said the idea came to her after she gave birth to her son Bobby.
The law clearly states that women are entitled to breastfeed in any public place, including businesses providing a service to the public.
This includes shops, leisure centres, restaurants, cinemas - and so on, but some mothers told ITV News Central they still face challenges.
“It's not until you have a baby that you realise how difficult it is,” Samantha Newsome, who dropped in to feed her little girl Evie Rose, said.
“I used to work for a children’s centre, and so many times we've had so many mums come in in tears because they've been out and about and they've been moved away or they've been asked to feed in a toilet.
"So it's really challenging for people to feel confident to come out and breastfeed and comfortable or looked upon or feel like they should move away.”
Hollis Bowse, who had her two daughters Eliza and Darcie in tow, added: “I personally don't breastfeed myself but I know a lot of people that do and they're very self-conscious about it because of the perception that it has and because of the way that people feel about it in public.
“But really it's a really natural thing and should be completely accepted everywhere, so I think there's definitely a call for more places to be breastfeeding friendly.”
The Milk Lounge officially opens its doors on April 20 - and the council hopes that the Breastfeeding Friendly sticker will soon be seen on many more storefronts across the town.