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Cut-outs aim to reduce stigma of breastfeeding

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TIMMINS, Ont.—A health unit in a Northern Ontario community is putting life-size cardboard cut-outs of women nursing their children around the city in the hope it will help reduce the stigma around breastfeeding in public.

Meagan Potvin, a nurse with the Porcupine Health Unit in Timmins, said the campaign is aimed at reminding people that breastfeeding is healthy and natural, and that women shouldn't be discouraged from nursing their children in public.

She noted about 80 percent of women in the area start breastfeeding after giving birth, but that number starts to decline after a few months partly because of the fear of discrimination or being asked to cover up.

As part of the campaign, which started this week, the cut-outs will be placed in front of public places such as restaurants, retailers, and government buildings.

Potvin said the campaign so far has received plenty of local support, with businesses signing up to display the cut-outs and promote themselves as breastfeeding-friendly spaces.

Four local mothers were selected to be on the cut-outs, which later also will be used in smaller communities in the region.

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