I hear so many stories of women being shamed for breastfeeding publicly that sometimes I’m tempted to just throw up my hands and declare humanity The Worst. However, one Australian eatery is doing its part to restore my faith in the species: The café offers free tea to breastfeeding moms. It’s such a simple gesture, but it sends a big message: Namely, that breastfeeding mothers deserve welcome and support in public spaces, not shaming.
In March, Carolyn Hastie posted a photo of a sign in the window at The Willows Café & Wine Bar in Willoughby, near Sydney. The sign reads, “Breastfeeding Mums. Pop in [and] have a FREE cup of tea if you need a pit stop. No need to eat. No need to ask. Please relax.” Hastie posted the image with the comment, “Isn't this a delightful sight.” Delightful, indeed. Any new mom will attest to the fact that breastfeeding is hard, and feeding a baby when you’re out and about is even harder. Finding a clean, comfortable place to breastfeed is a challenge in itself, and women who breastfeed in public often face stares and whispers from others, if not outright rudeness. So imagine how refreshing it must be for breastfeeding mothers to walk into a place that not only openly welcomes them, but actually greets them with a good, strong cuppa. What could be better?
The sign at The Willows Café and Wine Bar has been up since June of 2015, and it’s been popular among breastfeeding mothers in the area. The café is owned by Natala Bain, who told Mashable Australia, “I'm a young mum myself and I had just had my first child, and thought that it's a good thing to do. It's really to make breastfeeding mums feel welcome.” Bain said that, for many breastfeeding customers, the most important aspect of the sign isn’t so much the tea, but the welcome itself. “They just love it,” she explained. “Most come in anyway because they love the sign, and they don’t really care about the free tea.”