The Library – A Breastfeeding-Friendly Place

By Tamsin Shute, Youth Services Librarian

One of the easiest places to visit when you have a brand-new baby is the library. You can take your time, find comfortable seating, feed and change your baby, use the washroom and even chat with other parents.

When I first set out into the world alone with my children, I always stopped into a library because I knew that no matter what branch I went to, I could take care of all my baby’s needs. Sometimes we even managed to make our visits coincide with Baby Laptime!

The Edmonton Public Library is a Breastfeeding-Friendly PlaceEPL only has three rules in our storytimes—be safe, have fun and go with the flow. Essentially, we want to look out for each other to ensure it is a welcoming environment and a great experience. We tell parents to “do what you need to do to feel comfortable.” That perspective extends into our spaces—at EPL we recognize that a child has the right to be breastfed anywhere and anytime, which is a right protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom. Through the Alberta Human Rights Act, mothers are protected from discrimination because of breastfeeding.

Whether you are still getting the hang of nursing a newborn or are maintaining a bond with your toddler, EPL is a safe and welcoming space to breastfeed your child. If you would prefer a private space to nurse or pump, talk to a library staff  member about available options. If you face any challenges with nursing in our spaces, please speak to our staff.

Choosing to breastfeed (or not) is a personal decision, and we have resources to guide you while you figure out what works best for you and your family. If you’d like more information about breastfeeding, we have a large collection of books to find the one that best connects with you. My favourite was The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by Diane Weissinger; it was easy to read, empowering, and gave all sorts of tips and tricks for troubleshooting.

August 1-7, 2017 is World Breastfeeding Week; help EPL celebrate by supporting all the nursing mothers in our lives and by making spaces welcoming and inclusive to all—especially the newest members of our community!

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