Awards can help mothers make their own minds up

Steve's baby daughter made amazing progress this week, or so his wife thought

STEVE CANAVAN: It was a lot of rattle over just a little roll

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Portsmouth has a relatively low take-up when it comes to breastfeeding.

That fact is as good a reason as any to highlight the need for people to make informed choices about the way they bring up their children – whether that’s to do with questions about diet, education, exercise or anything else.

It is also true, however, that nothing divides opinion quite like the subject of breastfeeding.

While some decide it’s not for them, there are those who might come across as perhaps a little too over-zealous in their attempts to persuade new mums that breast is always best.

TV presenter Myleene Klass has spoken out about the so-called ‘breastapo’ recently. As a new mum herself, she believes women should not be made to feel guilty if they don’t always choose to breastfeed – either because that’s their personal choice, or because they have had difficulty doing it in the past.

Of course, she’s talking a lot of sense. Becoming a parent is hard enough without the extra pressure.

But while we certainly don’t think parents should be pushed into making any decision they don’t want to, there is a clear reason why we should make sure people are as informed as possible.

Mums need to be armed with all the help, advice and support they can get – and that’s where this new awards scheme comes in.

By highlighting where the breastfeeding-friendly cafes in Portsmouth are, mothers will be able to make their own choices and know that there is somewhere to go where they will be welcomed and made to feel comfortable.

While it’s not their intention, Portsmouth Supports Breastfeeding Action Group may also be doing those who disagree with them a favour too. If you really object to sharing a cafe with a breastfeeding mum, the awards will warn you about the venues you might want to choose to avoid.

At the end of the day, breastfeeding is a natural way for a mum to nourish her child and there are health benefits attached to it too.

If these awards mean the take-up of mums doing it increases, that can only be a good thing.