Be ready to see more breastfeeding in public in the Timmins and surrounding area.

The Porcupine Health Unit is launching their “Breastfeeding in Public” campaign to eliminate the stigma surrounding it, featuring life-sized cutouts of local mothers breastfeeding their child.

Public Health Nurse Meagan Potvin says they got the idea from other health units, but haven’t had the opportunity to roll it out until now.

“It definitely makes some noise,” she said, “It’s going to be great to get the community talking.”

Most women in the area make the decision to breastfeed, the PHU states. They add there are a number of reasons most don’t continue to do so past two weeks or beyond six months.

So supporting those mothers who do breastfeed is crucial to their success.

“This includes supporting their rights to breastfeed in public,” they add.

“Breastfeeding in public is every woman’s right,” Potvin says, “We are starting the conversation with the help of local mothers who have volunteered to be the face of this campaign in order to make these experiences as real as possible.”

In order to perform this campaign, the PHU needed some willing mothers and Potvin says the response was positive.

Four mothers—called “local champions”—were selected to be on the cutouts, which will be featured in many areas throughout the region.

Holly Curtis is featured on one of the cutouts with Lincoln, her 18-month old boy.

She says she got involved in this to raise awareness about the benefits of breastfeeding for both the mother and baby.

“Breastfeeding wasn’t always easy in the beginning,” Curtis says, “So I think it’s really important to help educate moms that it’s not always easy and that it gets easier with a good outpouring of support from the community, the health unit or friends or just other moms that are breastfeeding.”

The mother of four boys adds it’s important for the kids to know too.

“My kids don’t know the difference…they just think that’s how babies are fed so I think for us,” she said.

And now Curtis has been immortalized on the cut out and part of the solution. A solution to a stigma she says is of “people showing everything.”

“Some people take it wrong,” Curtis says, “You’re feeding your baby, you’re doing what’s best for them and it doesn’t have to be about (the stigma). I’m nursing him and he’s happy.”

“It doesn’t have to be always about what people think it is.”

Potvin says cut outs will be at the Urban Park in Downtown Timmins to start, but expect to roll them out to restaurants and government buildings in the next few weeks.

“Stay tuned,” she adds, “Because they’re going to be all the way from Timmins to Moosonee.”

Filed under: Local News