'It's such a boost': mum receives 'thanks for breastfeeding in public' card

Photo: Susanna Conti McDonald/Facebook
Photo: Susanna Conti McDonald/Facebook 

For some women, breastfeeding comes easily. For others, it's a hard-won skill. And those who choose to breastfeed well past babyhood often have to counter judgement from others - especially if it's done in public.

So Susanna Conti McDonald was a little surprised when a woman approached her and handed her a card while she was breastfeeding her two-year-old in an outdoor Sydney playgroup.

Reading the title - 'Thank you for breastfeeding in public' - Susanna thanked the woman and put the card in her bag to read later.

"She just gave it to me with a big smile. And then of course we went on talking about breastfeeding," Susanna told Essential Baby.

Later, after the woman had departed, Susanna took the card out to see what the smaller print said.

"You are not only providing your little one with the world's healthiest, love-infused baby food, but by doing so in public, you are normalising it for other mothers who otherwise might feel too shy. Thanks to women like you, hopefully we can look to a future where all babies can be fed anywhere, anytime, and without shame!" it said.

"After the lady left and I had a chance to read it I must admit that I had tears in my eyes," she explained. "I felt grateful."

Susanna posted photos of the card to Facebook, saying "Thank you random mum for making my day!"

The back of the card (below) read, "You're doing an amazing job. Keep this card for yourself to read whenever you need a boost of confidence, or pass it on to another brave mum. It might just make her day!"

The cards are the handiwork of Virginia Maddock, who has a birth and breastfeeding support business in Sydney's south. She said she's thrilled that her breastfeeding support cards are making their way around and making a difference to breastfeeding mums.

Ms Maddock told Essential Baby that she had been inspired to create them about buying a similar pack in the US.

"There is way too much shaming around breastfeeding in public," she said. "Breastfeeding can be difficult to establish. If a woman is given one of these cards and it helps her to continue, then that's a good thing."

She also says the oft-spouted myths about breast milk lacking nutrients after six months are incorrect, and that women need to be supported to continue, rather than pressured to stop.

"The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding until at least 2 years of age," Maddock states.

It's a small and powerful gesture that well and truly hit its mark for one mum. Susanna - who says she gave in to family pressure to stop breastfeeding her older child after a certain amount of time - said, "I know I should pass it on, but I think I might hold onto it a bit longer."

"It's such a boost to my self-esteem."