HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — You won’t find it on the menu, but you will see it on the front door of more than 50 Hampton Roads restaurants: Breastfeeding Welcome Here.
Renee Reposa manages Pashsa Mezze in Norfolk, one of the first local businesses to sign a pledge saying they will not ask nursing moms to leave or go to the bathroom. That is something we’ve seen happen in cities across the country, most recently at a courthouse in Alabama, a Victoria’s Secret in Texas and a Chick Fil A in Tennessee.
“We’re looking to change the social norm, the visual norm,” said EVMS Project Manager Megan Whitehill.
Local Health advocates from Eastern Virginia Medical School, Old Dominion University’s nursing program, Healthy Norfolk, and Healthy Portsmouth teamed up with the Consortium For Infant and Child Health on the silhouette sticker campaign. They say despite doctor recommendations to breastfeed infants until they turn one, only 15 percent of Virginia moms are still breastfeeding at six months.
“A lot of that has to do with barriers, social and societal barriers,” Whitehill said.
Reposa can relate. As a nursing mom, at one time she remembers the challenges: “In the beginning I hid a lot and had a lot of nice blankets.”
For Reposa, supporting nursing moms is a no brainier, and the Turkish tradition of dining on couches with comfy pillows helps Moms at Pasha Mezze feel at home. She told WAVY.com no one has ever complained.
“But I think I would handle it like I handle everything, with humor, and say, ‘you know, this is the natural course of things, you know, you’re eating, they’re eating, you know, if you want us to move you to another table that’s fine.’”
After all, she said, they are all about the healthiest foods, and for babies, mom’s milk is just that.
Public breastfeeding is still a touchy topic for some people, so WAVY.com posted a poll on our homepage — click here and look on the right side of the page to find our poll and share your opinion with us.