Do family-style restaurants support, protect and promote breastfeeding?
This thesis investigates community support for breastfeeding in family restaurants. Four breastfeeding and four bottle-feeding women each visited four restaurants designated as baby-friendly, and four restaurants without this designation. A focus group was also conducted with five breastfeeding women. Compared to bottle-feeding mothers, there was a non-statistically significant trend toward breastfeeding mothers receiving more attention, particularly non-verbal, during feeding. There were no significant differences in attention received at baby-friendly versus non-designated restaurants. Mothers reported feeling physically and socially comfortable at the restaurants, and received little overt feedback, with one minor negative incident occurring. Baby-friendly restaurants provided some mother-baby facilities, but employees tended not to be aware of breastfeeding policies, and breastfeeding promotion materials were often not displayed. Implications for public health include providing anticipatory guidance for breastfeeding mothers regarding breastfeeding in public, and forming community partnerships for supporting, protecting and promoting breastfeeding.