DELTA TOWNSHIP (WILX)-- What do you do if you see a mother breastfeeding in public? Do you turn your head and wish she'd go somewhere else, or do you see it as a normal activity that doesn't need to be hidden??
A number of local mothers say the answer should be "B," and are calling on the public to rethink the social norms.
As part of breastfeeding awareness week more than twenty mothers with their children participated in a 'Latch On' event in Delta Township Friday. 'Latch On' is a synchronized breastfeeding event that includes mothers across the world. Last year more than 8,862 children were counted as part of the global 'Latch On' event. The event is done to raise awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding and the need for global support.
Lynn Ross, owner of Mother and Earth Baby Boutique, says she still gets dirty looks from strangers when she is nursing her son in public.
"It's an emotional experience. For a mom to not have the support, it's very easy to give up," said Ross.
But Ross nursed with pride Friday at the big 'Latch On' event. She says she was showing that public breastfeeding is healthy, natural, and that women shouldn't be scorned for it.
"It's really important to show you're not alone in breastfeeding. There's support out there," said mother Alexia Mansour.
(We have included a links to the local breastfeeding support groups at the bottom of this story.)
Only 15% of moms in the state of Michigan breastfeed to the recommended age of 6 months, according to the Michigan Department of Community Health. Most moms choose bottlefeeding not because it's necessarily easier, but because its more socially acceptable, especially for a working mom. Ross says she hopes to change that.
"It's different in today's society. With a lot of moms working full time, it's hard to find time to pump. Especially if your employer isn't supportive of it," said Ross.
Even with dirty looks, Ross says the health benefits alone with breastfeeding make it an easy decision.
"The baby get the antibodies from the moms milk to prevent and fight off illnesses. It's also known to prevent childhood obesity."
The Latch-On event continues Saturday at Mother and Earth Boutique in Delta Township. Registration begins at 10:00 am, and the breastfeeding starts at 10:30 am.