A campaign from the Tennessee Health Department encourages businesses to welcome breastfeeding mothers into their establishment.
The Breastfeeding Welcomed Here campaign allows the owners of businesses to fill out a form online to have their business added to a list of breastfeeding-friendly establishments. Business owners who fill out the form online will also receive a decal to display at the entrance to their business.
Sutton Davis, Registered Dietitian at the Sullivan County Regional Health Department, said the campaign helps new mothers and families feel secure while breastfeeding.
“It’s so important, and you want to make sure that the mother feels supported and comfortable there,” she said. “That is absolutely something that they look for, and I think that’s super important that (businesses) get their name added to that list. It’d be really encouraging to see a lot more local businesses added to that list for sure.”
Although it’s legal for women to breastfeed in any public space in all 50 states, the Breastfeeding Welcomed Here campaign is a way to ensure mothers won’t be asked to leave an establishment for breastfeeding.
Businesses can register online at breastfeeding.tn.gov, and a list of businesses that have taken the pledge can be found under the breastfeeding section of the state health department’s website.
The campaign precedes World Breastfeeding Week, which is Aug. 1-7 this year. Davis said she hopes to see more businesses take the pledge over the next few months to support new mothers and families.
So far, seven Johnson City businesses have added their names along with eight businesses from Kingsport and seven businesses in Bristol.
“It’s one of the best gifts that a mom can give their baby and support is crucial during this time, so for a business to put themsevles out there and say ‘We support you’ gives these families that reassurance and support and that’s exactly what they need to hear during this time,” she said.