‘Bosom Buddies’ aims to reduce the stigma associated with breastfeeding in public through grassroots community engagement, social-media outreach, peer-to-peer support and a mobile website/app.
Cafes, shops and other relevant establishments will be enlisted to publicly indicate their support for breastfeeding mums. Venues will be featured on the website/app, provided with novel marketing collateral and assisted to educate their staff on this issue. The website/app enable mums to locate participating venues and form social connections in real time.
The launch dovetails with the release of ‘Lactaboobiephobia’, a short documentary exploring social attitudes towards breastfeeding in public (funded via Pozible: http://www.pozible.com/project/177443 and currently in production). Strategic online and offline activities will develop awareness of the project, promote participant venues, drive traffic to the website/app and stimulate conversations around breastfeeding in public.
The project will be piloted in the City of Melbourne in 2015, then replicated in other municipalities in Victoria and nationally.
Why? Back in the day, extended families lived together and women learnt about breastfeeding by example. Nowadays, people get offended at the mere sight of a baby being breastfed in public and this contributes to our low breastfeeding rates.
Mothers have a legal right to breastfeed anywhere, but fear of negative responses lead many to stay home, use formula when out, or hide in ‘discreet’ places like toilets or parents rooms. This leaves mums feeling marginalised and compounds the problem that breastfeeding is not visible within our society.
By increasing access to welcoming venues, fostering community support and enabling social connections, the project will create a more inclusive social environment for breastfeeding mums. Ultimately, more mums will be supported to reach their breastfeeding goals and more babies will receive an optimal nutritional start.
Funded by Melbourne (May 2014)