Gympie mother-of-four Jo Buchanan, with Mackinley, Ty, Hadlee and Aiden, says she is considerate of others when breastfeeding in public.
Gympie mother-of-four Jo Buchanan, with Mackinley, Ty, Hadlee and Aiden, says she is considerate of others when breastfeeding in public.

Big difference between breast feeding and going topless

GYMPIE mums and dads had a mixed response to the debate over breastfeeding in public yesterday, but all agreed that mothers need to be able to feed their babies whenever and wherever they need.

Social media forums like Facebook went into meltdown at the weekend, and television host David Koch became the target of a Sydney protest when he said women should be "classy" when breastfeeding in public.

This all followed an incident at Bribie Island earlier this month, where a breastfeeding mother was told by a public pool employee she could not feed her baby by the side of the pool.

Gympie pool manager and the owner of Deep Blue Aquatics, Libby Manthey, said she had never had anyone complain about mums breastfeeding at the Memorial Pool but there had been some complaints about the scant size of some of the bikinis worn there.

"It is "certainly allowed" at the pool, and Deep Blue is a registered breastfeeding-friendly venue.

In fact, there are so many breastfeeding-friendly businesses and venues in Gympie, the city was identified as a State leader in a recent study by Sunshine Coast university students, under the supervision of the Sunshine Coast Health Service.

Member for Gympie David Gibson, Mayor Ron Dyne and Cr Rae Gate all threw their support behind breastfeeding mothers yesterday. Both Gympie Council and Mr Gibson's offices are "breastfeeding friendly" venues.

"I personally have no problem with a mother breastfeeding, although I think that a little discretion is perhaps the best practice" Cr Dyne said.

"However in the end, a baby needs to be fed and does not like to wait for anyone."

Mr Gibson said he personally supported breastfeeding, "however, there is a difference between breastfeeding and going 'topless', and most mothers understand this and show the appropriate discretion."

New mums Jo Buchanan and Kim Grills said they used discretion when breastfeeding in public by throwing a breastfeeding cape or a nappy over their shoulder.

But former Gympie mum Shelley Rowett said people saw "more boob" from low cut dresses than breastfeeding, and she would like to see the anti-discrimination legislation tested in court.

Cr Gate said it behoved Mr Koch to take note of what most Australian mothers were saying in response to his comments.

Gympie Times


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