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Breastfeeding in public made possible thanks to “lactation route” in Valparaíso

VALPARAÍSO – A new ordinance for mother who need to breastfeed in public spaces is set in Valparaíso. The aim is to protect women from harassment while breastfeeding in public spaces. Mother looking for place to breastfeed their babies can also receive services at this route.

Chile joined the international breastfeeding campaign with a new resolution that supports women so they can freely breastfeed in any public space. The lactation route counts with support from citizens and establishments such as restaurants or malls which provide space so women can feel comfortable to breastfeed. With the measure, mothers can feed their babies without having to buy anything in the respective establishment, which also has to provide certain services and create for a peaceful environment.

Several restaurants voluntarily joined the ordinance. Valparaiso’s town hall considers promoting breastfeeding important because of the benefits it yields for moms and children.

According to the municipality of Valparaiso, Alejandro Escobar, director of the municipal corporation’s health division said: “this initiative contemplated within the Health Plan 2018-2020 looks to turn Valparaíso into a community that supports breastfeeding. Thus generating a private-public cooperation, so distinct commercial premises receive women that are in a breastfeeding stage. This task counts with the support of city hall, government institutions and the regional lactation committee.” Claudia Novoa, coordinator and international breastfeeding consultant said that first locals must have a policy to educate personnel about the resolution. Second, breastfeeding women must receive a proper treatment and protection from clients that could feel annoyed by mother and baby. And for the last part, moms don’t have to consume if they don’t want to.

Valparaíso’s measure comes as UNICEF promotes breastfeeding. The organization revealed that over 7 million babies don’t receive breast milk, and in a recent study UNICEF found that more than 1 in 5 babies in high-income countries are never been breastfed, compared to 1 in 25 in low- and middle-income countries. The analysis indicates that breastfeeding can help saving lives and prevent mortal diseases. “Breastfeeding is the most valuable gift a mother can give, rich or poor, it can give as much for her as for her baby” said Shahida Azfar, deputy executive director of UNICEF.

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