Parliament Buildings has become the latest public venue to welcome breastfeeding.
More than 400 businesses, council facilities and popular local attractions are part of the Public Health Agency’s (PHA) “Breastfeeding Welcome Here” scheme, which aims to help make breastfeeding mothers feel comfortable about feeding their baby in public.
Now the home of the Northern Ireland Assembly has added itself to the scheme whereby it has promised to display a sticker and certificate to let women know that they are welcome to feed in all areas and will not be asked to stop breastfeeding.
Janet Calvert, from the PHA, said: “Breastfeeding in public places can be a daunting prospect, especially for first-time mums. Breastfeeding Welcome Here aims to increase the social acceptability of breastfeeding in public by supporting mums who want, and need, to feed when out and about.”
Assembly Speaker Mitchel McLaughlin also hailed the move.
“Parliament Buildings welcomes around 80,000 visitors through its doors each year. It is important that we are able to demonstrate respect to those we represent by providing a friendly and welcoming visiting environment and experience for all,” he said.
Northern Ireland has the lowest breastfeeding rates in the UK and one of the lowest in Europe. For children, breastfeeding reduces the overall risk of gastro-enteritis, chest, ear and kidney infections, childhood obesity, type 2 diabetes, childhood cancer and sudden infant death syndrome.