The Warehouse welcomes new mothers to breast feed anywhere in store
A campaign to welcome breastfeeding in The Warehouse stores nationwide is being hailed as a "significant" step toward normalising the act.
The retail giant plastered their 242 stores across the country with posters reiterating it's "breastfeeding-friendly" stance.
"Please feel free to breastfeed your baby anywhere in our store," the sign reads.
"If you would like somewhere more private, please visit our store fitting rooms."
As well as being a welcome relief to nursing women, the staff-initiated policy is being applauded by the New Zealand Breastfeeding Alliance.
"This is a big step towards normalising breastfeeding in New Zealand, and we applaud The Warehouse for supporting nursing mothers and treating them with respect," says NZBA chair Debra Fenton.
"We hope other businesses and organisations follow suit."
She said while The Warehouse has always supported breastfeeding mums, this campaign reminds nursing women that they are welcome to do so anywhere in store.
All women have the right to breastfeed in public under the Human Rights Act.
"However, this does not mean that women are supported or feel comfortable doing so – in fact many mothers are ashamed and embarrassed for fear of public scrutiny," Fenton said.
"While there is growing awareness and acceptance in New Zealand, we still have a long way to go before breastfeeding becomes the cultural norm."
New Zealand's exclusive breastfeeding rates fall sharply from 82 per cent while in hospital to a low 18 per cent when babies are aged six months.
Internationally, the average exclusive breastfeeding rate at six months is 38 percent.
Fenton said New Zealand needs to more than double its current rate to achieve the WHO Millennium Development Goal of 50 percent of infants being exclusively breastfed at six months.
"A big part of the post-hospital breastfeeding decline in New Zealand is a direct result of women feeling alienated about breastfeeding in the workplace and public places."