'No shame' in breastfeeding, mums claim

Tanya Demello is hoping that taking part in a show of support for breastfeeding mums at Woonona will encourage her to feed her own daughter, Ariah, in public.

"I'm quite shy about breastfeeding in public, which is why I wanted to do this," Ms Demello said.

"I use the mother's rooms and places like that. They can be cramped, dirty and hot," she said.

"Ariah feels the heat, and it's basically like eating your food in the toilet."

Ms Demello was one of 18 breastfeeding mums at the Woonona rock pool yesterday to support Liana Webster, a Queensland mum asked to leave her local pool when a staff member told her she could not feed by the water.

The issue exploded when Sunrise presenter David Koch said it was "fair enough" and that women need to be "a bit classy about it" and "discreet".

In response, around 100 mothers turned up at Sunrise's Sydney studio to stage a protest.

Ms Demello and her fellow mums from the Woonona Mothers' Group wanted to join in but chose to show their support in Woonona instead.

The plan was to take a photo and post it on Facebook but the plan grew when people outside the mothers' group also wanted to take part.

Ms Demello felt that most people weren't offended by the sight of a breastfeeding mother but comments that women need to be "discreet" carried with it a feeling of shame.

"I think when people say things like 'you need to be discreet or courteous', it makes me feel like I'm doing something wrong.

"And that makes me sad. This is sustaining someone's life. Why do you need to be discreet?"

She also said that she did not want mothers who bottle-fed their children to feel alienated by their protest, because "they also have people making inappropriate comments about what they are doing".

Another mother from the Woonona group, Emma Tenkate, said the day was designed more as a show of support for Ms Webster rather than to protest what Koch said.

"Kochie put his foot in it," Ms Tenkate said.

"I think if he had a time machine he would jump in it. He didn't mean to say it but he has, and it's put a negative image of breastfeeding out there.

"I hope it doesn't discourage people from feeding their babies whenever and wherever they want."

Ms Tenkate also said the idea that women were exposing themselves in public by breastfeeding was simply incorrect.

"However you're breastfeeding, you're not sitting there naked doing it.

"You're not flashing it to show people, you're manoeuvring it to feed your baby."

Ultimately, Ms Tenkate felt concerns about public breastfeeding had been "blown out of proportion".

"If I see someone breastfeeding in public, I smile and look away. I don't go up close and examine things - and I don't think anyone else does either."

Tanya Demello with daughter Ariah, 6 months, at Woonona Beach rock pool. Picture: ROBERT PEET

Tanya Demello with daughter Ariah, 6 months, at Woonona Beach rock pool. Picture: ROBERT PEET


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