Breastfeeding mums: why do critics feel so uncomfortable?

HAPPY TRIO: Hervey Bay mum Jessia Wemmerslager (centre) with daughter Arnika and son Niko Timmins.
HAPPY TRIO: Hervey Bay mum Jessia Wemmerslager (centre) with daughter Arnika and son Niko Timmins. Matthew McInerney

"WHY do you feel so uncomfortable when witnessing something so natural?"

Hervey Bay mother of two Jessica Wemmerslager believes this is a question breastfeeding critics could ask themselves.

It comes after a recent case where a young mother breastfeeding her child was told to either cover herself or leave a Kmart store located north of the Fraser Coast.

The mum said she was confronted by a male staff member who told her it was against Kmart's policy to allow breastfeeding in the store.

A Kmart representative apologised for the incident, and said it would not happen again.


Hervey Bay mum Jessia Wemmerslager and son Niko Timmins.
Hervey Bay mum Jessia Wemmerslager and son Niko Timmins. Matthew McInerney

Discriminating against a breastfeeding woman is illegal under both state and national laws.

Jess, who is currently still breastfeeding her seven-month-old baby Niko, hasn't ever been in a situation where she's felt uncomfortable in public.

She believes mothers are only ever doing the best they can and need to feel comfortable wherever they are.

"It can be daunting enough going out in public with your baby as it is," the yoga teacher said.

When Jess had her second baby Niko, she had trouble feeding.

Jess, who likes to breastfeed discretely, said she could understand how much of a worry it may be for women who are discriminated against.

"Remember we were all babies once and as an adult if you were to find out your mother was told to 'stop feeding you as a baby, how would you feel' is a question I've asked myself."

Jess said she finds the shopping centres and public places around Hervey Bay fine to breastfeed at.

"There are really good parent rooms," she said.

Alena Van Workum is a mum of one and pregnant with twins on the way.

The Canadian-born mum understands that in the Western world breasts are seen as a sexual object and believes there is a lot of ignorance around breasts, sexuality and breastfeeding.

"I can understand how it could make some people feel uncomfortable which is why I'm graceful about the way I breastfeed," Alena said.

"At times I felt a little bit uncomfortable when I saw mums in public but when you become a mother yourself, your whole perspective changes and it's something that is so natural.

"I have compassion for people that have a problem with it because they just don't know," she said.

Since 2010, 14 cases of discrimination on the grounds of breastfeeding have been upheld by the Anti Discrimination Commission Queensland.

Topics:  breastfeeding editors picks heymumma parenting

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