The meaning behind small purple BFF sign popping up on businesses across Australia
- New signs indicate a space is breastfeeding friendly
- The initiative helps mum feels safe to nurse
Businesses across Australia are getting involved in a movement to help breastfeeding mothers pump or feed their babies in public spaces in comfort.
Stickers are appearing on shopfront windows labelling the business as BFF or BreastFeeding Friendly to combat social stigma many mums face when trying to feed their babies in communal areas.
Sydney mum Emily Witte displays her BFF badge out the front of her own hair salon after struggling to nurse in public places for weeks after she had her first child.
Nicole Liu, founder of Kin Fertility, started the initiative after it was revealed, of the 96 per cent of mothers who chose to breastfeed, two thirds have had negative experiences trying to do so in public.
News of the BFF movement is sweeping social media just two days after it was launched on July 26 and exciting mothers and parents all over the country.
Stickers are appearing on shopfront windows labelling the business as BFF or BreastFeeding Friendly to combat social stigma many mums face when trying to feed their babies in public
Businesses can register for their own Kin Fertility purple and white sticker, that reads: ‘Our space is BFF Breastfeeding Friendly’, to let mums know their space is a safe to nurse or pump
Emily owns RESOIR hair salon in Mona Vale, 28km north of Sydney’s centre, and was encouraged to register as a BFF business after facing challenges while breastfeeding herself.
‘I suffered bad in the first six weeks and struggled to breastfeed in public places for many reasons so I know how mums feel. The amount of side streets, change rooms, and car seats I have had to breastfeed in,’ she said.
‘But 10 months on and I’m still breastfeeding and doing so anywhere and everywhere. I’m happy to be a safe space for women if they need a place to breastfeed, pump, or whatever!’
Business owners can register for their own Kin Fertility purple and white sticker, that reads: ‘Our space is BFF Breastfeeding Friendly’, to let mums know their space is a safe and judgement-free place to nurse or pump.
Nicole Liu, of Kin Fertility, started the initiative after it was revealed of the 96 per cent of mothers who breastfeed, two thirds have had bad experiences trying to do so in public
Why do so many Aussie mums feel ‘ashamed’ to breastfeed in public?
Research shows that 96 per cent of mothers will initiate breastfeeding, and that Australian law protects a mother’s right to breastfeed in public, however, the barriers that mums face when breastfeeding their children in public continue to be ever-present.
Kin Fertility commissioned a research survey of 332 women who have breastfed in the last three years. The results were staggering:
- Two in three women have negative experiences breastfeeding in public.
- Only three per cent of women feel that a woman’s right to breastfeed publicly in Australia is always upheld.
- If there were public spaces where women could breastfeed or pump at any time, free of judgement, 94 per cent would use them.
- 92 per cent would be more likely to breastfeed or pump in public if they saw more women doing so.
- Fear of social commentary (72 per cent) and judgement (55 per cent) are the biggest challenges they face.
Source: Kin Fertility
The team at Kin Fertility were inspired to launch the BFF movement after startling research found many Aussie mums don’t feel comfortable breastfeeding in public.
Only three per cent of participating women feel a woman’s right to breastfeed publicly in Australia is always upheld.
The main deterrents of breastfeeding in public included fear of social commentary and judgement while 94 per cent of the 332 surveyed mums said they would use public spaces where women could pump or breastfeed at any time.
One mum said she gets weird looks that make her ‘feel ashamed’ of herself when feeding her baby in public.
‘I felt as thought a lot of people would state and it was made into an environment that was uncomfortable,’ a second mother reported.
‘Someone told me I should go to the toilets to feed my twins,’ another recalled.
According to Kin Fertility, only three per cent of participating women feel a woman’s right to breastfeed publicly in Australia is always upheld
In response to the findings, Nicole and the team at Kin Fertility launched the BFF movement to make Australia more breastfeeding friendly and the word is spreading online.
‘Omg this is brilliant,’ one woman said and another added: ‘So so grateful for this movement’.
In just two days since BFF’s soft launched more than 20 Australian business including cafes, salons, and shops, have signed up.
To be a BFF space, staff must empower mums to feel comfortable and welcome to nurse or pump in a venue with areas with enough room for mothers to do so.
They must also want to stand up for a woman’s right to breastfeed or pump in public if another patron questions the practice or the mum expresses feeling of judgement.
Is breastfeeding in public legal in Australia?
A mother’s right to breastfeed her child is protected by law both federally and in every State and Territory.
It is illegal to treat a woman less favourably than another person in education, employment or access to buildings or services because she is breastfeeding.
- A woman cannot be asked to leave a cafe for breastfeeding her baby.
- A woman cannot be refused employment because she is breastfeeding.
- A woman cannot be expelled from an educational institution because she is breastfeeding.
In Australian Federal Law breastfeeding is a right, not a privilege.
Under the federal Sex Discrimination Act 1984, it is illegal in Australia to discriminate against a person either directly or indirectly on the grounds of breastfeeding.
As well as the protection offered under the federal Sex Discrimination Act 1984, individual states and territories have their own laws to protect the rights of breastfeeding women.
These cover areas such as work, education and the provision of goods and services. Details vary so check with your state or territory government agency.
Source: Australian Breastfeeding Association