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Sunday marks first nationwide effort to break breast-feeding taboos

Sunday sees an unusual summer fixture take its first steps in Portugal : a nationwide effort to break breast-feeding taboos.

Meetings will go ahead in 17 locations on the mainland and archipelgoes of Madeira and Azores as parents call for an end to what they call the ‘controversy’ about breast-feeding in public.

“We want to show that there is nothing wrong with what we are doing”, campaigner Rita Oliveira has told Público. “If a baby cries in a supermarket, we cannot expect our child to wait till we get home. This prudery makes no sense”.

Thus, the plan to “demystify the tabu” by holding a mass breast-feeding event across the country for the very first time.

Actions will be going ahead on the Azorean islands of Horta, Terceira and Santa Cruz das Flores, in Almada, Aveiro, Braga, Figueira da Foz, Fundão, Leiria, Lisbon, Madeira, Portimão in the Algarve, Santarém, Setúbal, Vila Real, Viana do Castelo and Porto – where the movement began three years ago.

As Rita Oliveira explained, there are many people who can walk about freely showing their breasts in low cut dresses, but the minute anyone wants to breastfeed in public, there’s a hue and cry of indignation.

People would prefer to see breastfeeding mothers, “shut always in a room”, she added.

Thus, for those of that persuasion, perhaps Sunday’s event is best avoided.

It is due to start at 5.3opm, in full view in the towns’ and cities’ various open-spaces, and more details for anyone interested can be found on the facebook page: ENA 2016 – Encontro Nacional de Amamentação.

The Portimão event is scheduled for Fontes de Estômbar, and the contact there for anyone keen to go along, share experiences and delight in the simple practice of giving babies the best start in life should contact Andreia Pais on 916383790.

As Público explains, this rather different summer event arrives in Portugal just as elsewhere countries are ‘rebelling against policies that deter women from breastfeeding in public’. Argentina, the US and Great Britain have already started ‘leading the way’, with hundreds of women in Argentina having shown up in force last week after a policeman actually removed a woman from a square in Buenos Aires after finding her breast-feeding her infant.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com